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Back Buzz - January 17, 2010

pumping heartJP@Marco's, 477 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Recently during the holiday break we decided to go out for breakfast. As our first choice was closed and our second wasn't doing food, we decided to walk down Ecclesall Road to see what we could find.

We ended up at JP@Marco's. Basically a sandwich shop, JP also serves all-day breakfasts and advertises on its menu "Excellent Italian coffee". Sounded perfect.

It was too cold to sit at one of the pavement tables, so we sat inside at a little table whose tabletop was patterned with palm-sized coffee beans. The "two double macchiatos" we ordered somehow translated to "two giant cappuccinos sprinkled with chocolate". This was a bit of a bad first impression, but we allowed as how the waitress must have misheard. After all, they're obviously very proud of their coffee.

But when we received our revised drinks I felt like shouting, "MARKS OFF!" Our "double maccchiatos" were both sprinkled with chocolate! Even before the waitress had finished setting my cup down I lunged for my spoon and shovelled the chocolatey milk off as quickly as possible. Sadly what remained tasted weak and overly milky.

Fortunately our "Full Monty" breakfasts were good, with my vegetarian version featuring a tasty vegetable bake ratherr than the usual vegetarian sausage. As I was in a hot-sauce-on-my-egg mood, they didn't have any Tabasco or hot sauce, but they found a jar of chopped red chillies for me.

The deli counter at JP@Marco's features savory and sweet pastries and cakes, and the menu offers a wide range of hot and cold sandwiches, paninis, salads, and all-day breakfasts. I couldn't help noticing "Coca-Cola" everywhere, emblazoned on the drinks fridge and printed on the blackboard menus.

As we finished our breakfasts and I contemplated what massive size of coffee grinder would be needed to grind the palm-sized beans in the tabletops, the staff busied themselves taking an inventory of their stock of Coca-Cola. Perhaps all this emphasis on Coca-Cola was just a coincidence; but I couldn't help thinking perhaps they serve a really nice Coke.

Speaking of seeing Coca-Cola everywhere reminds me of an e-mail exchange from a year ago with a workmate:

I had a slightly bizarre week as follows:

On Wednesday afternoon I was walking across the floor when I suddenly experienced flashing debris across my right eye: a huge network of worms and sperms, worms and sperms, surging around in my vision. I decided to wait and see if they would go away.

Thursday morning the worms 'n' sperms were still swirling across my right eye. Although I thought it might be worthy of a song ("Worms 'n' sperms, worms 'n' sperms, swirling swirling worms 'n' sperms...") I decided when I got to work to do a little Internet research on the symptoms of multiple floaters (the eye kind, not the turd kind). I became alarmed when I read that the sudden appearance of many floaters could mean a detached retina, so I phoned my doctor for an appointment.

The next morning my doctor sent me to the hospital for a complete eye checkup. Doctor No. 1 asked me questions, gave me an eye chart test, and put 2 sets of drops in my eyes, one to dilate them and one which seemed to be intentionally cruel because it felt like cayenne pepper juice. Then Doctor No. 2 spent a long time examining the insides of my eyes thoroughly with a scope that looked like something out of a classic James Bond film. When he finished he told me I had a torn retina and would need laser surgery. Since the ophthalmic surgeon was in theatre he told me to go have a cup of tea to kill some time.

I managed to find the hospital cafe, run by the Royal Women Volunteers, and bought an instant "cappuccino" served lava-hot in a styrofoam cup. I sat in a waiting area surrounded by ancient relics of people, most supported by canes and all quite doddering.

Two hours later the eye surgeon finally showed up and took me into a dark room, put anaesthetic drops in my eye, and performed laser surgery to seal the hole in the retina. What this involved was having me look as far as I could to the right while he flashed a huge green light into the back of my eye, and the brighter and more intense the green was the worse the pain was. Although I have quite a high pain threshold I couldn't help yelping and ouching, and as I kept apologising for yelping he kept apologising for hurting me. This torture session went on for about 20 minutes, after which I was so relieved it was over. I'm not sure how much information he got out of me during the session, but I since I don't have a rank and serial number I hope I didn't give him my bank details. So where do all the worms and sperms go now? Did they hoover them out or zap them into oblivion? Or are they still there as a permanent dance troupe for your constant delectation? As he was firing the laser into your brain, you didn't tell him where you'd hidden the GREEN sign at the learning centre, did you? If he's found that out we're all doomed. He'll be able to upgrade his laser and use it against all the worms and sperms in the world! And without worms and sperms, life will be shortlived.

Do you feel that you've lost any parts of your brain? Can you still remember last year in Marinenbad? Sorry I haven't replied to your questions before now, but part of my brain was blasted off to the planetary system ZZZZXXXTTTFRANKSOGGYBOTTOMggghghghghghg for further investigation. With the tiny part of my brain they left so that I can still shelve books, I will try to answer your questions:

The worms and sperms all rushed off immediately to Debenham's for their 75% Off sale.

They now live in my right eye in very comfortable accommodations where every night they have a great view of the eclipse of the moon.

I think I may have told the surgeon about my Post-Its-planted-in-the-books project. Soon I will be deported...

I can't remember last year in Marienbad, but I seem to vaguely recall the Alamo.

Tomorrow morning I meet Dr xyzhz89234jjjjJOHNSMALLBERRIES080989 again so he can dilate my eye and peer deeply into it. Hopefully he won't pull out any more parts of my brain, as I do think the ZZZZXXXTTTFRANKSOGGYBOTTOMggghghghghghgians have quite enough to work with. And strangely enough I'm hoping I can make it back to work by noon for a staff meeting, even though my line manager said I shouldn't worry if I can't make it. But I'd much rather be sitting in a windowless room asking for more book ends than lying in a windowless room having part of my brain blasted off to ZZZZXXXTTTFRANKSOGGYBOTTOMggghghghghghg.

Wish me luck.

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