5 Little Things That Make My Life A Million Times Better


1. Perfect caffeine levels

I get up in the morning and the first thing I do is make a pot of coffee. I love drinking coffee. I just keep drinking it, all day long, until around five o’clock or so, because any more caffeine past five and I’ll have a really difficult time going to sleep at night. And yeah, drinking coffee all day is the best, but nothing beats those first three cups in the morning.

And not every day, but once in a while, the coffee just pushes all of the right buttons in exactly the right way. Does that make any sense? It’s like, sometimes I’ll drink that first pot, and I’ll feel it, but I’m not like feeling it feeling it. And then other times, I’ll drink it and it’s hitting me way too fast, I’m almost trembling. But, like I said, it’s a roll of the dice, every now and then it’s like just exactly the perfect amount of coffee. And I’m buzzing. And I’m looking out the window and everything feels just terrific. Right away I know that today is going to be one of the greatest days of all time.

2. Free donuts

The restaurant where I work is on the ground floor of this giant building in the city, and there are like tons of other shops and stores inside, including a Dunkin Donuts. Not always, but pretty often, Billy, one of the building’s janitors, swings by around closing time with like five boxes of donuts. Dunkin is just going to throw them away, and so Billy snags them for us.

Leftover donuts might not sound like a big deal, but after an eight hour shift, on my feet, running to deliver these plates for that table over there and grabbing an extra side of ketchup for that guy over here, nothing hits the spot more than shoveling unlimited donuts down my throat. There are seriously too many donuts for all of us to eat, it’s incredible. One thing I’ve found as a result of the free donuts is how much I love Dunkin Donuts. And I’m not just talking about my standard Boston cream, but chocolate glazed, even jelly. If it weren’t for Billy’s donuts, I probably would have gone the rest of my life never venturing out past my trusted favorites. But my eyes have been opened. I’ve had like a personal donut renaissance. And it’s awesome. And it turns even the shittiest of nights into one of the best nights of my life.

3. Big tips

I’m a waiter. I’ve been waiting tables since high school. I used to get all bent out of shape about tips, about small tips or no tips. But a while back I came up with this trick to make my life significantly easier. I never look at my tips anymore. I just pick up the credit card slip and file it away without looking at it. Cash? I just stuff it into my pocket. It’s just so much better for my mental well-being. No longer can an arbitrary dollar amount derail my emotional serenity.

Having said that, I still love big tips. And I can tell. When I get my total tips on the printout at the end of the night, I usually have an idea of what that number is going to be. Every once in a while, it’s much bigger than usual. And I’m just like, jackpot. One time, and this never happens to me, I was manually entering my tips into the computer at the end of the night and I noticed this one dude wrote in a hundred dollars on the tip line. I couldn’t believe it. I needed to find a manager to authorize such a large gratuity. And what did this guy get for his extreme generosity? The same, “Thanks, have a great night,” that everyone else did. So I’ve always felt kind of bad about that one incident. But other than that, big tips are the best.

4. The wind at my back

I ride my bike to work every day, from Astoria, Queens, over the Queensboro Bridge and into Manhattan. Most of the time the wind is pretty neutral. That is, if it’s blowing in any direction, it’s not affecting my ride enough for me to notice any sort of a difference. But after a certain speed, the wind totally has an effect. More often than not, I’ll feel it holding me back, I’ll have to stand up on the frame and push my body’s weight down on the pedals, like I’m in a spin class. I get to work and I’m profusely sweating, it’s gross.

But every once in a rare while, the wind will be totally at my back, like I can feel it, and it’s helping me. That half a mile stretch of uphill pavement all of the sudden feels like a joke. Did I get stronger overnight? Of course not, it’s just the wind doing most of my work for me. But I’m feeling great, like I’ve randomly been imbued with bike-riding superpowers. I get to work early, my coworkers are like, “Rob, is there something different about you today? It’s like you’re glowing, you seem taller, why are you smiling so much?” It’s because I just had a wind-powered bike ride to work. And it was amazing.

5. Personalized express subway service

Since I’m always riding my bike, I don’t get to take the subway that often, but nothing makes a random day better than when the MTA effs up the route in your favor. What does that mean? That means that I’ll waiting for the N train at 59th Street, right, and I go down that giant escalator and I can tell by the insane amount of people waiting on the platform that there hasn’t been a train in a long time, like the system is not running like it should be, like I’m probably going to be stuck waiting.

But as luck would have it, there’s a train pulling up just as I make it all the way down. We all push and squeeze as the doors struggle to contain the throngs of disgruntled commuters, and no sooner does the train start to move than the conductor gets on the mic and says something like, “Due to train traffic, the next stop is going to be Broadway.” And yeah, that sucks for a majority of the people on the train, but not for me, because that’s my stop. Bam, this just turned into my own personal express train. I’m looking around at everyone else, tired, hungry, sick of waiting for this dumb train. But I’m not sharing in their misery at all, because this train is like my train, it’s the best. I never even take the subway and this has turned into one of the greatest subway rides of all time.

It’s the little things, right, you’ve got to find that stuff in your own life. Because it’s there. Maybe it’s not an express train, or free donuts, but there’s got to be something. Go look behind the couch. Maybe there’s like a twenty dollar bill or something. Or turn on the TV. I bet you one of your favorite movies is playing on there somewhere. Do you want one of my donuts? Seriously, I’ve got like way too many donuts. You’ll be happy. I promise.