Anyone who's ever worked in the service industry will tell you that No Matter How Long It's Been Since You've Waited Tables whenever you're really stressed out, you stress dream about waiting tables. Missing orders, people who get up and leave for no reasons, not knowing table numbers, wrong food, coworkers not showing up, etc.
About six months ago, all my stress dreams transitioned into Trying To Order Comics. Usually, they're super brief ten second or so dreams that wake me up. A book won't show up in Diamond. Our POS won't work. I have a pile of special orders and no way to tell who they're for.
Tonight's was ... different.
A distributor was calling, trying to get me to order more copies of their books. And I was trying to explain to him that nobody had ever bought his books from us, so I couldn't justify ordering more, and he kept suggesting ways I could reach out to people to get them to buy his books.
What were his book's names?
"Polite Misogyny", "Unintentional Racism", "Traced Porn Faces And Plotholes", "Homophobic Stereotypes By Someone Who Hasn't Yet Realized They're Gay", and a giant hardcover called "This Hasn't Aged Well".
I kept handing copies to regular customers who sat down, read the books in their entireties, and asked me questions I couldn't answer because I hadn't read the books.
Then they would leave. Without buying anything. Including their massive piles of preordered books. Because they were so put off by the books I had tried to sell them.
Can we please reach the stage of the pandemic where the Restaurants In My Dreams can reopen so I can go back to not knowing table numbers?
Random Loiterer walks into store, over to counter, and with no preamble says "I don't mean to brag" uggggh "but my hand was Batman's first girlfriend."
"Huh." I replied.
Then he walked out the door.
It is with a heavy heart, and an even heavier fist that I must announce that Comrade and I are breaking up.*
No, there was no theft of organs, no pretending one of his parents was dead when they were really alive, no hot positive loads of cheating. Nay.
I think you will all agree that, in The Year Of The Shitlord 2021, nobody should be subjected to repeated performances of "Winter Wonderland" in the style of Fred Schneider from The B-52s. I had to draw the line somewhere.
* - We're not breaking up.
This Lyft driver is strongly hinting that I should use his services to rob a bank or commit a murderer. Like, guy, I barely have it together enough to order dinner tonight, there is zero chance I have the wherewithal to organize a crime with you.
I just heard someone describe System Of A Down as "Ye Olde Rocke", and now I have to get a colonoscopy and start clipping coupons.
Spotify: Hey Adam, we've made a mix for you of new music from up and coming artists.
Me: Ok. Sure. Bring it.
Spotify: Have you heard of Death Cab For Cutie? The Cure? Modest Mouse?
Spotify: NEW MUSIC from UP AND COMING ARTISTS.
Me: Crooked Teeth came out fifteen years ago, Spotify. It is not "new music".
Spotify: I AM STILL A RELEVANT WAY TO FIND NEW MUSIC.
Me: This is The Shins, Spotify. They've been around for about thirty years.
Spotify: OK. OK. But have you heard of this new band THE WHITE STRIPES. WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Random Loiterer hears beginning of Star Wars music.
RL: "Ack! I haven't seen it yet. Could you turn it off? I'm trying not to have it spoiled."
Me: "I'm sorry but if you haven't seen Return Of The Jedi by now, I can not be held responsible."
RL: "This isn't The Mandalorian."
Me: "No. That's Darth Vader."
RL: "And Darth Vader isn't in The Mandalorian?"
Me: "HAVE you seen Return Of The Jedi? Because I feel like that should answer your question."
RL: "I don't even like Star Wars."
Two-thirty AM is a terrible time for your partner to discover they can do a pitch perfect Miss Piggy impersonation.
I was already in a bad mood because the appointment to get my stent removed was postponed but nobody told me, so I got up early, hopped on the bus, and went to the hospital, only to be told to come back Friday. The two other people in line at the same time had similar problems, so I'm a bit leary of this being my regular medical facility.
But I walked back to the bus stop, and had been waiting a little more than a minute, texting Comrade, when One Of Those Things That Always Happens To Me Happened.
Random Doofus: "Hey. What time does your phone say the bus is coming?"
Me: "Oh, I don't know. I'm texting with someone, not looking at the app. They come every ten minutes or so, though."
RD: "My phone says it's going to be twenty-two minutes."
Me: "Huh. That doesn't seem right."
RD: "I know, right? I'm from New York." Fuck you fuck you fuck you. There are many people from New York who I like, but none of them introduce the fact that they're from New York within a minute of conversation. Same with Texans, and Harvard students, the earlier you mention it, the more Everyone Else From That Place definitely hates you. "New York, the bus comes when it's supposed to come. It's their jobs. The drivers here, you know? I love them, but come on? It's cold. If you say you're going to be there, be there."
RDFNY: "Twenty-two minutes is too long. I could walk to Davis and back by then. You know?"
RDFNY: "How long have you been waiting?"
Me: "I just got here."
RDFNY: "Do you think it's going to be twenty-two minutes until it gets here, or is there something wrong with the app. In New York, the apps are always perfectly timed. You know exactly when a bus is coming, you know? None of this Boston guesswork."
I am impressed that this man is making me hate the MBTA much less than usual. And New York even more than usual.
RDFNY: "Do you know what time it is?"
Fucker, you HAVE a phone. You KNOW what time it is. "About ten."
RDFNY: "Almost ten. I could walk to Davis before the bus gets here. You know sometimes they don't even stop, they just zooooooooooooom past you. That never happens in New York."
I focus on my phone, reading Facebook statuses and turning away from RDFNY.
RDFNY: "Well, ok. Ok. I guess I'm going to walk to Davis then, you know? Think that's a good idea?"
RDFNY exhales, loudly. "Ok. Well have a good night. Or I guess a good day or whatever. Good luck with the bus. It's freezing."
About a minute after he leaves, the bus shows up. I get on, take my seat, and when the bus passes RDFNY, I wave. He can't see behind my mask, but I am very much smiling.
I spent 50 of the first 96 hours at the beginning of the month in the hospital battling Kidey Stones, and losing.
How would I describe my pain level?
A constant 2016, with occasional stabbing 2020s.
Favorite moments in the hospital include:
1.) Being constantly asked the same questions over and over. Yes, this is my name, yes this is my birthday, here is where the pain is, no I don't smoke, no I don't do "street drugs", no I don't smoke pot, no I don't drink (not since the Pandemic started), yes I feel safe at home, no my partner isn't abusive, yes I live in a house (weird order, right?), no I don't have any piercings, no I don't have any dentures, no I don't have any steel plates in my head or anywhere else in my body, no I've never had surgery before (again, you'd think saying no to this would rid the need for previouis questions), no I don't have most of this very long list of Covid symptoms but I have some because why else would I be here if I didn't either have pain vomiting nausea loss of a sense or am "not feeling well".
There were more questions that I'm forgetting, even though someone would ask me, write it all down, and then the person standing next to them would ask me the exact same set of questions again.
When I was readmitted to the non-Emergency floor, I was assigned the very same nurse and doctor who had admitted me on Tuesday, and they asked me the same questions. EXCEPT the nurse, specifically asked "do you have any bruises you received from your spouse?" I looked at my arm and said "Actually, right here I --- oh WAIT, YOU DID THIS TO ME."
She didn't find this funny but the doctor laugher her ass off.
(It's really not a bad hematoma, and is roughly 1/20th the size of the smallest one I had in Florida.)
2.) SEVEN TIMES someone pointed out that my last name was ironic and asked if anyone else had made that connection.
3.) The OR nurse losing her shit when the Anesthesiologist asked me "Have you ever been under anesthesia before?" and I answered "Does spending a week in an induced coma count?" "IS THAT HOW YOU SPEND YOUR VACATIONS, BOY, SWIMMING IN HOT TUBS UNTIL YOU COMA? I WANT TO PARTY WITH YOU!"
4.) I ended up in the same hospital room both times. I had it to myself for most of the first visit, with a brief interlude where A Definite Trump Voter with Dementia (which is a condidion you sort of need to have to be that fucken stupid) couldn't answer what year it is, but kept going on and on about how he'd built the biggest business in Billerica. Starting his company with just the money in his pocket and retiring when there were twelve employees.
SPOILER ALERT: There are many businesses in Billerica with more than twelve employees.
5.) For the duration of my second visit, I had an Iranian roommate who spoke reasonably good English but would ask for a translator when he didn't like a particular nurse. Also, whenever a nurse annoyed him he would let loose a series of comically loud, incredibly toxic farts. He was in the hospital for leg surgery, so the farts were clearly a warfare tactic, and not just a side effect of a particular food or medication. He also never farted, that I can tell, except when being annoyed by nurses.
6.) The pharmacy tech at the hospital who said "This perscription is for $50 worth of painkillers."
I nodded. "Yea, but they say I'm going to need them."
"You can get this exact medicine for $7 at CVS or Walgreen's. Whoever wrote you that prescription was not your friend."
She was right. And awesome.