Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Tiny Joseph Gordon Levitt Kid: Hi. I'm fourteen. I would like a job application, please.
Me: We don't have applications. But if you come in on a Friday or Saturday you can talk to the owner.
TJGLK: Is that (Owner's Name Redacted)? I've talked to him before. He told me to come back when I was fourteen. I'm fourteen now.
Me: Ok. I look forward to working with you then.
TJGLK: I'm a very thorough worker.
Me: I bet.
TJGLK wanders over to the back issue bins. Another kid, maybe ten, is looking at the all ages shelf, asking his father questions, when his father said "Ask her over there."
TJGLK: "I am a him."
Exhausted Father: "I'm so sorry. People used to do that to me when I was young and had long hair."
TJGLK: "It's cool. Misgendering doesn't bother me."
A frequent loiterer was wandering around the store doing his usual, pick up a book, flip through it, put it down in roughly the same place thing he does. He spends about five to ten minutes in the store, and then, on his way out, asks if the flyers and comics in the hallway, or the ones in a box that says "free" (usually promotional comics from Marvel or DC designed to tease you into buying their latest events), are actually free, and then he takes several.
Today, on his way out, he picked up a copy of The Sweet Green menu that my coworker brought in yesterday.
Freeloader: "What is this about?"
Me: "It's a menu."
F: "I see it's called The Menu, what is is about?"
Me: "It's about the type of food you can order from the salad place around the corner."
F: "In graphic novel form?"
Me: "No. It just happens to have a picture of salad and peppers on the front of it. It's just a menu."
F: "And you're giving them away?"
Me: "No. It's just a menu that I was looking at while I was thinking of what to order for lunch."
F: "You shouldn't keep it on the counter here. This counter is for free things."
I look at the counter where we keep the computer, the baseball cards, and usually a small pile of books that need to be filed or paperwork.
Me: "I'll make a note."
How's my Monday going thusfar? Well, as I was carrying a fifty-six pound box of comics into the store and not one but two awnings full of ice and snow fell directly on my head and shoulders.
The delivery guy did shout out a warning as the first one started to go, but he'd only managed the "Lo--" of "Look out." before the first came crashing down. I shook it off and as I walked beneath the second one, it really did sound like he was saying "Oh shit" in slow motion.
The woman walking toward me on the sidewalk said "You should be more careful." And I seriously considered dropping the box on her foot.
Dude using a flat, wooden, spoon to eat from a 1.5 quart box of Dreyer's Rocky Road ice cream. "The trick is to stay cut, bro. I cut. I keep cut. I cut ties. I cut what I need to look this good. I cut my gym membership last year. I don't play football anymore, you know? And I looked at some Facebook pictures of me at that Fourth Of July thing at your sister's. I still got it. I still look good. Cut. That's the key, bro. Keep cut at all times."
So I hacked off his left arm with a pruning saw.
It's been an epically slow day. Partially due to a lack of foot traffic, partially due to a nosebleed that went on longer than a Law & Order marathon.
Five minutes before we closed, of course, an occasional loiterer came in. I warned him I was about to close, and worked on entering some paperwork.
When the time was up, he said "I noticed in Previews that there's a book called Evil Heroes. If it's coming out this week, I'd like to buy it."
"Well," I said, "there is an issue coming out on Wednesday, but it's spoken for. We only get one copy, and we have one subscriber. So I could order you one but it won't be in by Wednesday."
"Could I look at it?" he asked, it being five minutes past when I should have closed.
"Quickly, sure. But I can't sell it to you, and I have to close the store soon."
"Ok." he said.
I leafed through the pile of incoming comics, and handed him our lone copy. "Be careful of the table," I said, "it--"
And then he leaned full force on the table, knocking over every single book that comes out next week.
"Oh, this isn't what I thought it would be."
No apology. No acknowledgement that he'd just knocked hundreds of comics and books on the floor.
"I have to close. Now."
"I tend to only like indie comics these days. I'm not much of a mainstream guy."
"Interesting." I lied. "I have to close the store now and pick up all these books you knocked over."
"Ok. Are you reading any interesting indie books?" He asked, not moving toward the door.
"No." I said, pulling the door off of the magnet that keeps it open all day, and flipping the sign to Closed.
"Oh, you only like mainstream stuff."
"I only read True Crime stories. They speak to me. Anyway, I need to close. Have a night."
"Do you usually close this early?" He asked.
"Our hours are posted on the outside of the door. Bye."
"Oh ok." He said, walking into the hall. "I guess you really want to leave."
The downstairs screamer is visiting again. She's been just talking loudly tonight. But I have been getting some cleaning done and when I burned my hand (not seriously it's not even red anymore), I screamed out "FUCK YOU!" way too loudly, considering the water was unlikely to react to my the tone of my voice.
From downstairs, I heard her say "See, everyone in this house screams sometimes."
To which I shouted back "I am not a good role model!"
It's the first time I've heard laughter coming from down there.
Amazon: We noticed you put The Autobiography Of Mark Twain and Letters To The Earth in your cart, here are some related books we recommend: David Spade's "Almost Interesting", Colin Quinn's "The Coloring Book", and Colin Quinn's "Long Story Shot".
Me: How DARE you, Amazon. How fucken dare you.