Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
As I got out of my Lyft, in front of the house, one of my neighbors, who I had not noticed was home during my Time Between Parks today, took a long drag off her joint and said "Where is your friend?"
"Which one?" I asked, assuming she meant one of the poets.
"The fine looking one you defiled that pool with this afternoon."
It was far too dark for her to see me blush. "Back in his hotel, probably."
"Mmmmmmm. Mmmmmmmm. Mmmmmmmm. You got to tell me your secret. If that boy kissed me like that in this pool, Roger would be taking my kids to visit my fake grave, because this family would never see me again."
Someone, presumably Roger, yells from the pool. "Who you talking to, woman?"
"The Luckiest Man In The World." She yelled back.
"Must be single." He replied.
Dude (not from today's date): Tru Test Time. What are your cat's names?
Me: Selina Ribcage and Motherfucker Goose.
Dude: Are those shelter names?
Me: Nope. I named them.
Dude: Why? There are so many Good Christian Names.
Me: Have you ever met a cat? They're all atheists.
Dude: Are you an atheist?
Me: Depends how my week is going.
Dude: Ya sound like a pussy nihilist to me.
Me: You sound like you spend a lot of time wondering why guys block you on dating sites.
Dude: I can't tell if you're being ironic.
Me: Sounds like a learning disability. Good luck.
Dude: How do you feel about the Bacchae?
Me: I'm more of an Ananke guy.
Dude: Fuck. Yea, you should just block me. I'm not on here very often, and I I only pick fights with people I think can keep up.
Me: I figured both of those things, but wanted to do my research before I blocked you.
Dude: And good day to you, sir.
Dude: "So what have you read lately?"
Me: "I've spent most of this month editing, so...nothing of consequence."
Dude: "I c."
Me: "Ugh. Really? Are you being charged by letter?"
Dude: "Sorry, Mr. Editor."
Me: "That will be on my tombstone. But 'editor' will be in quotation marks, leaving generations to wonder if it's sarcasm."
Dude: "Tombstone? It's 2017. Get cremated like an adult."
Me: "You can be cremated and have a tombstone. In fact, your whole family can fit in the size of a seventeenth century grave."
Dude: "Not me. I come from a long line of obese people."
Me: "Don't you mean a wide line?"
Dude: "Jesus Christ! That doesn't even make sense."
Me: "Again with the pro-Christianity. Why are you still bothering me?"
Dude: "I think you're pretty."
Me: "You are keeping me from getting actual work done. Unless you have something hilarious in the next three messages, I'm going to have to actually block you."
He sends a dick pic.
Me: "That's more tragic than funny, but I understand how you might confuse the two."
And then I blocked him.
Delivery Driver: Comics are for everybody?
That's what my shirt says.
DD: I used to be a comic.
Me: This is about comic books.
DD: I once saw that hedge out there going up and down. Know why?
DD: It was so hot, they were fighting over a dog. Ever see a man do this?
He goes up and down on the balls of his feet.
DD: It means he's got two cockroaches in his shoes doing pushups. True story.
DD: I used to be famous for my two minute routines. Know why?
Me: That's when they booed you off stage?
DD: You've seen my act? Well, I best hit the road like a toad. SPLAT.
This vacation is CURSED.
There is no sexy talk that I won't diffuse. Because I don't find it anything but amusing.
Dude: "How's it hanging."
Me: "I'm ok. You?"
Dude: "How's IT hanging. I'm hanging sideways, man. I'm out in the sun and keep getting turned on for some reason."
Me: "Solar panels?"
Dude: "You sound like a dickhead. I love dickheads."
Me: "I'm just misunderstood."
Dude: "Do you have eyes?"
(I'm wearing sunglasses in my profile pic.)
Me: "No. I lost them in a freak rimming accident."
Dude: "That's a shame. I bet they were gorgeous."
Me: "I wouldn't know. Anymore."
Dude: "I'm in mourning for your eyes."
Me: "Well, next time I can't see you, we should have a wake."
Dude: "I will definitely give them some type of service. They've been through hell."
Dude: "You look grizzly."
Me: "No. But there was one involved in the rimming accident."
(After he sees my current FB profile pic)
Dude: "Where is that taken?"
Me: "The back room of the dive bar I work at."
Dude: "I run a bar!"
Me: "Well, I only run a bar once a week. Usually, I either run a comic book store, or run away from bears. Since the accident."
Dude: "The beard thing sounds ideal. You look like you'd be more into thinks. Twinks. BEAR! My texting skills ruined every part of that joke. Oh for fucks sake. Ignore all of the above."
Me: "I do prefer thinking twinks to other twinks."
Dude: "I'm not sure what I am. Not a twink. You're definitely a chicken."
Me: "Would a chicken voluntarily be involved in a sentence that includes 'rimming' and 'grizzly bear'."
Dude: "What are you then? WHAT EVEN ARE YOU? A monster?"
Me: "I did used to drink a lot of those energy drinks."
Dude: "You're like the Jimmy Carr of dating sites."
Me: "And paying taxes. Wait, are you British?"
Dude: "As fuck."
Me: "Russell Howard British or Boris Johnson British?"
Dude: "More of a Theresa May style."
Me: "As in, Brexity, or leather pants on a couch?"
Dude: "Leather pants. I'm wearing some right now."
Me: "I haven't been this conflicted in a while."
I'm announcing the clothes I am choosing to pack, like they are contestants on The Price Is Right.
"Congratulations Jeans, you have no holes in you, and will be one of the two pairs making a trip to SUNNY ORLANDO! You and this Boba Fett t-shirt will be folded into a suitcase where you will not gain sentience like you are in a Tom Robbins novel. Once in Orlando you will be occasionally worn on cool nights, or if it's raining!"
Human picks up copies of chapbook from one room, moves them closer to suitcase, walks into kitchen. Cat runs full speed toward suitcase, stops six inches away and makes the I'm About To Puke Noise. Human runs screaming at cat, who runs all the way to the other side of the house before vomiting in an empty spot on the living room floor.
Human pets and praises cat for not puking on books. Cat returns to bedroom. Pukes on bed.
Six And Three-Quarters
The guy who works across the hall said, in reference to a recent problem with the building not being locked, "I mean, you know what it's like. You've worked there for, what, twenty years?"
I wasn't aware he could see into The Emotional Spectrum.
I Begrudgingly Opened The Door
Baron Von Poopypants IV was waiting when I got to the store at 10:30. (we open at 11:00). I came into the store, abruptly closed the door behind me, and turned on the computer.
While I wrestled with the computer (Not reading Drive C Abort, Retry, Fail?), he knocked on the door, then went back outside and smoked, presumably to deaden his sense of smell.
At 11:00, I, begrudgingly, opened the door.
BvPP4: "I did it. I cleaned out all my comics?"
Me: "You wiped all of your mom's Cheeto fingerprints?"
This isn't a weirdly specific mom diss. He has told me on multiple occasions that his mom reads his comics (not likely) while eating Cheetos (further unlikely).
BvPP4: "No. I took all the books that I bought for nostalgia purposes or that I bought to be greedy and I threw them away. I should have probably sold them or given them away but last time I brought a big briefcase" a plastic shopping bag "to the store in Arlington, and they said they couldn't sell them." because of the Cheetos "because of the Cheetos fingerprints."
Two other people come in and surround the counter, which can't be a good sign.
Person 1: "I want to make a zine."
Me: "Ok. We buy local comics at half of cover price, as opposed to commission. Depending on what our stock is like, and the price point, we tend to just buy 3-5 copies of a title."
P1: "What should we make it about?"
Person 2: "I think it should be about a snake boy with eye lasers who fights, like, dragons, and tigers, and sheep."
The phone rings.
Me: "Excuse me a minute."
Person On Phone: "I'm looking to sell some comics. Do you buy comics?"
Me: "It depends on what the comics are."
PoP: "Well, my grandfather won a purple heart." Jesus. "And he was really proud of his collection and left it to my kids as an inheritance but I want to sell them, in case they aren't worth anything." Fuck. "How much do you think they would go for?"
Me: "Well, I don't know what they are, and what condition they're in, and I'm not the buyer. Your best bet would be to call back Wednesday after 6pm or Friday during the day,"
PoP: "But what if I wanted to get rid of them now?"
P2: "Maybe he would fly and have x-ray vision."
P1: "He can't have x-ray vision AND laser eyes."
Me: "Sorry, I can't help you You're going to have to call back Wednesday or Friday."
PoP: "I've had them appraised. They're worth a lot of money. I just don't want to go with my first offer, you know?"
I thought they might not be worth anything and you wanted to get rid of them right now.
Me: "I can't help you. Try Wednesday or Friday. Good luck."
I hang up the phone.
BvPP: "Do you know what happened to Shrike or Artemis? They were my favorite comics. Remember when Artemis was Wonder Woman? Did you like that run? Or when they thought Boone died but he came back as Shrike. But then they didn't really do anything with them."
Me: "I don't remember those runs." I do, actually.
Me: "So, I'm not the person to talk to about making comics I don't make them. But there's a group that meets once a week here in Cambridge" and they're going to hate me for giving you their info because you're both nuts "called The Comics Roundtable who all create comics, and they might be able to help you figure out what kind of comic you want to make, how you want to distribute it, and all that."
P2:"Do you think the snake boy should have laser eyes or x-ray vision?"
BvPP: "How do you feel about black and white comics?"
BvPP: "They don't turn me on. Do they turn you on?"
P1: "Laser eyes."
BvPP: "I might buy this Wonder Woman book but it has newspaper pages. I don't like newspaper pages do you?"
I type the store number into GChat and call the store.
Me (to Me): "Hi. Yes? I have custo---oh, yea, ok. Sure thing."
Me (to BvPP, P1 & P2): "Sorry, I have to do some inventory. They have questions at the warehouse."
BvPP: "You have a warehouse?"
Me: Not really. "Yes."
P1: "How do we meet the Round People Comics?"
Me: "Comics Round Table." I write it down on a business card. But not in my usual handwriting, in case I have to blame someone else later. "They have a website. Good luck."
I take the phone over to the back issues and start blindly flipping through them.
P1 and P2 leave, talking about going to the library to do research. Presumably on laser-eyed snakes. BvPP shark circles the store a few times before announcing that he might come back to buy things later.
When he and most of his funk have departed, I go back to the counter. The phone rings.
It is the same stupid Giggly Robot that has called every week, trying to get us to buy something: "Tee-hee. Sorry, I dropped the ph--"
Me: "DIE ROBOT SCUM!"
GR: "Tee-hee. I'm not a rob--"
I hang up the phone.
So, my vacation is off to a great start.