Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Coworker: "Sounds like you didn't catch my cold."
Me: "Nope. I woke up this morning, not feeling too great, so I drank about a gallon of juice and went back to sleep, and when I woke back up I felt good enough to ride a bike to work."
Coworker: "You drank a gallon of Abolut and rode a bike?"
Me: "NO. I'd be dead. Before I got to the bike. I drank juice. JUICE."
Coworker: "Vodka and juice?"
Me: "Are you on cough medicine? I drank juice. Lemonade. No alcohol, just juice."
Coworker: "I am on cough medicine, and I can't hear anything. Oh, can you cover my shift on Friday? I have to be at the Cape by noon on Friday."
Me: "You better leave at about 5am."
Coworker: "We're probably going to leave around nine."
Me: "On the Friday before the Fourth Of July?"
Coworker: "Oh no. I didn't even think about that."
Me: "You should just leave now and get a hotel. If you've got an extra few thousand dollars to spend."
The twelfth Harvard summer student of the day interrupts the call.
Harvard Summer Idiot: "I need to pick up my--"
Me: "Flashprint is closed until tomorrow. Their schedule is on their door."
HSI: "I lefft my tennis racket in there."
Me: "Sorry. That sucks."
HSI: "It's right by the window, next to my books. Can you get it for me?"
Me: "No. I don't work there."
HSI: "But it's right by the window."
Me: "Behind a locked door that I don't have the keys to."
HSI: "Who has the keys?"
Me: "The people who work there. None of whom are here today."
HSI: "Can you call them?"
Me: "FLASHPRINT GUYS!!!!! FLAAAAAAAAAAAASHPRINT!!! Sorry, doesn't seem like they're around."
Coworker On Phone: "I'm going to hang up now."
After the show last night, we went out for dinner, and I said, out loud, "I'm going to bike home tonight." even though it was late, I was tired, and my legs were killing me because The Shubert designed their mezzanine so they could cram as many kindergarteners as possible into a confined space. I had enough power in my phone to use the app to see that there were bikes available at Lesley, and that there were four empty docks at the end of my street.
I walked to Lesley, opened a bike with the app, and my phone died. I, then, hopped on said bike and tried to ride at a reasonable pace, towards my home.
Reasonable pace is my problem. I haven't ridden a bike with any frequency since I was sixteen and Super Competetive at everything, even if no one was competing with me.
I don't mind being passed by other bikers, but I try and keep pace behind them, for no reason. These are clearly people who have been biking since the womb, are in great shape, are wearing silicone padded biking shorts, a helmet, breathable jerseys, and have all of their championship triathalon times branded into their bikes, and I'm in jeans and a Rorshach t-shirt trying not to let them get too far ahead of me.
As I flew by a guy in his twenties, with abs you could grate cheese on, I considered that I am biking wrong, but I was now 3/4 of the way home, and I wanted to see how fast I could make it, forgetting that my phone was dead, and would not be able to tell me.
I got to my street, and the dock was full. No problem, I'll just ride to Davis, which is only 1/3rd of the way back in the direction I came from. I did this at a Somewhat more relaxed pace, as there were no other bikers riding in my direction to keep pace with.
Davis Square was full. So I had to bike back to Porter, which was almost back where I started. Annnnnnnnd was full.
Someone had put their bike in the Lesley dock where I picked up my bike, so it was also full. I wondered if they, too, tried to bike to Cameron Ave, but this was as close as they could get.
I found an open dock at Harvard, meaning I was now 75% further away from home than I was when I started biking. So I went in to grab the bus, which of course, pulled away as I got into the station, and waited a half hour for the next one.
I was gifted two tickets to see Kathy Griffin in Boston tonight. I'm not an enormous Kathy Griffin fan. I think she's funny, and enjoy when she's on shows like The Green Room, or being interviewed by the news, but I find her standup pandering, and mostly just a series of stories about meeting other celebrities that end up being neither interesting nor hilarious. And I imagine,if I were one of the celebrities she talked about, I'd be fairly annoyed.
At least when Aziz Ansari tells a story about Kanye or Seal, it's hilarious, and can't be boiled down to "I met someone famous, and I'm now I'm going to belittle them, and I didn't even bother to make a punchline out of our interaction."
As soon as I got to the theater, I was a bit worried. I'm 41 now, but I felt YOUNG at this show. The mostly older, mostly whiter, mostly gayer people in line were generally being loudly "honest" with each other in the way that really toxic people are "honest" by saying shitty things at the expense of the people around them, and their compatriots would then laugh and do something similar.
The show was at The Shubert, and if you ever get a chance to see a show there, don't. The rows are so cramped, that virtually everyone who left their seats to use the bathroom, or get drinks, or just leave, were limping because their blood circulation was cut off. If there's ever a fire there, everyone but the lobby staff is going to die.
Issues of comfort notwithstanding, I was looking forward to hearing Kathy Griffin talk about how that photograph with a replica of Trump's severed head had impacted her career. This was THE story for her style of celebrity interaction. And in the hour before I walked out, she started maybe twenty to thirty antecdotes that sounded like they'd be great.
Her next door neighbors who were kind to her were Kim Kardashian and Kanye West. WHAT? Tell me how your interactions with Kanye went during this past year when he went Full Trump. That sounds amazing.
Oh, you're not going to tell that story? O....k.
She was removed from the White House Correspondent's Dinner after almost getting in a fight with "Fuckabee" Sanders? Yea, that person is an awful demon. I can't imagine a scenario where I won't be on your side. What happened?
Oh, you're not going to tell that story either?
"Anderson Cooper is an asshole." Audience boos Anderson Cooper.
Why? I HAVE NO IDEA. And I suspect neither did they.
During the hour before I left, Kathy finished precisely one antecdote (an actually interesting conversation she had with Roseanne, ten years ago, about why Dennis Miller turned into a Republican shill: "He must not have needed a job."), and zero jokes. None. I laughed a few times at her constant apologizing for never finishing a single sentence she started, and she said things that were, sort of amusing. But mostly she did bad impressions of celebrities that served no purpose except to say "Celine Dion told me that being in my act meant she was still important, so I still talk about her." or "I know Cher. RIGHT GAYS? AREN'T I GREAT, GAYS? I KNOW CHER."
It was gross. And the audience applauded every time she paused or said a name or did a ridiculous gymnast pose after namedropping someone, even if that person was her mom, her boyfriend, or her dogs. It Felt like a Trump rally. People were applauding nothing. She almost never completed a thought.
During the midst of talking about last month's Samantha Bee vs Trump story (another antecdote I would have loved her to have actually explored) she said "I say 'cunt' a lot because I have one, so I can. The problem with Fuckabee Sanders and Trump is that they don't realize that when Samantha called Ivanka 'a feckless cunt', 'cunt' wasn't the insult, 'feckless' was."
Please go further on that. Please.
"Oh, before I get to that...." rambling story about Joan Rivers that might be starting to go somewhere when "Oh, before I can talk about that, let me explain..." rambling story about e-mails that never threatens to be about anything. "Melanie Griffith was nice to me." Audience explodes into applause. "Oh, before I talk about Melanie...." ad infinitum.
With an editor there could have been an amazing show in there. Not just a funny show, but an important one. An Anti-Trump comedy show by someone who actually knows him, filled with stories about Kanye, and the Samantha Bee "scandal", written by someone who acknowledges that Democracy is important, and speech has consequences, and most celebrities (and Trump is more of a celebrity than a politician) need to be called out on their hypoccritial bullshit? We NEED that show now.
And if the theater wasn't originally designed as the set of Saw 24, I might have stayed to see if there was any sort of payoff to her rambling Almost Interesting stories. But it really felt like 1.) She wasn't coherent enough to write a payoff. 2.) The audience was going to lick her ass and giver her a standing ovation whether or not she managed to complete a sentence during the show.
So I left. I wasn't the first. I wasn't even the only person who left at that moment. Six of us were walking out of the lobby, coming from three different areas, and the ushers asked if we were coming back. We all said "No."
I love checking out the way comic "fans" write reviews on Goodreads.
*****: "My fave!"
**** : "The art was good, but the story ended abruptly.
*** : "The story was ok, but it's not as good as Hellboy."
** : "Why are Nazis always the bad guys? This writer has no imagination. Also, the artist has no proper sense of biology."
* : "I was conceived on a Monday night in Newark. My father was drunk on Maker's Mark, even though he usually drank Jameson. My mother wore Chanel Number 5 and was wearing a sunflower in her hair. My parents divorced before I was born,though they both still pine for each other when the moon is in Saggitarius or when McDonald's puts the lobster roll back on the menu...
(8 pages pass)
...When I was five, I wanted a swingset, but my mother bought me a tire swing, which wasn't as frustrating as the way the artist in this book can't decide whether the robot's eyes are French Blue or Medium Parisian Blue. I mean a six year old can tell the difference, and I should know, when I was six, my teacher said that my ability to distinguish colors was the only positive thing about me..." (etc. etc. ad infinitum)
Two queer couples who didn't seem to know each other very well but recognized each other were in the store shopping at the same time. One of the couples was talking about Pride and all of the different people they educated. The other couple was talking about comics, but the "educators" were SO LOUD that, eventually, the comics conversation stopped.
Comics couple decided they should leave, and said "Yea, we're going to head out and get something to eat on our way home, and then go watch Brooklyn Nine Nine."
One member of the Educational Couple said "I wish we had time to watch TV, but we have a lot of protests to go to this week. The world isn't going to save itself."
To which one of the comics couple said "You must be So Exhausting. Exhausted! I meant Exhausted."