Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
It is four o'clock, and the UPS man has just finished kicking sixteen boxes of paper cups, plastic lids, and sugar packets in the general direction of the coffeehouse I work at. At five o'clock this will cease to be my problem. It's always five o'clock somewhere. I clock out.
The cake delivery man ambushes me by the front door. He has seven lemon cakes, two sour cream cinnamon cakes, and a box full of whoopee pies. Squishing cream between two frozen chocolate coasters is the closest this man has been to "making whoopee" since 1972. I take the boxes from his hands, throw them in the general direction of our freezer, and walk outside.
It's raining pins and staples outside. Tiny nuisance drops tickling the back of my neck.
I get on the bus. There are four strollers, two hot guys, one woman passed out on my right, and a suicide of LYMmings in my immediate vicinity.
The problem with crowded buses on rainy days in Boston is the problem with buses on rainy days anywhere in the world, only worse.
It is past six o'clock when the end of my fifteen minute bus ride is in sight. The passed out woman has woken up and is yelling at the bus driver. "It's six o'clock. I've been on this bus since four-thirty. Four-thirty, I got on this bus. Do you believe I've been on this bus since four-thirty? This is bullshit. Four fucken thirty, I got on this bus. No shit. Four-thirty..."
The no doubt sorority girl on my left is babbling to the hot guy beside her "..so she's going to Paris for two weeks to find herself. Find herself! Who finds themselves in Paris? In two weeks? You can't find yourself in two weeks. And you certainly can't find yourself in Paris. Going to Paris for two weeks to find yourself, what shit is that? I mean, Paris. Two weeks."
Behind her, someone is chanting Lyndon Larouche's name like it's the cure for cancer.
"Lyndon Larouche" "finds yourself in Paris" "at four fucken-thirty" "in Paris" "Lyndon" "is bullshit" "in two weeks" "four" "Lyndon's" "a week" "thirty" "weeks"
This is when I stand up, spread my arms like I'm about to levitate the bus with my mind and yell "FUCK YOU, PHILIP GLASS!" And decide I will marry the first person who laughs at my joke. Nobody laughs.
"...four-mother-fucken-thirty, and you keep looking for excuses to stop the fucken bus." The formerly passed out woman screams.
The bus driver says "Lady, I just want to go home." And then it's my stop, which is also formerly passed out woman's stop. As soon as she steps off the bus, the sky explodes. It's raining orcas and polar bears over this city. My fellow pedestrians and I's clothes are unfortunate casualties in the war between God and this woman's existence. Umbrellas fly uselessly away. A man in white shorts smiles awkwardly at his unfortunate choice of attire. He has a lot to be embarrassed about. By which, I mean, he shouldn't be embarrassed. There's a lot there.
"Did you see it?" Ben asks, when I walk into the nearby bar. Though I wasn't aware he was walking in my vicinity, I have no doubt he's talking about Mr. Joggity Hugecock. "He gave me whiplash."
Ben is wearing a white t-shirt, and is soaked to the ever so titillated nipple.
"Uhhhh..." I say, attempting to inform him of his nipplage.
"I know. I'll be right back." And he comes out of the bathroom with paper towels stuffed into his shirt like a makeshift bra.
"You never cease to amaze me." I say.
"Oh, did I tell you what I did the other day?" He asks. "You'll laugh." And I'm sure I will. "I was on my roof tanning, yesterday. No one told me you had to tan your sides. So now" and he lifts up his shirt skin, "my chest is burned, my back is kinda tan, but my sides are white."
"Maybe it's just that I grew up in a beach culture." I say. "But, how do you not know to tan your sides?"
Sora, who's been sitting down stairs, dryer than Sir Ian Mckellen running an AA meeting in the Sahara, giggles. "Maybe he finally thinks he's lost so much weight that he's two dimensional. Though, honestly, I think Ben's been two-dimensional since long before I met him."
Ben smirks. "Don't you have to go to camp or something, little boy?"
"Shut up, Fatty McFat Fat."
They fight like incestuous brothers, raining floods of pins and orca insults at each other. Whoopee pie.
Today is two-dimensional beach culture. Today is a parade of Gods and polar bears kicking Lyndon Larouche's bullshit stroller minions until they pass out. Today is five o'clock everywhere, dressed in white, wet, shorts and whiplash pie. And this is just a slice.
Socialist Steve, the guitarist in Celeste's band, has dreadlocks the way Allston has bedbugs. Ben has decided that the dreadlocks are a separate, sentient life form. He firmly believes that the reason Steve is always late for rehearsals is because of his hair. Oh, he's not grooming it. It's just that while Steve is tuning his guitar, and getting ready to leave, his dreadlocks are playing XBox. When he says "Hey...guys? I've got to go, or I"m going to be late." They reply "ssssssss ssssssssss ssssssss" which is Dreadlock for "Fuck off, if I don't help Ryder shoot the guards, I'm never gonna get past this mission."
Tonight, Steve is on time, which is good, because this will be one of the last shows the band has before Celeste moves to LA. The show is in a huge house in Jamaica Plain. The kind of house with constant parties, a sweat lodge, and a stripper pole. I am sitting on a couch with Sora and Lola, who are discussing how cool it is that they're both Puerto Rican, when Ben walks in the room and announces that he's high. This is glaringly obvious.
Shortly after Ben's arrival, a band begins to play. I whisper back and forth with Sora and Celeste. Ben stands in front of us, swaying, but not to the music. At one point, he walks over to the couch, says something to Sora and walks away.
"That, DOUCHETRUCK!" Sora says, gets up, and leaves the room.
I put my head in my hands. Celeste rubs my shoulders. I count to ten, and prepare to go after Sora. But before I can get up, Sora is back. He grabs my right hand, opens up the palm, and places a tiny orange squirtgun in my hand. I shoot him the Velociraptor look. He takes the gun, and fires it at the back of Ben's head, then quickly, moves it into his pocket.
Ben touches the back of his head, looks to his left, sees Socialist Steve, makes a disgusted face, then turns back to watch the band.
Sora squirts him again. Ben glares at Steve, then stumbles over to us and says "His hair is PEEING on me."
Sora says "ssssssssssssss."
This goes on for about ten minutes, at which point Ben leaves the room. Sora and I follow. The three of us end up on the porch, where someone is passing around a hookah. While I am inhaling, Ben begins a rant on Socialist Steve's hair, which somehow ends with him talking about how I'm dating a toddler.
Sora pulls the squirtgun out of his pocket, and says "Bad Ben! Bad!" and squirts him like a cat.
"Oh. You. You little. I thought." and at one point a noun comes out of his mouth, but it is entirely unmemorable.
A short while later, we go back upstairs, watch Celeste's band, and drink.
When the show starts to die down, Sora, Celeste, Steve, and I head into the kitchen to get more beer, and make snide comments. Ben is already in the kitchen talking to someone "...and I totally shouldn't be eating chips because they're not on my 700 calorie a day plan, but I can't seem to stop myself, they're just so good, of course, I'm a little high right now, but, you know. Did I mention I'm in a band? We just had a show a couple of months ago, and"
"We?" I interject. "You're the only member of your band. Remember? No one else in Boston is talented enough to work with you."
"You just. You shut up. Why don't you take your little THING there, and."
Sora takes out the squirtgun again. "Bad Ben. Bad!" And he squirts him.
Ben's eyes explode. "STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT!!! I'M NOT FAT!!! WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING ME FAT???"
And the room goes completely silent.
"Ummmm." Steve says. "No one called you fat."
"YES HE DID!" Ben screams, then takes a deep breath. "All night long, he's been following me around, squirting me with that ridiculous little gun, and calling me fat."
"Actually," Celeste says "he's been calling you bad. And then squirting you. Like a cat. Like a BAD cat."
Ben turns red. Steve shakes his head.