Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Overheard in a coffeeshop near Harvard: “I’m worried that applying for grad school is going to distract me from my rap career.”
Every once in a while, like tonight, someone comes in for a specific indie author or title, spends a half hour searching the chaos of shelves and says something like “Shot in the dark: Do you have Mckeever’s Eddie Current?”
I say “Let me see.” And I walk over to the shelves and find it near instantly.
They ask “How did you do that? Is there some order here that I don’t understand?”
"If so, I don’t understand it. I just always pretend I’m looking for Hark A Vagrant, and I think ‘man, every time I go looking for Hark A Vagrant, I find (insert book I’m looking for). It’s always in my way!’ and, voila, I find it."
Angry Loiterer wandering around the back issue bins “These all have different prices.”
Me: “Yea. They’re all different books.”
Angry Loiterer: “That’s against the law. You have to—”
Me: “I’m not having this discussion with you. Leave.”
Angry Loiterer: “Excuse me?”
Me: “Leave. There’s no way you can convince me that you think ALL books are the same price. So leave. Go to Urban Outfitters and yell at them about how all clothes have to be the same price or go to Staples and tell them that it’s against the law to have computers with different prices, just leave me alone. I have work to do.”
Angry Loiterer: “I’m never giving this place my business again.”
Me: “Have you ever given us your business before?”
Angry Loiterer: “FUCK YOU.”
Seriously, Monday morning?
On my way to lunch, a guy stops and says, “You look really familiar.”
I say “We went on a date once.”
He says “And you didn’t call me back. jerk.” but he’s smiling.
I say “You asked me to take you to Friendly’s on our date. You then put a hair in your ice cream, demanded to speak to the manager, spent fifteen minutes flirting with the manager while trying to get our meal comped, got our meal comped, spent an additional ten minutes talking to the bewildered manager about porn, borrowed five dollars from me to buy some pastries on the walk to our separate houses, and when I saw you a week later, you made eye contact, smiled, and walked quickly away. No, I did not call you back.”
He says “To be fair…”
I say “I have no fairness in me today. Bye.”
Then I bought a cupcake and watched some TV.
This has been a strange day.
After I give her directions to Legal Seafood (Which I forgot was about a block and a half away): “Can I take your picture?”
Her: “Do you always scowl in pictures?”
Me: “I always scowl. Pictures or no pictures.”
A loiterer picks up a copy of a Joe Kubert book and mentions that some of the artwork looks like hers. “I bet he saw my Deviantart page and tried to recreate my style.”
And then he built a time machine and started his career in the 1940s.
I’m fairly sure the woman visiting my neighbor is unaware that when I grunted “Get back in that apartment or I’ll murder you.” I was addressing a cat.
Nothing to do now but wait for the police to show.
Person knocks on the door ten minutes after I’ve closed. “Hi. I just wanted to let you know that because you are closed, I’m going to your competitor on the next block.”
"Sorry to hear that." I say. "You know they close at the same time, right?"
"No," he says, "they’re open until ten."
"Nope. *WE* are usually open until 10. Unfortunately, not tonight. Sorry." And I close the door. Truth be told, not the least bit sorry.
A fairly entitled sounding lady walks into the store. “I’m here to pick up comics for my son. He has a subscription.”
"Sure thing, what’s his name?"
She gives me an unfamiliar name. I have her spell it, and try to look it up in the computer. Nothing. “I’m sorry, I don’t have a record of that name. Would he be under something else?”
"No, definitely" name. "There should be hundreds of comics for him. He hasn’t been in for about five years.”
"Oh. I’m sorry." I say. "We ask customers to come in once a month to pick up their books. We’re pretty lenient, but five years is a very long time."
"So where are his comics?"
"I have no idea. If you can find out what comics he reads, and which he’s missing, I would be happy to do my best to track them down." you idiot.
She makes a huffy noise (and I don’t mean the bicycle company). “He probably won’t want them, then. Will you buy them back?”
"You want to know if I’ll hunt down a bunch of books that he doesn’t want, in order to sell them back to me?" I ask.
"Well, if he already has them. Or doesn’t want them."
"Why don’t you have him e-mail us a list of what he’s looking for," I giver her a card, "and I"ll see if we can get them. That way we don’t have to track down something he doesn’t want,"
"But he should be able to buy them from you for cover price, and sell the valuable issues back for more money, right?"
Really? “No. If we are able to find or reorder the books, they probably are only worth cover price. If they’re worth much more than that, we’d have to charge you that amount.”
"But you should have been holding them for him."She says.
"I’m sorry," I say, "but it says right on the subscription forms that you’re supposed to come in once a month. And if you go much longer than that, we call you and/or e-mail a reminder to pick things up. If we don’t hear from you, we cancel your subscription. Often, it takes about a year before we cancel someone."
"You’ll buy his Magic Cards?"
"Nope. We don’t deal in Magic Cards. You should try Pandemonium in Central Square."
She frog-eyes me: “They’re worth QUITE A LOT OF MONEY.”
"Excellent. I hope you make a mint. Unfortunately, we don’t buy or sell Magic Cards."
"Even if they’re worth A LOT OF MONEY."
Loiterer: Are you seriously sitting in a comic book store, by yourself, listening to The Theme From Shaft?
You’re damn right.