Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
At some point last night, I woke up to Selina doing her "HEYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!! BALLLLLLLL!!!!!" routine, and I threw a sock in her general direction and went back to sleep. A bit later, I woke up, and she was curled up next to me, purring.
When I woke up this morning, my side felt slightly irritated, like I had rolled over on top of a pen in my sleep. It could happen. I do frequently have pens near or on my bed. But it wasn't a pen. It was a screwdriver.
I do not, ever, ever ever, really ever, at any given time, keep a screwdriver near my bed. When not in a drawer, a screwdriver might find itself on a bookshelf, which is the last place I remember putting the tiny screwdriver that I used to assemble a small shelf.
SOMEONE picked up a screwdriver in their mouths, hopped onto my bed, and curled up next to me with a flipping screwdriver, and then left it there, as some sort of weird offering.
My list of suspects is quite small.
Coworker: You said that Baron (Von Poopypants) called yesterday. What did he want?
Me: He wanted to know if "perchance" we had the next book of the Amazing Spider-Man by Nick Spencer trade.
Cw: He said "perchance"?
Me: Yea. But when I told him the price, he told me that I'd "put a damper" on his day. At least he didn't mention "role playing" this time.
Cw: Now, I feel guilty about using the word "perchance" and "damper".
Me: Don't. You actually shower, don't smell like you smoke cigarettes that you found in a sewer, or talk like you're a cartoon character being choked.
Cw: Ha. OH NO. Stupid brain. Stupid brain.
Cw:: Now I can't stop thinking of role playing sex stuff. SCROOGE MCDUCK. SCROOGE MCDUCK.
Cw: It was the first thing I saw.
They point to a Scrooge McDuck book.
Me: I just appreciate that that was your buffer safe word for not thinking about sex, and not ... your inspiration.
Me: I don't understand why our coworker refuses to break down boxes. Maybe he has better hearing than us, and can hear the boxes scream like lobsters when you cut into them with the box cutter?
Cuts the side of a box.
Cuts down center of a box.
Cuts down other side of box.
Coworker: You're creepy. You know that?
I pick up a second box, and cut down the side.
Me: Let them eat cake!
Cuts down center.
Me: Viva la revolution!
Cuts down other side.
Met: It's not gallows humor if you're in the audience. The difference is in the execution!
Random Loiterer: "Excuse me, can we come in and look around?"
Me: "NO. IT'S NOT ALLOWED."
RL: "Hahahaha. Thank you."
First customer of the day is a subscriber who is particularly persnickety. He is in the middle of, once again, explaining to me the various discounts he gets at various stores, when Baron Von Poopypants comes in.
BvPP: "OH THANK GOD."
Persnickety Subscriber: "Are you ok?"
BvPP: "Yea. New England Comics always havs the books that I want but they never have them, you know? I need to buy the new Nick Spencer Spider-Man books so I can be up to date for my role playing, and they don't have them but thank god you do."
BvPP: "My girlfriend" who doesn't exist "isn't going to be happy that I have all these Spidery books, but she likes the role playing, you know?"
I tell him the price of his books.
BvPP: "I don't mean to be rude, but can I have a bag for ten cents?"
Me: "That's not rude at all. Here you go."
BvPP: "Off to role play!"
He stenches out.
PS: "I ... I thought he was talking about ... you know ... dice and ... ewwwwwwww ... Ewwww. Ewww. Ewwww."
Random Loiterer: "Hi!"
Me: "Hey. How are you today?"
RL: "Do you remember me?"
Me: "I don't."
RL: "My name is Steve. I'm Moira's brother."
Me: "Sorry. I don't know who Moira is."
RL: "I came in and sold you hundreds of dollars worth of Mad Magazines about thirty years ago."
Me: "Ah. I was in fifth grade thirty years ago. So you were talking to somebody else."
RL: "I'm pretty sure it was you."
RL: "Do you know who I would have talked to?"
Me: "Again. I was ten. I didn't live anywhere near here. I have no idea."
RL: "It's pretty much the same staff, right?"
Me: "No. There have been a few changes in the last Thirty Years."
RL: "Do you have any Mad Magazines?"
Me: "Sure. They're over here."
RL: "I probably sold them to you."
Me: "Thirty years ago? I think we've rotated through stock a couple of times since then."
RL: "They're all cover price, right? I'm just joshing you."
I've known many a Josh in my day, and all of them are cooler than anyone who has ever used the word "josh" as a verb. I'm really content that "adaming" isn't a buzz word that corpses use when they're being annoying.
RL: "Hey, this box set here? How much is it?"
Me: "I don't know, let me look it up."
It takes me a while because it's a box set of old EC hardcovers that have probably been in the store since he sold us those Mad Magazines. I can't figure out the actual name of the box set, there is no bar code on it, and it doesn't come up in the Diamond Search Engine. Just as I find it, he starts to haggle. Though I have not given him a price.
RL: "I've seen it online for about two hundred dollars."
It's available from the publisher for $150. It's on Amazon from $85-$150.
RL: "I'll give you $125 for it."
This is perfectly reasonable. But he's annoying.
Me: "Call it $150?" which, again, is the actual price of it, if you order it new from the publisher.
He picks up a couple of Mad Magazines, and some old Peanuts books. It comes to $249.73
Me: "That will be $265.73."
RL: "Can you knock that down to $250 for me?"
Me: "I sure can."
Selina: GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD MORNING.
Me: Ugh. What?
Selina: IT'S MORNING. ISN'T MORNING GREAT?
Me: Go away.
Selina: THERE IS AN EMERGENCY IN THE OTHER ROOM! FOLLOW ME!
Me: You have food and water and fresh litter. It's too early. Go away.
Selina: IT IS AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY! PEOPLE AND CATS COULD DIE! COME QUICKLY.
Me: This better not be about the ball.
Me: Is it an actual emergency?
Selina YTHHHHHHHHHHHH! CM KWKL.
Selina: I HAVE THE BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I turn around and close the door on my way back into the room.
Selina: I STILL HAVE THE BALL, EVEN IF YOU CAN'T SEE ME!
Selina: GOOD MORNING?
Rude child enters the store, grabs a book from the shelf, and yelps as she plops down in the middle of the floor. Something about this is familiar.
Ah, yes. Dipshit Father comes in next.
DSF starts pipcking up books on the table. "I was supposed to get this in my subscription I haven-"
Me: "It's Monday. New books come in on Monday for Wednesday. We've talked about this many times."
DSF: "Oh yes."
He keeps pawing through the books.
Annoyed Daughter picks up a Raina Tegelmeir book and starts reading.
DSF: "Do you want me to buy that f--"
AD: "I DON'T WANT TO BUY IT! I AM JUST READING IT!"
DSF: "THIS ISN'T A LIBRARY. IT'S A BOOKSTORE! HOW WOULD YOU LIKE IT IF--"
AD: "DAD I'M JUST READING IT. YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING I WANT TO DO. I HATE YOU!"
This exact scenario has happened here before.
There's more screaming. Then whispering. Then they walk to separate parts of the store.
Later, the daughter starts pawing at a Vampirella comic on the table.
DSF: "YOU CAN'T TOUCH THAT! It's not for sale yet."
Me: "It's fine. You can look it. I just can't sell it yet."
AD: "See, DAD. I'm not going to BUY IT. I just wanted to look at her costume. IT'S SEXY."
DSF: "NO SEXY COMICS."
I walk away to work on the computer and be out of their bickering range.
When they are done wandering around the store, occasionally yelling at each other, DSF comes up to the counter and puts down a book. Then, in tune to the Talking Heads song that's playing he shouts "I CAN'T SING OR PLAY MUSIC. I SUCK AND EVERYONE HATES ME BUT I KEEP RECORDING MUSIC EVEN THOUGH I CAN'T SING BECAUSE I'M AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWFUL."
Me: "That will be thirteen dollars and eighty cents."
DSF: "What about my subscr--"
Me: "Your subscription discount is for books you pre-order. We've talked about this before. You are NOT getting a discount for anything that isn't from your folder."
DSF: "I should just put this in my folder until next time then."
Me: "That's not how it works."
DSF: "I DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE MUSIC BUT I WON'T STOP ANNOYING PEOPLE WITH MY HORRIBLE VOICE."
Random Loiterer: "Could you please stop screaming? It's really frustrating."
DSF, sarcastically: "I'm reeeeeeeeeeeally sorry."
Me: "You need to leave. Like, right now."
DSF: "Oh, ok. DAUGHTER'S NAME. WE HAVE TO GO."
AD, quietly: "I hate you so much."
They, along with an older brother who kept so much distance from both of them, that I hadn't even realized he was in the store, go up the stairs.
RL: "Oh my god. Are you ok?"
Me: "Yea. I was going to ask the same of you. I'm really sorry you had to be there for that."
RL: "Those poor kids. That guy is .. I don't even know."
Me: "He's here every month or so. Sometimes with his kids, sometimes alone. He's always unpleasant, but that was extreme, even for him. I sincerely hope he doesn't have custody of those kids, and that they only have to endure him on weekends and holidays."
Then I went back to counting books, and they went back to looking at books until the store filled up with other delightful people.
Random Loiterer: "How much are the comics behind you?"
Me: "They vary in price between $25 and $200 depending on condition."
RL: "I used to have a paper route when I was a kid."
RL: "And I would save up my money. And I had all the Marvel books for several years."
RL: "We kept them all bagged and boarded, and safe in boxes in the attic. But one year they tarred the roof, and some of it dripped on the boxes, so now they're not in great shape. But better than the ones you have here."
RL: "I give them to my nephew to read. They're the best comic stories. I don't want to waste his time with the Black Spider-Man and ... didn't they kill Captain America and replace him with a Black guy, too?"
I continue typing things into the computer.
RL: "Didn't they?"
Me: "Didn't they what?"
RL: "Kill Captain America and replace him with a Black Guy? That kind of stuff is too confusing for a kid. Don't you think?"
I continue typing things into the computer.
RL: "Maybe I'm wrong, but --"
Me: "I have work to do, and my boss says I don't have to talk to racists. Bye."
He left without buying anything.
I don't watch the news anymore because it's horrifying but I just saw cable news transition from a story about how beneficial it is for Diplomatic Immunity to exist because sometimes rich people got to murder, immediately followed by a story about how being poor gives you heart disease and cancer.
Random Do-Gooder: "Hi, there's a lady outside with very heavy bags, who didn't want to come down the stairs if you don't have what she's looking for."
RDG: "It's a horse racing magazine."
Me: "Sorry. We only have comic books and graphic novels. No magazines unless they're comic related."
RDG: "Yea. That's the vibe I was getting."
Me: "I would check The Coop. It's the big Barnes & Noble monstrosity on the corner. They and Out Of Town News are your best bets for magazines."
RDG: "She said they might also have them at 103 Mt Auburn Street?"
Me: "Ummm. I don't know which way the numbers go on this street, but we're #99, so #103 is either a bank, a Verizon store, or a store that sells eyeglasses.:
RDG: "So they probably don't have horse racing magazines."
Me: "It seems unlikely."
RDG: "I'm going to have to walk her back to The Coop, aren't I?"
Me: "I think you can probably outrun her, if you have to."
Selina: EXCUSE ME.
Me: Oh no.
Selina: PARDON ME.
Selina: I HAVE NOTICED THAT YOU SHUT THE WINDOW YESTERDAY.
Me: It's autumn, which means it's cold outside now. The window stays shut.
Selina: BUT THERE ARE PEOPLE OUTSIDE THAT I TALK TO IN THE MORNING. AND IN THE AFTERNOON. AND AT NIGHT. AND ALSO AT OTHER TIMES.
Me: If someone wants to talk to you, they can come in and hang out with you.
Selina: BUT YOU ARE NEVER HOME. AND WHEN YOU ARE NOT HOME. AND IT IS JUST ME AND MOTHERFUCKER. SHE DOESN'T TALK TO ME. AND THERE ARE NO PEOPLE TO TALK TO ME. SO I HAVE TO SAVE ALL OF MY ALL OF MY ALL OF MY VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS FOR YOU WHEN YOU GET HOME.
Me: You do that anyway.
Selina: I COULD DO IT MORE.
Me: Actually, I doubt that.
Selina: I COULD TOTALLY TALK MORE. I HAVE MANY MORE OPINIONS THAN I USUALLY LET ON.
Me: Get a blog.
Selina: YOU KNOW I CAN'T TYPE. OR READ. AND IF I COULD, I WOULD JUST TYPE WHATEVER NONSENSE WAS IN MY FURRY BRAIN AND CALL IT FACTS EVEN THOUGH I KNOW NOTHING OF THE WORLD OUTSIDE A DESIRE FOR ATTENTION.
Me: In the 2010s, we refer to that as Being Presidential.
Selina: I KNOW YOU HATE THE PERSON YOU CALL THE PRESIDENT. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO CONSTANTLY BE MEAN TO ME. I AM ALWAYS NICE TO YOU.
Me: So whose vomit is that next to my sneaker?
Selina: IT IS A GIFT. I AM GIVING YOU SOMETHING THAT WAS ONCE A PART OF ME. IT IS ROMANTIC.
Me: Go away.
Selina: REMEMBER THAT TIME YOU GOT MAD AT THE DOWNSTAIRS NEIGHBOR AND STARTED SINGING WHITNEY HOUSTON'S "I HAVE NOTHING" TO THEM? I HAVE BEEN PRACTICING MY WHITNEY IMPERSONATION. HERE GOES. DON'T. MAKE. ME. CLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSE ONE MORE DOOR. I. DON'T. WANT TO. HURT ANYM---
Me: Selina, shut the fuck up.
SELINA: AREN'T I A BEAUTIFUL SINGER? IF YOU WOULD JUST OPEN THAT WINDOW UP, I COULD GET A RECORDING CONTRACT, AND--
Motherfucker, walks up to her, gives her a quick headbutt.
MF Doom: Please be quiet.
Selina: YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE OF ME. I AM OLDER THAN YOU. I HAVE LIVED WITH THE HUMAN LONGER THAN YOU. I AM--
MF Doom: Or I will fucken murder you.
Selina walks over to her box and lays down. Quietly. Motherfucker hops on the chair I am sitting in, and falls asleep.