Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
Random Loiterer: "Do you have blankets?"
Me: "It should be right behind Habibi."
RL looks super confused.
I move Habibi, and, ta-da, Blankets!
RL: "No. I mean blankets. For a bed."
Me: "Uhhhh, no. We're a comic book store."
RL looks perplexedly at me and walks out the door.
Random Loiterer comes in and asks if we have any Scrooge McDuck comics. I have JUST covered this section up but haven't put anything heavy on it yet, so I'm fine with doing more heavy lifting when he says, "It's a gag gift. I have a friend who's a real Jew."
I decided to remember that we did NOT in fact have any Scrooge McDuck books in the store.
On his way out, he jovially asked me about the weather.
First Loiterer Of The Day walks in and starts rooting around the M-O wall of the store.
FL: Where are your Atari comics? Your ET? Your Centipede? Your Pac-Man?
It should be noted that I have dealt with this jewel of a human being several times both here and during my days at the previous comic book store. Also, none of those titles would have been on the M-O wall.
Me: I haven't seen those in years.
FL: Where do you keep them?
Me: We don't. I haven't seen them in years.
FL: Could you help me find them?
Me: No. We don't have them. They aren't in the store.
FL: What kind of ads do they have in them?
Me: I have no idea. I. Haven't. Seen. Them. In. Years.
FL: I bet they had cereal ads in them. Do you think they had oil company ads in them?
FL: Because people needed oil to get to the arcades to play the games, so I bet they had oil company ads. I wonder what they looked like. Were they colorful?
FL: I used to collect Star Wars comics.
This I know. I know him as That Asshole Who Always Puts Old Star War Comics Aside And Never Buys Them. Since 2009, I wait for him to leave and then return the comics from where he picked them up, knowing he won't be back for months or a year, at which point he will pick up the same books, promising to pick them up the next day.
FL: Do you know bout the new movie?
Business Associate: A new Star Wars movie? I think I've heard of that.
FL: I guess a lot of people went to see it. There was an article about it in the paper.
Don't have the paper with you. Don't have the paper with you. Don't have the paper with you. Don't have the --
FL pulls paper out of jacket pocket and begins flipping concernedly through the various sections.
FL: Here it is. Here it is. There's a whole article on Star Wars. And pictures of people who went to see it. Isn't that chick hot?
Me: *internal screaming*
FL: You can keep the paper. In case you need it.
I am unclear whether he means "In case you need it to talk about how there is a Star Wars movie." or "In case you need it to furiously masturbate to a woman I just objectified who is just a perfectly normal looking human being wearing normal human being clothes while she went to watch a popular movie, which is in no way sexually gratifying for people who aren't sociopaths like me."
Me: I've already read the article, (and a thousand like it on The Internet) thanks.
FL: Just keep it.
BA: I was about to go get you some rope.
He mimes throwing it up over the pipe above the counter. I'm not sure whether he was suggesting I use it on myself or FL.
The second loiterer was a Slight Improvement.
Guy At Bus Stop: "Are you the guy who does poetry at The Lizard Lounge?"
Me: "Not in a really long time, but, yes, I have been the guy who does poetry at The Lizard Lounge."
Random small talk.
GABS: "I'm a writer, too."
This never goes anywhere pleasant.
Me: "Oh, what d--" NEVER ASK THIS QUESTION "--o you write?"
GABS: "Do you know what slash is?"
I do. But it's more fun to ask, "The guitarist from Guns'N'Roses?"
GABS: "No, it's--"
Me: "I was kidding. Yes. I know what slash is."
GABS: "I write Dora The Explorer slash. I have a website."
Random Loiterer,Who Also Happens To Be Physically My Type: "Do you need to check my butt?"
RL: "My butt. Do you need to check it?"
He smacks the mannequin torso he's carrying with him.
Me: "Oh." "No."
RL: "You can give it a smack, too, if you'd like."
When I'm working on the computer, and someone asks me a question in a whispery voice, I sometimes answer the question they didn't ask.
Me: "Sorry. we don't carry any Ayn Rand t-shirts."
Random Loiterer: "IRON MAN shirts."
Me: "Ahhh, that makes more sense. We have one of those, yes."
I don't want to harp on the subject of adult My Little Pony Readers being socially awful and super annoying, buuuuuuuuut:
My Little Pony Fan* walks into the store, avoids my greeting, and sees the piles of comics I am separating, so that they can be distributed for Wednesday. On the top of the pile, of course, is My Little Pony.
This same woman came in last week, and we had almost verbatim the same interaction.
Me: "Sorry, that comic is not available until Wednesday."
MLPF: "I subscribe to it."
Me: "I know. But it's not available until Wednesday. I can't sell it to you until then. You can look at it if you want, but it can't leave the store."
MLPF: "It should go in my folder."
Me: "Yes. When I'm done counting all of the comics, I'll put your copy in your folder."
MLPF: "There are four."
She hands me one copy.
I put it back on the pile.
Me: "Yes. I will put it in your folder for you."
She takes it off the top of the file and slides it toward a pile of things I'm working on.
Me: "You should check your folder. An issue came out last week."
She does, and makes a noise that might have been happy or might have been indigestion.
I walk over to the register to sell her the comic.
MLPF: "I'm a subscriber."
I do not say No Shit? Is That Why I You Got Your Comic Out Of The Subscription Folder That I Pointed You To? Also, You Told Me About Forty-Five Seconds Ago. I just smile....ish.
MLPF: "Are you going to put the new one in my folder?"
Me: "Yes. It will be waiting for you on Wednesday."
MLPF: "I can't come until Thursday."
Me: "That's ok. It will be here until you pick it up."
She gives me some serious Shade Eye.
MLP fandom is, officially, The Worst.
There is a woman who occasionally visits my downstairs neighbor who goes into periodic screaming fits. It's usually late on weekend nights, and because the actual tenant is otherwise an ideal neighbor, I don't complain. But some nights I'm trying to get work done and can't handle her slew of loud obscenities.
After about a half hour of brief bursts of fuckery, Selina knocked over her waterbowl. I stood and stared at it for a few seconds before belting out Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" at the top of my lungs.
There was no more noise from downstairs.
The cats, however, being notoriously bad at directions, walked away from me.
I had Tuesday through Saturday mostly off this week, thanks to an unfortunate subway shutdown on Wednesday. Apart from running errands, I have mostly stayed at the house working on comic related things.
Today, I went back to work where most of the customers were awesome, and the loiterers were few. I did make the mistake of allowing a couple to come in at 9:58 (we close at ten) because they seemed desperate for gift ideas, and I was happy to help them. However, they left at 10:40 without spending a penny.
If they buy any of the books I suggested online, I hope the delivery is delayed, and shows up ripped to shreds and covered in parakeet shit. And I hope the "favorite niece and nephew" are so disappointed that they ask their parents not to let Aunty and Uncle Timewaster show up for their birthday parties.
It was 11:30 before I finished enough work to leave the store, and the travel app said it was twenty minutes before the next bus. But, you know, sometimes, late at night especially, it lies.
I decided to walk down to the spot between the train and the bus platforms and wait. If I heard a "The Alewife train arrives in FIVE minutes." or "The Alewife train is NOW approaching.", I would go catch the train. Otherwise, I'd wait out the bus.
Well, there were no announcements. The train just sort of showed up and left with no audio announcements or visual announcements. At last they committed to fucking over their visually impaired, hearing impaired, and non-impaired customers equally. Viva the subway's consistency.
So I walked up to the bus platform, which was mostly full. The bus showed up precisely when the app said it would, and I got on.
The woman behind me paid in dimes and was having a frantic conversation with the driver that I couldn't hear, even though I was not wearing headphones. But she appeared to be trying to scam her way in with a Charlie Card that didn't have enough change and wanted the driver to know that she was a bad person for not just letting her on.
Of course she came to sit next to me. Of course. But before she sat down, she took out used paper napkins to put down on the seat.
I understand that some people are germaphobic and need to cover the seats of public transportation, but I assure you: that napkin was far nastier than any of the invisible creatures living on the plastic seat.
I made a face, and then turned to look out the window.
She then tried to make eye contact with me in the window.
I did not engage.
At the second stop a group of non-White people got on the bus. And if you, dear Facebook readers, had been on that bus (and you're so glad you weren't), I would have turned to you and said "Bet you twenty dollars the insane woman sitting on the dirty napkin next to me says something racist."
You, wisely, would not have taken that bet.
She didn't drop the N word. She didn't say anything Absolutely Horrible, she just ranted to herself (again, I was not engaging) about Some People. Making it pretty clear to me that Some People were not mousey white ladies in their fifties voluntarily plopping their butts down on marinara sauce covered napkins.
I didn't turn around and make a face. I didn't make a face into the window. I didn't loudly sigh. I thought about doing ALL Of these things. But I sat quietly, writing this Facebook post in my head. Then she sort of shouldered me, very lightly, and said "Do you believe Those People."
And that's when I was ready. Now was my time to...
"Nah, Ronda Rousey looks like a man, (censored). I mean, I'd stick my dick in it, but then I'd have to go to confession because that's fag right there. Total fag." said one of the people I was about to defend.
I clicked the Let Me Off This Fucken Bus button. I headed to the front of the bus, and I walked the rest of the way home.
I hope they ended up in a screaming match, and all their variously bigoted asses had to walk home to Montana or Saskatchewan. Somewhere far enough away that I never have to see them again.
I love watching people's expressions when I mispronounce a certain Sith Lord as "Darth Vuh-dahr."
Kids are amused. Adults get upset.