Near the end of a shift that started some time during the Adams administration (I can’t remember if it was John Adams or John Quincy Adams…it’s been that sort of day), the phone rings. I am standing on top of a ladder with the phone in my pocket because I’ve just got done inventorying the books in the window for my boss. “Store Name Redacted, how may I help you?”
"Greg?" says a familiar voice.
"Nope. Adam." I do not point out that there is no one here named Greg, and that he’s been calling one of my coworkers the wrong name for over a decade. Why do I not point this out? Because it’s Ask Me How Guy.
"Any books coming out this week?" He asks.
"Lots." I say. He likes to call every few days and ask about all the books I’ve read. He hasn’t bought a book here since the Bush administration (I can’t remember if it was George Walker Bush of Georger Herbert Walker Bush…it’s been that sort of lifetime), and I don’t feel like talking to him. "Is there a particular one you need to know about?"
"I’m sorry." he says. But he doesn’t mean it. "Long day?"
"Same amount of hours as every day." I say.
He laughs. “Do you like basketball?”
I know I’m going to regret answering this. “Yes.”
"It’s been an important day for basketball fans everywhere. Ask me why."
Damn. It. I do not ask why. I do not engage. I consider hanging up the phone.
"Because Dennis Rodman is in Korea. What do you think the short little slant eyes think of that?"
I now feel justified in hanging up the phone, so I do.
My coworker hears me let out a loud sigh. “Everything ok?”
I explain the conversation I just had. “All he had to say was ‘Did you hear Dennis Rodman is in North Korea? That’s crazy.’ and we’ve had an acceptable conversation, but he HAS to insert racism into everything.”
"Yea. That’s rough." She says. "Is there a reason you needed to have your last three conversations on a ladder?"