Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
How The Conversation Would Have Gone If Either Of Us Ever Actually Spoke About Anything In Our Lives Worth Mentioning
Him: What was the fight about?
Me: Which one?
Him: The one you were just talking about?
Me: It's not important.
Him: So. Me, then. It was about me.
Him: Was it about 18th century agrarian business practices?
Me: No. It was stupid.
Me: No. Fine. I called him by your name.
Him: So you do still have feelings for me?
Me: "Feelings for you?" Apparently.
Him: And you think about me during sexy times.
Me: No. You know I don't take attendance during sex. I called him by your name when we were arguing about something that was only slightly less stupid than arguing about the fact that when I'm frustrated about something stupid, I think of you. Because you're incredibly annoying.
Him: And you still liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike me.
Me: Your name is a curse word to me.
Him: And curse words are named after the things we most enjoy doing. Nobody says "Holy Appendectomy" or shouts "Taxes!" when they drop something on their toes. No, they yell the things that release tension and bring them fleeting moments of serenity.
Me: If only my moments with you were more fleeting.
This morning, as I got off the train, Wednesday Regular I Haven't Seen In So Long I've Forgotten Why I Don't Like Him, walked up to me and joined me on my short trek to the store.
After a brief update on his life that I neither asked for, nor care about, we arrived at the door to the store.
WRIHSISLIFWIDLH: Have you seen the new Deadpool movie?
Me: Not yet. I haven't had any time off. I'm hoping to see it Thursday or Friday.
WRIHSISLIFWIDLH: Don't bother.
Me: What's wrong with it?
I mistakenly believe I'm about to be told about some continuity error, something out of character, something a hardcore fan (which this guy is) would nitpick to dislike a movie I have thusfar, only heard good things about from other comic book fans (and quite a few non comic book fans).
WRIHSISLIFWIDLH: Oh, I haven't seen it. I don't have to. Have you seen the commercials?
Me: Yea. I thought they looked great.
WRIHSISLIFWIDLH: What are you talking about? They had rap music. Deadpool doesn't listen to that--
I close the door between us, which, based on our previous interactions, he finds funny.
On my way out to the bank, The Guy Who Several Years Ago Gave Me A Concussion And Never Acknowledged Or Apologized For Dropping A Sandman Omnibus Directly On To My Head As I Rearranged Books is loitering by the door. We're not scheduled to open for a half hour.
GWGMAC...: Are you coming right back?
Me: Eventually. I'm going to the bank.
GWGMAC...: I'll wait here.
Of course he will.
At the bank where I've been getting change since it opened a couple of years ago, the teller asks where I work. He asks this every time I go into the bank. And every time I lie, naming a previous employer who still has an account with them. Because fuck banks and their policy of not making change for businesses they aren't currently grifting until the next bailout.
When I get back, I hand GWGMAC... the bag of comics I know he is looking for.
GWGMAC...: Oh, you know what I'm looking for!
Me: I've known you for about twenty years.
I have two positive interactions, before Guy Who Usually Wears Rush Limbaugh T-Shirts But Today Is Wearing An XFinity Jacket Which Is A Sure Sign You're A Glitch In The Fucken Matrix comes in to pick up his comics and to return a book that just came out in comic book stores last week.
Limbaugh Xfinity: This was in my folder last week. I subscribe to it, but I already have it.
Me: That's odd. It just came out to comic book stores last week. Did you pick it up somewhere else?
LX: No. I got it here.
Me: Nope. I added it to the computer last week. We'd never had it.
Me: I'll take it as a return today but you've told me that sometimes you just can't wait until Wednesday and buy books at regular bookstores which have Tuesday release dates instead of Wednesday.
This only really effects manga, which is most of what LX reads.
Me: Paper or plastic bag?
LX: I brought my own bag in preparation for that stupid law.
Starting next month, the city I work in requires you to bring your own bag or else pay ten cents for plastic bags over a certain weight (so no grocery store thickness bags or the free bags retail outlets like ours get for promotional means).
LX: This is going to have the same effect as The Bottle Law.
He means, the redemption value that bottles and cans of certain beverages have had for my entire life.
LX: People will be picking through your trash to steal your plastic bags and they'll Learn Things About You.
LX: And then all the retailers will end up with stinky bags, driving customers away, and local businesses will go bankrupt.
Me: I see.
LX: The future is bleak, my friend.
Me: The present is not so great, either. Buddy.
Yesterday,Random Guy called the store and spoke with my coworker about Overstreet Price Guides. He wanted to know which volumes we had, and if he could get any for free.
Coworker informed that we did not have any available for free, and he hung up.
Today, while I'm trying to get some work done, he came in and did a live action performance of Chris Rock's character from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka.
Random Guy: "You sure you don't have any old guides?"
Me: "Yes. Just the new ones."
RG: "But they're from the summer, right?"
RG: "Since it's been out for six months, I shoud get half off, right?"
Me: "No. It's cover price."
RG: "Thirty percent off?"
Me: "I'm really busy right now. It's cover price. No discount. No deal. No old issues."
RG: "I'll give you ten dollars."
Me: "It's thirty and tax."
RG: "Thirty dollars? Are you serious? How about twelve?"
Me: "Thirty and tax."
I, literally, turn my back to him and start counting books.
RG: "Twenty dollars."
RG: "You sure you don't have any old price guides in a back room?"
Me: "Yeup. I can't help you. Have a great day."
RG: "Twenty-five dollars?"
RG: "If I gave you five dollars, could you just let me borrow it for a couple of days? You could pocket the money. I wouldn't tell anyone."
RG; "It's like nobody wants to make money anymore."
A couple of bros got on the 77 headed toward Harvard. They were continuing some sort of friendly argument as they took their seats behind me.
Bro #1: No. You're a racist.
Bro #2: I can't be a racist. I watched The Cosby Show AND Fresh Prince Of Bel Air.
I turn my head almost Full Owl to give the kid some side eye.
Bro #2: That was a joke! Aww, man. Now Everybody thinks I'm racist.
Bro #1: So you're saying Everybody is wrong, but you right?
Bro #2: I'm not saying another word.
Bro #1 You shoulda done that ten minutes ago.
I was tempted to turn around to see what they were doing because they didn't speak at all until we were disembarking in the square.
Bro #2: Please don't call me a racist when we get on the train. I can't have people looking at me all the way to Braintree.
The music stopped playing, and I looked at my iPod, which flashed me the yellow "Please Connect To Power" screen, and I stared at it for about five seconds and growled "Star fucker."
Today's Successful Navigating Crazy Moment:
An entitled Harvard Professor left her bag in the middle of the staircase that leads to our business, the print shop, and the bathrooms.
One of the angry copy guys went out to take a smoke break and flung her bag on to the floor, growling "What is wrong with people?"
Entitled Harvard Professor, coming out of the print shop asks "What's wrong with you?"
Angry Copy Guy says "Don't leave your bag in the middle of the fucken staircase. Someone's going to trip."
Entitled Harvard Professor: "Don't throw peoples' bags into the middle of the floor where they could still trip over it."
I do not stick my head out the door and say "Shut up. You're both assholes, and you're both wrong. Go about your shitty lives."
I got to work a few minutes early today, saw a certain regular pain in my eardrums standing by the door, and decided to run some errands instead of opening early. Of course he was still there when I got back. I don't know what he was saying as I came down the stairs with my headphones blaring.
Annoying Loiterer/Occasional Buyer: Nevermind. I shouldn't have said that.
Me: Said what?
ALOB: Nothing. It's just that sometimes it's true.
ALOB: I'm going to buy all those Harley Quinn comics my fiancee likes.
There is no fiancee.
ALOB: I've been looking at them every day for the last month.
ALOB: Do I need a key to get into the drawer?
Me: Have you needed it every previous day for the last month when you've looked at them?
ALOB: I thought maybe you locked them up sometimes.
The Phone Rings.
Comic Delivery Guy On Phone: Are you almost to work?
Me: I'm at work already.
CDGOP: The lights aren't on.
Me: Yes, they are. And we bought new bulbs on Saturday, so the store is brighter than it has been in five years.
CDGOP: Oh, well we're coming in then.
ALOB: I think I'm going to get all these comics. I don't know how much they are because who can add that much?
CDGOP: Is that Name Redacted?
Me: I have no idea.
CDGOP: Is he buying Harley Quinn comics?
CDGOP: Goddamn it. I'm going to get coffee. I'll see you in ten minutes.
Apparently, it's not just me.
After the requisite ten minutes, the delivery guys start bringing in books while ALOB (aka Name Redacted) sputters on about Harley Quinn and how snow means it's cold outside and how much he's paid for various Harley Quinn books that nobody has ever cared to hear the prices for,
ALOB: Hi Comic Delivery Guy. Oh wow.
CDGOP: Hi...Name Redacted.
ALOB: Remember how I went into your store and told you I could buy those comics cheaper here? Well, I'm here, and I'm buying those comics.
CDGOP: You sure are. I thought your fiancee didn't want you spending money on comics.
Me: Well, these are for her. She loves Harley Quinn.
CDGOP: Really? I thought she hated comics.
ALOB: It was good to see you. Bye!
We sit in silence until we see ALOB flee up the stairs and streak (not in a naked way, it's snowing) by the windows.
CDGOP: There is no fiancee.
Me: Are you sure she's not Canadian?
CDGOP: He's mentioned having a fiancee to every comic book store employee in the Greater Boston area, but in every store she has a completely different set of behaviors, and a different favorite character. In some stores, he says they live together. In some, she lives far away.
Me: Well, that's even creepier than I thought it would be,
CDGOP: Isn't that impressive?
Today, while my clothes get their warm, soapy, freak on, Problematic Pizza is devoid of the owner, but there is a very loud phonestalker doing his best to make sure I have something to write about.
Shitbrains Loud Talker: "The sled is in the car. It's in the car in the driveway. Well I'm not at home. I'm not at home. I'm out. I'm not there. I don't have it with me. Because I'm out. I'm not home. Well, tell him he can't have it right now. I'm out. I'm not home. Tell him if it's that important, he should buy his own sled. I'm out. I'm not driving home, picking up the sled, driving to his house, and then coming back. He's a grown up, he can afford his own sled. He's thirty-three. I don't even know what street he lives on. No. I'm not going to his house right now, I'm out. I'm not home. It's like I told you, the sled is at home, I'm not. He should get his own sled, then. I'm hanging up now."
After a minute, the guy's phone rings again.
SLT: "Hi. Yea. She told me. I'm not home. Can you wait an hour? There is no such thing as a Sled Emergency. I'm out. I'm not bringing the sled to your house right now. I'm out. Fine. An hour. What street do you live on? The street name. The name. That's a number. What's the name? I don't know where that is. Yes, I realize that's where you live, but I don't know where it is. You know what, why don't you pick it up at my house? An hour and a half. Because I'm not home. The door is locked. Because it is. It just is. Why don't you buy your own sled? They cost ten bucks. No. No. My sled cost ten bucks. You don't have ten bucks for a sled? How much do you spend a week on pot? You don't have ten bucks for a sled? Forget it. Well, maybe I want to go sledding now. It's my sled. Stop yelling at me. No. No. Forget it. I'm not coming. Nope. You shouldn't. I won't be there. I'm not going home now. I don't want to. I want to go sledding. I'm going to go out and buy a brand new sled, even though I have a sled at the house, and I'm going to go sledding without you. Maybe I'll buy three sleds and give two away to homeless people. If you stop by my house, I will snap that sled in half right in front of you. It's ten bucks. Think I won't do it?"
He puts the phone down.
SLT, to the guy sitting across the table from him: "Your brother wants to borrow my sled. The guys is thirty-three what does he want to go sledding for?"
Guy Also Sitting At Table: "He's got a six year old and an eight year old. He probably wants to take them sledding."
SLT: "Oh, he just wants to go sledding?"
GASAT: "What else would he do with a sled?"
SLT: "Want to go buy him his own sled and drop it off at his house?"
I seriously don't understand people. At. all.
I am debating whether or not to approach Harvard about teaching a series of seminars called "Reading Signs And Understanding Privilege In Retail Environments."
Students will learn that when lights are out and a sign reads "Closed" with hours posted on the door that their asses should have made it into the store earlier. They will learn that textbooks don't come from comic book stores. They will even be convinced that, despite what their mommies, daddies, and Ivy League professors may tell them, their insistence that they are beyond rules does not make them either special or beyond the consequences for breaking said rules.
The next bunny thumper that comes into this store dressed in shorts and a maroon Harvard T-shirt stating the name of a textbook, not asking to purchase one, not wondering aloud if (s)he is in the proper store, not making eye contact, but just saying "Business Strategy For Lawyers" and then rapping their fingers on the counter is going to get their shirt ripped off and fed to them. And it WON'T be sexy, There will be a lot of coughing, drooling, and crying on their end.