Delivery Guy: "I think this song was playing the last time I came in."
Me: "No, last time you commented about how I was always playing old school hip-hop.
This is Bruce Springsteen."
DG: "Maybe it's that you're always playing arson themed music."
And then the track changed from "I'm on Fire" to "Dancing in The Dark" (You can't start a fire without a spark).
He might be right.
An absolute Woogums and his female compatriot come into the store, and he starts giving her a Very Incorrect Tour of the place.
"They organize the back issues alphabetically because that's one of the things corporate makes all the stores do."
"But this is where they keep all their indie and underground books" Woogums says, pointing to the nostalgia section.
"Are these trading collections or graphic novels?" asks his even less-informed but also less-infuriating friend.
"Graphic novels." He says.
They are hardcover collections of old newspaper strips and EC comics.
"Everyone in this place knows me." he says, waving to me.
I have never seen him before in my life. And, Diamond willing, will never see him again. I do not wave back.
"This place used to be all porn and indie comics but the corporate office made them turn it into more of a superhero store." he says.
"What are you talking about?" I ask. "There is no corporate, and most of our our collections and graphic novels are what would be considered independent, as they're not put out by Marvel or DC. This entire section here. That section over there. Most of our all-ages books are Scholastic or other smaller presses. We have a European comic section. This entire shelf here. We're not really a superhero store, although we do, of course, carry the most popular DC and Marvel comics."
"You didn't used to, though. You didn't carry any at all."
"Weird." I say. "The owner, who shopped and worked here since the early 80s told me that when he started, about 90% of their sales were the Chris Claremont X-Men comics, with the rest being spread between Superman, Batman, and Cerebus. If anything, there are less superhero comics in the store now than there have ever been. Maybe you're thinking of another store."
"Must be." he says, and goes back to talking to his poor companion. "I think you'd really like The Watchmen."
I grab Mjolnir from its drawer and debate hucking it his head.
He continues to misinform her before he leaves without buying anything.
I start to ponder that I am too judgemental and grouchy when one of the guys from the print shop comes in.
"Do you believe that guy?" he says. "He just came into our store and demanded we print a color copy of a hundred dollar bill. That's ILLEGAL. Color copiers are designed to detect currency, and when they Xerox guys come in to repair or upgrade copiers, it reports how many times a person attempted to copy currency, and they have to report it to the government. And when I told him, he said that The Other Guy always let's him do it. But we're all here today, so I asked him to tell me which Other Guy and he huffed at me and walked into your store. Do you believe that?"
"The people raised to believe in extraterrestrial robots have proven to be more reasonable and less violent than those who've been raised on traditional religions."
When heading to work at Harvard Square, I usually ride in the front car, as it's closer to the exit ramp. This is also usually where there are people rushing to catch the train, and there's almost always a throng of entitled assholes who crowd around the doors, making you push through them to get out of the cars.
W'evs, I'm a big guy, and I have elbows. Usually just stretching my elbows our like wings causes at least one intelligent, non-entitled human to make space for me and whoever is behind me to exit.
Today, I saw someone not pushing but kind of bumping people out of his way as he cut into the crowd to try and get on the train before those of us already on the train got off, so he's the person that I made elbows at, and he bumped me, which is fine. The elbow flare is not a threat to be carried out, it's just a reminder to make space. I find the entitled throngs annoying, but they do not make me feel violent, just sad at what passes for humanity.
After the guy bumped me, I saw a guy with a cane wheeling his arms. I thought I had maybe bumped into him when the other guy bumped into me, so I hopped behind him, in case he fell, and asked if he needed to hold on to me. He very much did.
It turned out that nobody had bumped him, he was having massive balance issues. So I walked him into the train, letting the conductor, who was hanging out the window, know that I was coming back out.
Naturally, there were no open seats, and the one nearest the door was occupied by the guy who bumped me.
"Hey," I said, "this guy needs to sit down, could you give him your seat?"
He flat out didn't make eye contact or reply. He wasn't wearing headphones, and he was not Deaf or Heard Of Hearing, he was a pwiviweged woogums who didn't want to stand for a guy who physically Couldn't stand. Somebody across the aisle stood up, and I walked the guy to the seat, and walked out of the train. This probably took a full minute.
The conductor asked me where the guy was getting off, so he could help him, which is awesome, so I went back in to ask the guy, and the doors closed behind me, and I ended up riding the train to Central, hatefucking Pwiviweged Woogums with my eyes.
I got off at Central, and as soon as I got off, the conductor apologized, and said something something schedule, and it was fine. Nobody was injured by my twenty minute delay on the way to work.
And I was feeling pretty ok. Not because I helped the guy, that seems like basic human decency. But because on my way out, I sucker-elbowed Woogums right in the ear, and the guy who had stood up snorted real hard.
A very excitable eight year old with a voice that's already lower than Omoizele Okoawo's is tossing a billion questions a second at me "Why does it say Wakanda in the window? Is this Wakanda? This is my favorite store. Why is Ms Marvel white on this cover?"
Me: "That's her friend wearing her costume to help her out."
E8YO: "But she doesn't have any powers? Why would she wear this? She's gonna get dead. Simpsons comics? Like the TV show? I hate the TV show. Is Thor an Avenger? Like in the movies? I want to see the movies. Do you have the movies? Have you seen the movies? What are these?"
Me: "Baseball cards."
E8YO: "Baseball cards? Like Pokemon? What attacks do they have? Do they just throw gloves and bats at each other? that's stupid."
E8YO's Ten Year Old Sister: "No. They're collectible cards, not battle cards. You can't cast No Hitter or send them to the Disabled Player Graveyard, Ignoramus."
Regular Customer: "One trope I've never understood is useless, young sidekicks. Jimmy Olson...Rick James..."
Me: "Rick James?"
RC: "The kid who helped out The Hulk."
Me: "Rick JONES. But now that I think about it, 'Gamma radiation is a hell of a drug.' is a great catchphrase. I would definitely read that book."
Yesterday, I went to the post office to return the second, and also last, in a series of jackets ordered online that featured faux-pockets and annoying zippers, and to mail out some international anthology orders that have been sitting on my desk, waiting for me to fill out customs forms.
A very nice student was trying to navigate how to get her four thousand boxes of belongings that she was mailing home, into the post office, while I used seventy-five rolls of tape to sturdy the box that had been kickboxed to my door by the USPS on its way between the jacket's original point of origin and my porch.
While I taped, and the student wheeled, I heard the postal employee behind the counter tell four different people "It's just awful. They don't give us tape anymore because some people abused the tape. So now people have to buy tape. And they all go home and write their Yelp reviews about how awful we are for not giving them tape. It's not our fault. I would give them tape, but now we don't have tape to give. But Yelp says we're not giving them tape. It's not us. It's the people who should be giving us the tape to give to people. It's not right."
During her first version of the soliloquy, I picked up tape from the rack. I am perfectly happy to pay $3 for tape, as I have approximately a million more boxes to ship in the next month.
During soliloquy four, I was in line, with boxes in hand.
Postal Employee: "Sir? Sir, I am ready for you now. I'm sorry about the tape. It's just awful."
Me: "It's no problem, I have some things to tape at home, I don't mind buying tape here."
PE: "They don't give us tape anymore because some people abused the tape. So now people have to buy it. And all they do is complain on Yelp, like it's my fault they abused the tape. People are just awful. All day long people just complain to me. Not so much as a hello or how are you, just complain, complain, complain."
Me: "That must be awful."
PE: "It is! They go on Yelp, and they say things! I used to be a hairdresser, and let me tell you, everybody wants everything for free. They come to me with their hands out, looking for free haircuts. Do you believe that? I have bills to pay. I have needs. But, no, people just complain and demand free things. I had to close my salon because people were so awful. And now I'm here, and it's tape this, Yelp that, complain, complain, complain. People are just awful."
Me: "They sure are."
PE: "Where is this box going?"
PE: "You'll need to fill out a customs form."
Me: "It's right there."
PE: "You have nice handwriting. Not like most people. People come up here with their chicken scratch forms. I didn't go to school for handwriting. I'm not a doctor translator. I don't know what they wrote about half the time, but your handwriting is very nice. Where is this box going?"
PE: "Toronto where?"
Me: "Toronto, Ontario. Canada."
PE: "Ok. The top is coming off a bit. I'd tape it for you, but they don't give us tape anymore. People were abusing their--"
Me: "It's ok. I have tape. I'll tape it shut."
PE: "I can do it."
She takes my tape, seals the package, and then puts my tape on her computer. I mentally file this under Acceptable Losses.
PE: "Ok, it's sealed. Where is it going?"
PE: "That's right. Ok, and this other box is...oh, it's a return. It's free. You used to have to pay for returns. It was awful. You buy something, you pay for shipping, you don't like it, and then you have to pay to ship it back. Might as well keep it. But now places are starting to pay return shipping. You're very lucky."
PE: "You just need another piece of tape."
Jesus. Fucken. Christ.
PE: "We don't have free tape anymore. You have to pay for it now."
Me: "You have my tape over there on your computer."
PE: "Right. I forgot you already bought tape. You're not going to go on Yelp and complain about tape. You know how people abused it. If people would just pay a dollar, it would be fine. But no, everybody comes to the post office with their hands out and complains when everything isn't free. That's weird. This label won't scan."
PE: "It's fine. Nothing to complain about. It has the address and we'll send it. No need for Yelping. Thank goodness they didn't have Yelp when I owned my salon."
PE: "All those free haircut people complaining. Awful. I'll be right back with your receipt."
While she's in the back, I walk over to the line of other exasperated people.
Me: "If anyone needs tape, let me know. They don't give it to you for free anymore."
Random Person In Line: "That's awful. I'm going to Yelp about it."