A child comes in with hosiery over their hands. They are followed by an older brother and two parents.
Child #1: "I hope they have it. What if someone came in and bought it? *annoyed grunt* Do you have Sisters?"
Me: "Yes. It's right over here."
Child #1: "Perfect! How much is it?"
Dad: "It doesn't matter. We're getting it. Do you also have Drama?"
Child #1: "No. I just have Smile and the Babysitters Club books."
Dad: "We'll get Drama, then."
Older Brother: "I don't know why you read those."
Mother scolds the older brother by name.
OB: "What? They're not relevant to his...interests."
I glare in his general direction. All these books are by Raina Telgemeir, a fantastic writer who writes and draws fantastic all-ages stories that happen to also be Very Inclusive.
OB: "He's not a babysitter."
Dad: "He's not a princess, either. But he reads Princeless."
OB: "Well, Princeless is awesome. The Babysitters Club books are just ok."
I retract my glare. I disagree with his assessment about the quality of books, but disagreeing about quality is different from disagreeing about inclusivity.
Mom: "Leave it alone. The poor kid already has two judgmental parents. He doesn't need a third."
OB: "Then get a divorce already. All the other parents are doing it."
They all laugh.
Shithead In A Leather Jacket: I don't know why Doctor Who is now a woman?
Decent Human: After twelve guys, why not?
SIALJ: Why not? Why not? Why? It's Doctor Who.
DH: What's your point?
SIALJ: It's not Doctress Who.
DH: Doctress isn't a word. Doctor is gender neutral. It's a title not a ---
SIALJ: No one wants to watch Doctress Who.
DH: It's still not a word. But if it were, I would want to watch it.
SIALJ: Ok. Because you are a woman?
DH: Because I like Doctor Who.
SIALJ: It doesn't make sense.
DH to the other woman: Let's go.
SIALJ: Where are we going?
DH: We are going somewhere without you. Good night, Larry.
To me, SIALJ: Do you believe this? They are mad at me. Typical women.
Me: Women are typically mad at you?
SIALJ: They're too sensitive.
Me: Maybe they should see a doctress about it.
SIALJ: You know what I am talking about.
He didn't buy anything.
Tiny Joseph Gordon Levitt Kid: Hi. I'm fourteen. I would like a job application, please.
Me: We don't have applications. But if you come in on a Friday or Saturday you can talk to the owner.
TJGLK: Is that (Owner's Name Redacted)? I've talked to him before. He told me to come back when I was fourteen. I'm fourteen now.
Me: Ok. I look forward to working with you then.
TJGLK: I'm a very thorough worker.
Me: I bet.
TJGLK wanders over to the back issue bins. Another kid, maybe ten, is looking at the all ages shelf, asking his father questions, when his father said "Ask her over there."
TJGLK: "I am a him."
Exhausted Father: "I'm so sorry. People used to do that to me when I was young and had long hair."
TJGLK: "It's cool. Misgendering doesn't bother me."
Mother: "Don't even pick one of those up. Comics aren't for girls."
Daughter: "But it's My Little Pony."
Mother: "Comics are for Boys. Put it down."
Son: "Emily likes My Little Pony comics, and she's a girl. Lumberjanes is for girls. Squirrel Girl is for--"
Mother: "Nathan. Enough. Comics are for boys. Emily shouldn't be reading them. You have five minutes to get a book."
They all walk around the store on their own for a minute or so.
Mother: "Nathan, you have four minutes to get a book."
Son: "Women don't get to tell men how long they have, it's annoying."
Mother: "I'm your mother, Nathan, I'll do what I want."
Son: "Women don't get to do what they want, that's what men do."
Mother: "That's not very nice, Nathan."
Son: "Well, that's what You sound like."
Mother: "You've got three minutes left, Nathan."
Daughter: "What's A Wrinkle In Time?"
Mother: "Put it down. You don't like comics."
And that's wen I turned into a Hammer brother and started throwing tools at a set of parents who shouldn't be allowed to raise children.
I know I didn't mention the dad. That's because he didn't say anything. But he was complicit in his silence. He gets hit with a hammer, too. Unless he shows me divorce papers and a custody settlement where the kids go to someone who isn't either of them
Guy On Phone: "Hi, guy. Do you guys take credit cards?"
Me: "We sure do."
GOP: "Even for comics?"
Me: "Even for comics."
GOP: "My girl likes comics."
GOP: "I like comics, too."
GOP: "I'm looking to buy an old comic with women in it."
GOP: "You have anything like that behind the counter."
Me: "Probably. But your best bet is to wait until six, and talk to our owner. We have a bunch of storage facilities that I haven't even seen. He can probably help you find the perfect book."
GOP: "Do you have any Elektra shit."
Me: "Umm." flips through the Daredevil pile, "Nope. No Elektra in the store, but you should call back and talk to the owner. He'll know if we have any Elektra in storage."
GOP: "I have a limited window, guy. The thing is my anniversary is tonight."
GOP: "So could you help me pick something out for her?"
Me: "If you came into the store with some more info, sure."
GOP: "Will you be there around 3?"
Me: "Nope. Casey will be here."
GOP: "Is that a woman?"
GOP: "Oh perfect. I'm a dude. You're a dude. A woman would be super helpful."
Me: "Sure. They know all about disappointing anniversary gifts." Pause. "And how to avoid them."
GOP: "Exactly! Thanks, guy!"
Customer In Store answers cell phone: Hello?
I do not hear the other half of the conversation,
CIS: Yea. Yea. I can be there in a half hour or so. Uh-huh. Where am I? I am at the football store. Being manly.
He then sat on the steps outside for about five minutes, showing his friend a Youtube clip from Rupaul's Drag Race.
After Some Unscrupulous Relative Links Her To An Article About A Comic Book Store In Texas, My Mother Calls Me At Work
Me: "No, Mom, I'm not getting married now."
Mom: "I just read this article about this comic book store couple in Texas...:"
Me: "That's great. Who do you imagine I'm going to get married to?"
Mom: "What about that nice guy we had lunch with a couple of years ago. I think he was moving to Arizona."
Me: "Well, SHE now lives in California."
Me: "Yes, she lives in California, and is a woman."
Mom: "That's even be--"
Me: "YOU FINISH THAT SENTENCE OLD WOMAN, AND I WILL END YOU."
Mom: "So you're still single, then?"
"Why does everyone you date look a Lesbian Woman In Her Thirties?"
"I've never dated anyone who --- ohhhhhhh. Huh. But. Everyone?"
Yoooooooooooooooooo, I try not to antagonize people in the store, even when they're fratholes but I first heard this dude tell someone on the other side of his phone conversation that he was currently in the airport in San Diego (and if he is then I am waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too messed up to be online now, because this place looks just like the store in Cambridge that I work at), and he then walked up to me with his phone and asked if I would like to see "Miley Cyrus's third best nip slip."
Then, two minutes later, his female friend came in, and he started talking about how he couldn't watch Firefly anymore because of how misogynist Joss Whedon is and I just couldn't hold back the "Seriously?"
He didn't press the conversation.
Last night, after some prebauchery (TM) at Grendel's, I was waiting for the last bus home. A very nice woman was sitting on the bench near where I was standing, and she was very nervous about missing the last bus. I explained that the last bus is usually very very late, as it waits for the last red line train, which waits for the last green line train, which waits for the apocalypse.
After a few minutes of very pleasant conversation, she said that she was still nervous that she had missed the last bus and that her roommate would be nervous because her phone was dead.
Because I'm not a piece of human filth, I let her use my phone, and her roommate looked up online and confirmed that the last bus was coming. (How she checked, I don't know. All the apps I have to track the T said there were no more buses.)
She gave me my phone back, and I realized I had to use a bathroom, so I told her I would be back and I RAN back to the store (the MBTA bathroom was coned off), used the facilities and ran back.
She smiled and told me that I had just missed the announcement that the next train to Alewife was coming in five minutes. Awesome.
As we talked some more a couple of very very white young lesbians with amazing hair walked over, and one of them sat between me and the girl I was talking to and said "Step off, SKETCHBALL. She doesn't want to go home with you."
I was about to start laughing when my new friend said "Excuse me. You're the one being sketchy, sitting practically in my lap and trying to tell someone who I can and can't talk to."
"Just look at this guy, though." and then to me, "I see the way you're looking at me."
"I'm looking at you like you are too drunk to be in public and/or you are a super judgemental asshole."
So now my new friend is laughing, and the girlfriend who hasn't spoken yet grabs the other one's arm.
"FINE." she said. "I'm trying to help you, girl. Get raped, then."
There was some prolonged eye contact between me and my new friend and then the bus showed up.
As we got on the bus, the girl who had just called me a rapist for, I don't know, existing and not being attractive, decided to apologize. "I'm sorry. It's just. I mean, look at you. I teach a self-defense class."
"Fuck you." Seemed really appropriate. "I hope when you sober up someone tells you how awful you were to a stranger." And I got in the bus and sat way in the back, and my new friend came and sat not next to me but very close.
WISELY, the quiet girlfriend kept her obnoxious partner at the front of the bus, where she proceeded to antagonize the driver about where her stop was. As in, at EVERY stop she would ask "Is this Walden Street? Because I took this bus before and they didn't tell me where Walden Street was and I missed my stop. And that's BULLSHIT. If I miss my stop, you are paying for my cab."
I was kind of hoping the driver was going to throw her off, but he did not. Though when she did get off, everyone on the bus let out an audible exhale.
This morning I had a text from a number I didn't recognize thanking me for the use of my phone and hoping I had a better day than the night I had last night.
So far, yes, but it's a low bar.