#26 – Lowered Expectations – 11/14/1016

Ohhh emmm geeee.

I put the Coffee Shop Chronicles on hold for a few months to get some fucking work done (still not done), but this redneck is blowing his date beside me and I can’t help but stop everything I’m doing to watch him crash and burn.

It’s like seeing a terrible car accident. Caused by the type of drivers he just referenced when he told his non-white date that he used to make fun of the Asian kids who didn’t like him by telling them they couldn’t drive and that their eyes were too small.
She asked why kids didn’t like him. He said that it was because he was “too good looking.” I guess mouth-breathing overbites were the “in” thing at his school.

I’m guessing he’s early 20s, military (or just spends entirely too much time in the gym), as his massive arms, chest and unwarranted cockiness would suggest, and his body (like hers) is likely the only reason this date has carried on as long as it has.

His date may be a Latina, early 20s — it’s hard to tell from this angle — and hasn’t laughed at a single thing this douche bag has said thus far. This may be her first rodeo, and it’s likely to deter her from performing in anymore by the end of it.

Is she gonna seal the deal, I wonder. Will she go further? A relationship? Is she really digging this? I can’t get a good look at her because their table is too close, and if I glance over, they’ll know, by the look on my face, just how stupid I think they both are.

I suppose I can’t fault her for this. She’s like a hostage. I have quite a collection of terrible 1st date stories, and though I could have (and should have) abandoned them at the first chance I had, I always ended up hanging around to see how much worse they could get. The answer has consistently been “MUCH, MUCH WORSE.”

Now, he’s poking at her and picking on her appearance. Is this an effective method of flirtation? If someone said these things to me, it would just make me want to punch them in their “too good looking” face. How many Access Hollywood buses has this fool traveled on with Donald Trump where he’d believe this was desirable behavior?!

I have the urge to turn to her and yell, “Don’t let him grab your pussy! Don’t let him anywhere near it! We don’t need anymore of these tools running around in this country! I’m sure he has a perfectly good sister at home waiting up for him whose life he can ruin instead!”

Well, he’s confirmed he is/was in the Army. And now he’s asking personal questions about her family. Run, girl! He’s gathering intel on you! He’s trying to deport you and your family! Okay, okay, not really. This guy couldn’t deport his own way out of a paper bag. Aaaand now, coincidentally, they’re actually talking about Trump.

You gotta be fucking kidding me. He just dropped this joke: “The wall isn’t a bad idea because it really works. Remember ‘The Great Wall’? How many Mexicans do you see in China?” She was NOT amused. So, then, he proceeds to EXPLAIN it to her! He thought she didn’t understand, and made a genuine attempt to explain it! xD I haven’t seen a death so slow and tragic since that scene in Titanic! (Spoiler alert: Jack dies.)

G.I. Joke just changed the subject. As ridiculous as this is, he’s still getting laid tonight. He’s going to pound the hell out of this poor girl, and I’m going to be up working and blogging. Really puts my life into perspective.

Any-J, she just started picking on some of his career choices. She found a flaw to exploit. She got him vulnerable and on the ropes. He’s so defensive. And then … pivot. “I wanted to be a doctor, but then I realized I didn’t.” That’s a scary thought. That just enforces my plans to NOT have insurance so I can wither away and die naturally.

Oh! He just got her to laugh! He told her that his younger brothers — a software engineer and someone working with military defense contracts — are jealous of HIM! She asked why, and why he isn’t modest in the slightest. His response: “It’s hard to be modest when you’re this badass.”

G.I. Joke went on to talk about how he could never be jealous of a woman. I just felt every woman I know scream out, outraged, right from my very soul as he carried on.
Cancel my work for the next two days. I really need to process this.

Ohhhh snap! She totally just body-shamed him! One point for woman scorned! (As her voice is getting louder through this conversation, I have determined that she indeed carries an Asian accent. Chinese, I believe.)

Female Hostage pointed out that G.I. Joke doesn’t have a six pack, and eluded to the fact that he’s a little jigglier than he acts like he is. He’s making a ton of excuses for it, and playing the, “I could be tighter if I wanted to, but I decided not to,” card.

Now he’s peppering in how it’s all about meeting the weight class for his fights. A perfect Segway to invite her to his next fight. She declined. Despite the fact that he’s “so good at it,” and “wins a lot.”

If this was anymore of a train wreck, TLC would make a reality show out of it.

In an unexpected turn of events, Hostage is asking if she can make money off of his fights. I’m having this epic fantasy where he gets her a ringside seat, and she cheers him on, with hundreds of dollars riding on his victory, and then his ass gets dropped shortly after the opening bell. Like, how does THAT conversation go later?

This Starbucks closes in 15 minutes, and I can’t predict how this will end.

Gahhhh. Just as I wrote that, he asked if she wanted to go. And they promptly left without further discussion.

I guess I’ll never know whether or not they humped or got together. Would that be right? Is that how things SHOULD BE? THIS guy gets the girl, despite who HE is and who SHE COULD BE, if she were to find a companion who supports her and builds her up?

If everything that’s happened this year, thus far, is any indication, then YES. They got together. This guy’s getting laid. She’s abandoning her power as a woman. And they’ll be spawning many more of him in the years to come. And his poor auntie sister will be waiting up for him all night long while it’s all going down.

Meanwhile, I’m working and blogging, and you’re sitting there reading this post. What a cruel world, right?

What a cruel, cruel world.

–  J

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#25 – Lost & Found – 9/30/16

“Door broken, please use other door,” says the sign on the window.  Still, I watch customers approach the coffee shop, try the door anyway, and then seemingly read the text before ultimately trying again.  Each one meets failure, inevitably accepts it, and walks around the corner to the other entrance.  That’s what we do, right?  When we have an objective to conquer, if it means enough to us, we find a way to overcome our obstacles.

Success and failure — is it all within the realm of our control?  Or are we all just pawns of fate, regardless of our thoughts, efforts, and all the hard work we may do in the pursuit of our dreams?

Well, I can tell you, as of now, I am living proof that hard work does pay off.  Many hours of my life over the past year have been spent sitting in a coffee shop, just like this one, in pursuit of my dreams. 

This time last year, I was in Connecticut, losing sleep, on the go almost for the entirety of almost every day.  Whether I was doing homework for online classes, writing and re-writing (and re-re-writing) screenplays for my internship, or writing social media posts and blogs for money, it wasn’t for naught.

Whether designing t-shirts or internet memes, writing essays for scholarships, or even documenting my daily observations in coffee shop blogs like this one, it was all for something I am proud to announce that, after all this time spent in coffee shops over the past year, I have finally succeeded.  Ladies and gentlemen: I am officially a Starbucks Gold Member.

j-gold-member-card

All of my purchases have earned me entry into a rewards program, which means two things.  I’ve spent waaaaay too much fucking money on coffee-related products, and I probably have and addiction I’ll need to address at some point.

As for the success, you may be wondering, “is … is he for real?  Or was all that just the setup for a sarcastic rant to end all sarcastic rants?”  If you’ve read blogs #1-24, you should have known the answer to this question already.

In the past month, I’ve been turned down by several major fellowships, been unable to secure employment in L.A., N.Y.C.,  or … anywhere, really.

The short film I worked very hard to put together fell through.  Too bad, though.  It would have been a fun little project, but apparently it just wasn’t meant to be right now … or any time soon.

In the meantime, I completed a short script with a co-writer after two months of writing and about seven months of re-writing.  Being two verrrryyyy different people with two very different visions and unforgiving schedules made it a very difficult process.  Stifling unrequited feelings didn’t make matters any easier either, and the internal struggle can only have come out as crazy and antagonistic, but regardless, we got through it and the script is finished and ready to take on new life.  I suppose that’s a plus … right?

I’ve been accepted into another film program out of state.  I can’t afford it, of course, but still considering it somehow.  And, all the while, California is calling my name, and my internship is still available for me to continue in Connecticut.  I don’t know what happens next.  My employment needs to change.  As does my scenery.  There are no opportunities here, and even with all of the work I did over the last year, I may be even worse off than I was last year, somehow.  I’m stuck, and can’t function here any longer.

I don’t know where I’ll be a month from now, but one thing is certain: I’m drinking decaf and I hate it.  Seriously, why is decaf a thing?!  Why I’m drinking it in the first place is a long, unrelated story, but if you’re wondering why this blog entry isn’t as ‘fueled’, focused, or coherent as the others, that’s why — it’s because I’m decaffeinated.  Back to fatty, sugary Frappuccinos for me, I suppose.

Decaf:  What the fuck.

See, this — this — is how you can tell it’s a slow night at the S’bucks.  No one is being disruptive, and I’ve had time to organize my thoughts … to a degree.  And in this non-caffeinated state of meditation, this is the decision that I’ve come to:

I’ve never been one of those ‘glass half full’ type of people.  But until I find a golden opportunity (besides this sexy membership card), my glass is completely empty.  I’ll be back when I’ve found something to fill it with.

Take care, Java-philes.

–   J

 

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#24 – Homework Season – 9/9/16

2016-09-09-18-38-14Splendid.

I take a trip to the only nearby coffee shop that I ever manage to get any work done in, and I come to the terrible realization that school is back in session:  It’s homework season.

Not only is Starbucks famous for housing a handful of unsuccessful screenwriters like myself at every location, but from approximately early September until December, it also houses students (mostly female) who clutter their tables with books, an occasional laptop, and some form of snack or protein bar.  They’re in it for the long haul.  Once they nest, they’re there until closing.  And of course, today, they’re hogging the power outlets.  >_<

My best bet to capture one of those tables before my laptop dies (I’m at one of the half-comfy chairs in the waiting area near the register).  Today, there is a young man and woman meeting together in my usual corner.  Their interaction seems very business oriented, and those types of dealings don’t tend last more than an hour (unless it’s for wedding planning — see previous post), and seems to be my only hope.

An interesting observation, besides myself, this particular Starbucks is inhabited by eight females, one with a female baby, the business man in the corner, three female baristas, one tranny barista, and one flaming homosexual barista (this is a typical Starbucks, after all).

Scratch that — the other man just left, taking his companion with him, and allowing me to reclaim my corner as planned.  Success!   And it’s about time I had one of those …

Over the spring and summer, many promising opportunities arose, but none have proven fruitful thus far:

A feature length screenplay I’d written was evaluated by a screenwriting group.  Some members seemed to like it.  One seemed to despise it and every letter on the page.  The only compliment she could muster (under duress from the group’s president, of course) was that the script was consistently offensive on every page.  Okay, granted it was probably not meant as a compliment in any fashion, I took it as one because I knew that my writing had made an impact on somebody’s life.  I should probably work on my calibration a bit, but hey — it was an effect nonetheless …

I applied for two screenwriting fellowships in Los Angeles, one of which I felt very confident about.  Any writer who’s ever submitted anything will tell you, the waiting game can be insufferable.  And if you’re a writer, than you already know.

My internship in Connecticut seems to still be on hold, though I was to return this fall.  I’d  hoped that the project would have been sold by this point so that we’d all be getting paid and celebrating a successful hit by the end of the year but, again, the waiting game.

I had a job interview for a position in Santa Monica.  If hired, I’d be a paid writer in marketing for the film industry, but would it offset the cost of living in California?  Concerns and stuff.

The script I’ve been hammering out with a co-writer for almost a year will be completed by the end of the week.  It has been quite an experience, and over all, I’d say it was a great one.  I can’t speak for both of us, of course, but I’m proud of how much we put into it and how it turned out.  I think we really gave it our best and challenged one another to raise our best to the next level.  I’m kind of sad to see it coming to an end, but we have the film’s production to look forward to, I suppose …

Meanwhile, a short film I have been putting together for two months is suddenly falling apart.  With only a few weeks before shooting, we’ve lost a lead cast member and have failed to secure funding, so it may be time to pull the plug.  So disappointing.  But from the ashes, an unrelated documentary project may have risen for myself and some of our cast and crew I gathered for the short film.  You know what they say: “One door closes, a couple more open, but just a crack … and they may be chained shut from the inside.”

As I reflect on all of this chaos, I seem to be falling behind in the only job that I do have.  I can’t blame anyone else for that.  Not the homework girls, the wedding planners, the pyramid schemers, the loud yuppies, crazy cat ladies, or anyone else — this distraction is all my own.

Damn.  The irony.  Today, I could use a good distraction.

 

 

 

 

#23 – First World Problems – 9/7/16

You know what really under-blends my Frappuccino?  It’s those who contribute very little and expect everything in the world.

Today I sit at a table in the middle of the cafe, uncomfortably, as I wait for another table closer to an outlet to open up.  It’s going to be a long day.

Others are busy at work, too, with laptops open and admirable focus.  And then a pair of preppy Caucasian twenty-somethings enter, speaking unnecessarily loud about the things going on in their lives, to drill that focus into the ground.  I’ve been quiet on this blog for a week or two now — but not because I haven’t been working and consuming unhealthy amounts of caffeine, but because people have been generally well-behaved.

Though I have a million things to be doing right now, this couple has decided to pull focus, so let’s go ahead and let them have it.  The female of their species, with her almost modern day valley girl-type voice, booms loudly about a mutual friend who she’s avoiding because the friend — and his sister — are “inappropriate” when drunk.  I could only wonder if their “friends” were some of my old coworkers …

The Valley Girl pushes her sunglasses atop her head to see her preppy (and clueless) companion in designer jeans.  Preppy listens, seemingly interested, and seems to be looking for opportunities to insert himself further into the conversation (and her life), but sadly he has no game and generally falls flat all the way around.  He complains about having to work four hours a day (because it’s too many, not because it’s too few), and I suspect he will probably mope about it further when he pulls out of the parking lot in a luxury car that he didn’t earn following this visit.

The formerly-focused customers leave, freeing up tables.  I get as far away from them as I can, dependent upon table/outlet availability, and they congregate near the entrance.  And I can still hear them.  Valley girl asks if he’s “healing,” presumably about a relationship.  He says that he is, and proceeds to play the emotional card, ultimately sneaking in a flimsy, “Hey, if you know any single girls … you know …”

Valley Girl stares at him as though he’s morphing into an ugly red carpet dress — which she surely have opinions about — and searches for a response.  I gotta admit, dating at Starbucks is like watching behavior from the animal kingdom.  It’s like, you have stuff to do and want to tune out, but you can’t turn it off because you’re dying to see if the tiger eats the gazelle … or something.

“I have one single friend,” starts the Valley Girl, “but …” she shakes her head and giggles.  Preppy laughs, as though she’s protecting him from her friend, but realistically it’s probably the complete opposite of the fantasy playing out in his head.  See, the thing with Preppy is that, though he’s awkward and a bit creepy, he’s overflowing with confidence.  Cocky, in fact.  He’s the kind of guy that’s probably not used to people telling him no.  Valley Girl is similar to him in that respect, but being the female of the species and holding all the cards, so to speak, she probably doesn’t have to hear it very often as he does … in the circles that they run in, that is.

After an awkward silence that must have lasted an eternity for Preppy (but only seconds to the rest of the world), Preppy burst into academic jargon — clearly the reason they’re here together in the first place.  Shifting gears, they conduct their business as though it’s business as usual.  He comes off as an authoritarian in his observances, going over her work and paying her compliments in a somewhat condescending manor.  I was expecting him to toss her a treat for everything she got right, but it hasn’t happened yet.  Just high fives, thus far …  (Yes, I’m serious.  A compliment, followed by a high-fucking-five.)

Before long, Preppy shifts the subject back to his ex-girlfriend and how it all fell apart.  Then, in a beautiful, perfectly-executed counter move, Valley Girl spins the conversation right back to the work, basically giving him the coldest conversational, “I do not give a fuck” cock-block that I have ever seen in my life.

At this moment, they’re talking about timeshares.  I’ll be turning my music up louder now.  It’s less to try desperately to tune them out and more to drive myself permanently deaf so that I never find myself in this situation again …

#22 – Clown to the left of me, joker with ugly footwear to the right – 8/21/16

8/21/16

Stopping into Starbucks for some fun work — a project, as opposed to the normal “work until you’re finished or until you die” deadline, I assumed I’d be less high-strung and be able to relax a little.   Apparently I was wrong.

I took the middle of three tables in the corner.  I typically take the corner table because there are outlets to the right against the wall (which no one ever seems to realize), and one between it and the middle table, but today it’s occupied.  This is an issue for me because typically, if someone else takes the corner table, they’re oblivious to the hidden wall outlet and hog the one between tables, as is the case today.

Sure I could mention it to the current occupant, but how does one even broach the subject?  Especially coming from one like myself, who never says anything the way it sounds in my head.  I’d think, “Hi!  Would it be okay if you switched to that outlet on the other side, which is even closer for you, to free up this one for myself and others?” but it would instead come out, “Excuse me?   Hi.  Are you selfish, blind, or just plain stupid?”  I know, I know.  I don’t plan to do that.  It just happens.  Especially at Comicon for some reason.  This is why I try to limit social interactions 100% of the time.

So I sat quietly contemplating, watching my computer’s battery drain and drain … and drain, but my attention was pulled away to the table on my left.

To my left sat a quirky thirty-something Asian man who was not a fashionable bloke, but his leg was crossed over the other like a proper lady.  Lacking an outlet, undoubtedly watching his own laptop’s life dwindle through his thick and black-framed glasses, the man clicked a few selections on his laptop, picked up his phone, and dialed.  When his call connected he asked the other party how many rooms they had in their hotel.  He verbally confirmed the number, thanked the receptionist, and hung up.  He repeated this step every 3-5 minutes for a half-hour.

Meanwhile, back on the right, the outlet hog remained.  She had her own laptop, which she barely looked at or touched in the last half hour.  Instead, she fiddled with her phone, (also plugged in), and unflinchingly stared into it.  Even when she glanced at her computer screen, her iphone never left her hand.  She bit a nail, looking on intently.  Whatever she was doing couldn’t possibly be as important as she was making it out to be.  Personally, I imagined it to be quite boring, and I was about to go back to my own business when something peculiar catches my eye …

One glance to the floor revealed to me that the 50-something business casual woman  was wearing the ugliest sandals I had ever seen.  Let me put this into perspective for you: if all of the world’s footwear was suddenly destroyed in some sort of footwear rapture, and all that was left were these … these things on her feet, and Crocs?  You’d see me wear Crocs for the first time ever.  Or I’d just cut my feet off.  I figure I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

But the most disturbing part about this situation is that these sandals must have cost a fortune.  Aside from her beautifully painted toenails that can only be describes as waves in the ocean at a sunny day at the beach (they were really quite remarkable),  the shoe leather was studded and arranged with care, as though by hand.

But despite these finer attributes, a much greater problem arose from this footwear.  The strip that traveled up between her first two toes looked like a row of over-buttered, un-popped popcorn kernels, but when looking at the big picture — her foot and the footwear — it looked like an incurable skin disease.  Part of me wondered how much she paid for such monstrosities.  The other part of me hoped it was a terrible disease, and that she would drain to death before my laptop did …

Meanwhile, the little Asian man stopped making his phone calls.  Whether for business or sick hotel room fetish pleasure, he must have found the answers he sought.

In the meantime, another person came in and sat at the first table — a familiar looking woman.  I may have gone to high school with her.  Or perhaps college.  Maybe we worked together at some point.  Regardless of my connection to this new stranger, she, too, must have been eyeing that corner outlet and waiting for her moment to strike.

The aroma of coffee intensified at that moment.  It was intoxicating, as was the mistrust in the air between us four, the stereotypical “doing work at Starbucks for everyone to see” people.

And then we played the waiting game …

 

Two hours later …

 

My Mac Book died before she did.  It was epic.  I was finishing up some work when it was time for a Skype audition.  The actor had just messaged me to make sure I was ready to receive his call.  I was, but just as I went to respond — FADE OUT.

I went and purchased another mocha — gotta keep the place afloat, ya know? — and when I came back, it was time to take the ultimate introvert plunge.

Me:  “Hi.  Can I plug in?”

Her:  “Sure.”

Me: ” … ”

I fumbled with the cord and plugged in.  Okay, so that wasn’t so bad.  But it was still awkward.  I avoided her little piggies like the plague.  I’ve been trying to sneak a pic for hours, but she darts me a glance every time I angle my phone anywhere near her, as though to say “my feet!” 

Starbucks closes soon.  Bravo to her for snatching up the corner table and hoarding it for hours on end.  That’s my job.  Fuck, I need an office.

Congratulations, Outlet Hog.  You earned this victory.  You won the race by a disgusting foot.  Two, actually.

J = 0, Outlet Hog = 1

 

===============        UPDATE       ===============

 

I snapped a pic without her realizing it.  J ties up the score:

J = 1, Outlet Hot = 1

20160821_223900-1

 

#21 – No Country For Odd Couples – 8/16/16

This is apparently the official Starbucks of wedding planning.  Not sure if it’s the same wedding planner from last time, but I’m going to assume so since two couples consulted with him in my time here (going on 5 hours now).  Yes, I know what I’m doing is obnoxious, too, but I purchase drinks and keep quiet, which is more than I can say for about 90% of the ass holes I encounter in my java-infused adventures, so it’s okay.

The first couple, a pair of young hipsters eternally linked by their ugly glasses, seemed very into each other.  Aside from the obvious (and as hipsters, plenty was obvious), they didn’t seem like a bad unit. If I knew them, I may actually be rooting for them.

The second couple, however, were far too proud of themselves, and their “innovative” wedding ideas, to muster an intelligent response between them the entire time.

Though the rest of us should all feel privileged that they took the time out from hiking and guzzling six packs of PBR to join us at Starbucks, their aura of redneckery prevented any such appreciation.  The proud couple announced to their wedding planner (and everyone in a 15 foot radius) that their dog, who “everyone knows,” would be presenting the ring.  Not nocking the practice.  Just how inventive and original they think they are.  I actually have no doubt that this dog is very popular within their circle of friends because it couldn’t possibly be any less charismatic than these two fuckers.

After discussing the order in which the wedding party would be walking down the aisle, the planner set up his laptop so that they could select the music they’d be entering to.  Turns out they love country music. Is that capitalized?  The word “country,” where genre is concerned?  No.  Not when I write it.  Capitalization is reserved for formalities and other important things.

So the wedding planner began playing samples of “music.” It’s like, “hey, I’m a professional!  Why should I carry headphones and a splitter when I could be sharing this bullshit with the rest of you!”  So he did it. He played sample after sample, much to his clients’ delight, followed by the bride to be giggling and saying, “I can’t decide!  You know better than me — you pick!” after each one.  If only they’d asked my opinion …

It wasn’t just me who had a problem — I saw others look up, as well.  Many had headphones of their own on, as did I at this point, but they couldn’t drown out the twangy vomit any better than I could.  It took all the restraint in the world to not slide my headphones off and yell across the room, “Hey!  Your shitty music is so loud, I can’t even hear the shitty music that Starbucks is playing!”

I thought better of it, turned up the volume on my own laptop, and let the couple (and probably my hearing) fade away in the distance.  I did, however, catch one last comment coming from their table — something about riding a horse.  Whether they were referring to the wedding or honeymoon, I’ll never know, but if you’d seen these two, you’d question it, too.

In the end, one thing is certain: either this wedding planner needs to get his own office, or I do.  Probably both, but even though it’ll take some time, I’m confident that I’ll beat him to it.  I already seem to be better off than him.  I can afford headphones.

#20 – The Visitors – 8/14/2016

August 14th, 2016

I was working, in a groove, and slowly sucking down a White Mocha Frapp, when a man interrupted me. He was lost, trying to get back to his hotel, and his phone wasn’t showing his location. The foreigner in his mid 60’s I’d say, visiting with his wife to explore Colorado, wore a friendly but uncomfortable smile.

I immediately tried to help him. I’ve been out of place pretty much everywhere I’ve ever gone in my life, but haven’t had the pleasure (or pain) of visiting a foreign land, trying to properly form the words of its native tongue, and working up the courage to approach the nearest stranger to request assistance. I’m not looking forward to that day in the slightest, for the record. But, in the meantime, I offered the man my attention and whatever help I could provide.

He showed me his phone, offered the name of his hotel, and pointed out his inability to connect to the WiFi. I glanced at his phone and became immediately intimidated by the strange characters on his phone. As he typed them in English, they instantly converted to a language unfamiliar to me.

The man explained that he and his wife were visitors from Israel, here to explore many of the state’s landmarks and tourist traps, however, after enduring a 24 hour flight from Israel, they were absolutely exhausted. He mentioned that they stopped at the 16th street mall, but were ready to fall down (from exhaustion presumably). My first instinct was to mention that he was lucky that that’s the only way they were falling down — after all the violence and criminal activity on 16th in recent months, they’re lucky to be alive at all! I cleared my throat, and all suggestions rattling around in my mind that would only cause them fear for that matter, and proceeded to investigate his hotel situation.

The hotel he mentioned didn’t match the address given. I searched until I found a small area that contained both, and determined that he would need to explore the area (about an hour’s drive away) to find which hotel was the one he sought. He graciously thanked me, but his wife — who just wasn’t having it today — came in and sat at the table across from mine. She spoke to him — whether in Hebrew or Arabic, or other, I knew not — and with tired eyes and contagious frown, she urged him for an explanation. You could just feel this woman’s pain. On a normal day, she was probably just as upbeat and friendly as her husband was, but today she paid no attention or pleasantries to myself or anyone else. She just wanted to lay down. I didn’t need to be multilingual to understand that.

After a few hits and misses for directions, we formed a game plan. I suggested the man restart his phone to reacquire signal, and post-reboot, it caught his location just as we had hoped.

At that point, they both thanked me and left the shop with much needed confidence to find their way back.

Pretty uneventful story, I suppose. But it distracted me from my work enough to start type-type-typing away because something about it stuck out in my mind. After seeing so many hate groups and ‘Mericans (not to be confused with Americans) on the news and in the papers, it occurred to me that in any other establishment, or rather any establishment with closed-minded people who hide behind misdirected fear, this Israeli couple may have had to deal with people who wouldn’t make the slightest attempt to be helpful. They might do even worse. Throw around phrases like “go home.” “Go back where you came from.” Or even. Fucking. Worse. And that just frustrates the fuck right out of me.

I realize I wasn’t really all that helpful, but I really did try. I’m about an hour behind in work now, but I’d say it was worth it knowing the older Israeli couple dealt with someone sincerely trying to help than the alternative. I hope they get where they’re going and have a good trip. And well-meaning visitors from other lands all around the world just like them. This world kind of sucks. The least we can do is learn to share it and be friends with our neighbors.

 

#19 – Cat Woman – 8/7/16

August 7th, 2016

I was so busy with work, I couldn’t even make time to crack on the lady in the cat t-shirt, resembling a chunky Velma from Scooby-Doo, who sat across the room from me (yes, across the room) and obnoxiously told her two companions about her five cats. … That is, until she spoke the words, “I’m going to be one of those crazy cat ladies someday.  That’s my little joke that I tell people.”

At that point, as she giggled and jiggled, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and blow my cover.  The sight of her companions’ faces as they gave her the, ‘you already ARE, you crazy bitch!’ face was just too much for me to handle — I couldn’t contain it.  That blank stare, dripping with that judging pitiful subtext, quickly turned into a confused vulnerability, as their heads turned towards my cackling.

I struggled to play it off, but it was too late I was already busted.  Embarrassed for them, I slipped my headphones back on and found some random tunes to distract me, but my chuckles ensued.  The awkward trio were up and out within the next five minutes.

I admit it.  I’m an ass hole.  And I’m sure as soon as Velma gets home, her cats are going to hear all about this.  Those poor fur balls are going to get an ear full!  When she calms down and puts them in their little kitty pajamas that they undoubtedly wear every night, I’m sure they’ll all get a good laugh about my antics.  And I deserve that.  I mean, fair is fair, after all … right?

 

#18 – Pinhead – 8/3/16

August 3rd, 2016

I’m all about piercings … but this girl looks like a bulletin board.  One under the eye, she has a Marilyn, a lip ring, ears — and I’m not even talking shit!  I just happened to pass by looking for missing persons posters and job opportunities and was like, “Oh shit! You’re a person!”

#17 – Starfuckers – 7/24/16

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July 24th, 2016

Starbucks.  There’s a guy who looks like a young Trent Reznor, quiet, keeps to himself, sitting in the middle comfy chair in a set of three — the other two vacant.

Soon, some other guy enters, talking to himself, throws his bag on one vacant chair, and then plops down on the other.  Homeless, I would suspect, as he entered with two large McDonald’s cups, a bag of coffee beans that are not adorned with the Starbucks brand, he didn’t order anything — and did I mention he’s talking to himself?

Though the man is very tan and looks a bit disheveled, his clothes, shoes, and backpack are in even better shape than mine.  He’s pulled out some pink earbuds (that don’t go with his cardinal shorts or black and sky blue shoes) and begins sipping one of his drinks.

Whether or not this poorly groomed man is homeless, I cannot say. But he wears the face and accessories of meth, of that there is no doubt.

The man’s personal chatter has subsided, and his external monologue has converted to internal.  He gives angry, suspicious glares around the room, especially to me, though he’d probably accuse of staring even if I wasn’t.

All the while, the young metal head seated betwixt the tweeker’s person and his belongings remains oblivious.

McMeth head begins tapping his foot to the beat of whatever he’s listening to.  His eyes drop and he mouths lyrics, less like he’s enjoying them, more like he’s composing them …

He sure is itchy.

About a half hour later, after distracting myself from distracting myself from work (meaning I actually started working), I’d been wondering if I’ve misjudged the man.  Maybe he’s just down on his luck.  Nothing drug-related at all.  And then another man, looking just as rough as the first, enters, takes the backpack from the chair, and moves to a table on the other side of the entrance.
The second man pulls out several electronics and plugs them in.  The men exchange one or two words on the other side of the room, and then split up.

Young Trent Reznor is in his own little world.

The first strange man left and went to — well, who knows — and was gone for about a half hour.  And wouldn’t you know it?  The second one talks to himself, too!

Young Trent got up and packed up eventually.  He glanced around at how the world had changed since he disappeared in whatever was going on on his computer screen, looked a tad surprised, but unaffected.  I’m actually more curious about what drug HE was on.  Aderroll, perhaps?

Anyway, whatever the McTweekers were waiting on in all the time they weren’t conversing and ordering anything, it didn’t appear by the time I called it a night — which was about a half hour before closing.

The first man had disappeared elsewhere in the store.  He’d been gone for a while.  Just as I premeditated an attack plan, should these two follow me to my car with ill intentions, I packed up and headed for the mens room to relieve myself for a long drive.  Wouldn’t you know it — the door was locked.  Creeper #1 was likely hogging it for a half hour to get his fix.  You win this round, tweekers …