Monday, January 28, 2008

Material World

I don't know, you'd think I'd never leave the house after my last outdoor excursion, but as it turns out, I seem to be living in a material world. And when I say that, I mean writing material. So grab a cup of coffee and click Read More to continue.

11:45 - Wait on line at Starbucks in Penn Station with ten minutes to spare before train to Long Beach pulls out. Watch about 7-8 slow moving "customer service" drones yap endlessly with each other while the only two customers in the store seethe with hatred. Urge to yell, "This is not a fucking hair salon," successfully quelled.

11:47 - Attempt to walk down train platform while tall, overweight geek with enormous backpack and highwaters successfully manages to block us from passing him. Geek declared "Fucking asshole" by Larry.

12:59 - Go to Waldbaums to pick up rotisserie chicken for lunch with Larry's mom. Stand on first self-check out line while Larry waits on other to hedge our bets.

1:05 - Watch as the two women with only three items on my line bicker with each other. Motion for Larry to come to my line, anticipating a quick exit. Overhear, "Oh, where the hell is my Waldbaums card?" which activates eye-roll reflex. Watch same woman begin inserting single dollar bills into money slot while friend struggles to pack the groceries.

1:06 - Tell Larry to stay on his line, but then notice as the oblivious old man on that line begins methodically bagging his enormous pile of groceries one item at a time. Stalemate declared. Urge Larry to come back to my line.

1:08 - Leave store, glancing back at self-checkout area and wonder, "Is this supposed to be faster?"

1:15 - Have lunch with Larry's mom, brother and his girlfriend Lisa. Play with fucking adorable kittens, which are being foster-cared for by Larry's mom until they are big enough for adoption. Consider making a bid for all four kittens as they race around the house, jumping over each other and skidding across the wooden floor.

5:00 - Return to Walbaums to do grocery shopping for New York apartment.

5:10 - Witness bitter cashier with ugly braids move at snail's pace and slam can of tuna onto barcode scanner glass like a bear trying to open a can of salmon. Resist urge to laugh, grab it out of her hand, hit her on the head with it and scan it myself.

5:11 - Become confused as to why it is 2008 and dumb, bear-like cashier can not just manually enter that fucking unscannable UPC code into her register via keypad. Confusion amplified by brief flashback to working as cashier at Payless in 1993 and having to manually type in bar codes all day long due to lack of scanner technology.

11:49 - Take N train to Astoria. Find seat and take out iPod. Watch scummy homeless man pass through car and eyeball my iPod. Stare back in way that says, "I'm watching you - and I'm ready for a fight."

Watch same scumbag stop at end of car and peek out of the corner of his eye at woman dozing off in corner seat - with her handbag on her lap. Anger amplified. Put iPod in pocket in order to leave both hands free for impeding "Death to Muggers" battle royale. Eyeball scumbag as he heads back to center of car and leans against doors. Stare him down, this time, as if to say, "I'm still watching you, fucker." Watch him walk back towards dozing woman and continue on to next car, knowing he's being watched. Consider waking up woman to inform her of what almost happened to her purse.

Watch scumbag exit at 57th street. Worry for tourists about to be mercilessly pickpocketed and mugged on the way to Carnagie Deli. Regret not taking cellphone picture of future perp.

1:40 - Go to Keyfood for my mother. Sideswipe inconsiderate bitch who has left her shopping cart in the center of the aisle. Nearly broadside stroller while exiting cereal aisle. Watch woman drop a box on the floor, peek at it, then walk away. Consider ramming cart into her.

1:50 - Overhear customer mumbling, "Can't I find anything in this store?" Turn head and immediately recognize woman as Crazy Old Marc Anthony Fan (COMAF) from days riding the N train into Manhattan. Enjoy flashbacks of her bitching and moaning to herself on the N train every morning, while wearing heavy makeup and homemade Marc Anthony glitter cap.

1:52 - While trying to zoom through narrow opening, underestimate width of shopping cart and accidentally slam into girl stocking ice cream freezer. Apoligize to stock girl, but note that she does nothing, except to stare back with her headphones on, as if to say, "I'm going to kick your ass."

1:55 - Come face to face with little old lady and shopping cart in narrow aisle, who waves me through while saying, "I have all day." Consider hugging cute little old lady just by virtue of the fact that she has a sense of humor at her age.

2:10 - Finish shopping, head for register #8.

2:11 - Pile groceries onto conveyor belt, noting that there are no customers on that line. Be told by cashier, "I'm sorry. She just went to get money." Sigh outloud before responding with, "Well, that's why you keep a baseball bat under the counter." Listen to both cashier and skinny bag boy with stupid shag haircut gasp in horror. Apologize and blame outburst on earlier fight with sister. Agree to wait "a few minutes" for customer to come back.

2:13 - Glance over at in-store ATM and notice lack of customers extracting money. Ask cashier, "Did she say she was going to the ATM over there, or Commerce bank?" Try to contain rage at being told, "I think she went to Commerce down the block."

2:14 - Remove all groceries from belt while wondering why the fuck the cashier won't just void the transaction and take me instead. Look for alternate cashier and remark, "I hope they all have money on that line." Wonder why the sudden bad cashier karma.

2:15 - Approach register #10 at urging of cashier #8. Witness waiting customer slap her forearm at the end of the counter as if to say, "You are not going to steal my cold cuts." Consider saying, "Please, bitch. I don't want your fucking cold cuts." Recognize customer and smile wide. Realize that bad register karma is actually some kind of reward as I will now be able to witness a customer service transaction featuring "Crazy Old Marc Anthony Fan."

2:17 - With items scanned, witness Crazy Old Marc Anthony Fan complain over not being able to find a dime in her purse. Watch her slap quarters and nickels onto stainless steel counter in disgust while saying, "Oh, my God. Do you believe I'm always like this?" directly to the cashier. Fight urge to say, "I can imagine what you're like at home." Make eye contact with cashier and smile. Wish for powers of telepathy so as to relay the fact that COMAF is just plain nuts.

2:19 - Groceries begin scanning. Try to figure out what kind of mental disability skinny bag boy with stupid shag haircut has that would provoke him to throw a random chocolate bar into my bag as the cashier is bagging for me. Stay silent as cashier rips him a new one and throws the bar back at him.

2:20 - Note that COMAF has not yet left, but is attempting to gather herself before heading out into cold - and heavily involved in a dramatic bickering session with her other personalities. "Oh, my God. Five hours to find my gloves! I don't believe this crap. Oh my God! Jesus Christ." Turn back to COMAF, make eye contact with cashier while mouthing the words, "crazy woman." Cashier nods, tells me that she has encountered many a crackpot customer, including one woman who is so difficult to deal with that she refuses to help her, instead telling her that her line is closed. Suggest cashier with many stories starts a blog.

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