Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Friends with Freaks, Part 1
On Saturday afternoon, we were having dinner on the deck when Larry's cell phone rang.
(paraphrased phone call)"Hello John, how are you?...really?...okay then...what time? Okay, sounds good. Bye."
John from Long Island was in town and wanted to stop by our apartment, then go out for drinks with us.
Unfortunately, John would not be arriving alone. With him would be a friend we'd met once before at a bar.
Based on the description Larry gave me, I remembered exactly who it was.
(cue flashback waves)
It was a freaky encounter: he had baked, orange skin, a deeply wrinkled forehead from temple to temple, a creepy, intense stare, lots of gold jewelry, and wore polyester from head to toe. He was a walking stereotype: think "dried-up guido" from Long Guyland and you'll get the idea. I avoided eye contact with him all night long.
As we were getting the apartment ready, John called again, this time to let Larry know that Ol' Raisin Face was bringing his friend - whom we've never met.
Great, I thought. Could this get any worse? Of course it could. Far worse.
Click Read More to continue.
The buzzer rang and Larry let them in, telling John to bring them to the second floor and that we'd meet them there since we were on the third floor.
Like a well-choreographed Seinfeld episode, it all went to shit at once. We exited the stairwell on the second floor and saw our two attractive neighbors headed for the elevator. I panicked. I wanted to tell them, "Guys, I think the elevator is broken - you should take the stairs," as we headed for the apartment.
I looked back as the elevator dinged. In an instant, two vastly different worlds collided.
The elevator doors clunked open, and out stepped John, Raisin Face and a little old man with black framed glasses.
I cringed as our sexy neighbors awkwardly maneuvered around them to get on the elevator.
As our "guests" stumbled down the hall towards us, Raisin Face stammered excitedly "Who da neighbas? Who da neighbas?" I knew the neighbors could hear this because the elevator doors hadn't even closed yet. I wanted to kill him right then and there.
No one you will ever meet, that's who they are.
I've never been one to care what the neighbors might think, but in this case, I couldn't help be embarrassed. I dreaded their conversation in the elevator going down:
Jesus. Did you see those freaks?
How could you not?
I can't believe Chris and Larry have friends like that.
Yeah, what a shame. It's too bad they're friends with freaks. I guess we can't talk to them anymore.
I feel violated. I think we should report them to the coop board.
After I slammed the front door, I was introduced to Raisin Face and Grandpa, who is tiny and frail, dressed from head to toe in black. I watched everyone head for the deck, hoping that no one would trip over the random tools and scattered building supplies just waiting to be put to use via building permit.
And then I noticed how Raisin Face's friend walks. He takes tiny little baby steps, like that of an old man who is losing his balance.
Larry turned on the deck light and invited everyone to have a seat at the table. I followed him back into the kitchen to help with drinks. "Here," he sighed, handing me some glasses. "Take these outside." I headed back for the deck, turning up the lights a bit so no Grandpa wouldn't trip on the decking and fall into our new grill. Larry came out and turned the lights back down, probably in an effort to hide our guests from our neighbors.
Crass and rude, Raisin Face and Grandpa talk over everyone, constantly interrupting conversations.
At one point Larry had had enough. "Can I finish?" he snapped. I prayed for rain to drive us inside and away from the eyes of our neighbors.
"Where's da battroom?" asked Raisin Face.
"I'll show you," I said, walking him all the way to the bathroom and turning on the light for him.
Of course, as soon as I returned to the deck, Grandpa needed "to go."
"I'll show you," I said to him, not wanting the old fart to be stumbling around our apartment unattended.
"No, I know where it is," he said. "It's okay."
I decided not to push the issue, instead reminding him to make a right at the front door. I watched him shuffle off and cringed as he made the two steps down into the apartment.
Please don't fall, please don't fall...
As Larry and John continued their conversation, I began to worry. I don't like knowing that someone is probably snooping around my medicine cabinet right now. I don't like anyone in my apartment when I'm not there.
So, I went into the apartment and pretended to look for a candle. And that's where I bumped into Raisin Face in the hallway.
Quiz: What's worse? Finding out what someone thinks of you from a third party? Or directly from them?
"Oh, hi!" said Raisin Face.
"Everything good?" I asked. I was wondering if the old man had maybe gotten trapped in the toilet bowl as he shuffled around the corner.
"Oh, you're so nice. I feel so bad," he said, smiling at me.
Raisin Face continued, "That night I told my friend, 'Oooh, he doesn't seem very nice'." (and he scrunched up his face, in disgust) "But you're so nice."
Just what do you say to the World's Biggest Back Handed Compliment? Do you lie and pretend you didn't hear it? Or do you say the truth, which might be, "Well, actually, I was embarrassed for you wrinkled freaks to be seen within 8 feet of me."
But as it was, I didn't have the luxury of blunt-force honesty, so I sugar coated my response. I used about five pounds of sugar.
"Well, I'm shy around people I don't know." This is true. This was in addition to being embarrassed for those two wrinkled freaks to be seen within 8 feet of me.
Anyone else might have recognized the fact that they'd just put their foot in their mouth so far that it was knotted around their lower intestines, but no. Raisin Face continued to bury himself.
"Oh, I feel so bad. I told my friend, 'Ooh, I don't like him. He's kind of creepy'."
Creepy? Me? I've been called many names over the years, but never creepy. This from a man who resembles a gay satirical version of Joe Pesci.
Maybe he caught my disapproving stare and mistook it. He should be used to people giving him dirty looks.
Maybe next time I meet a freak for the first time, I should just bust out laughing in their face, so that they know, right off the bat, that I don't care for them.
Back on the deck, I now had to mask my hatred for this troll by engaging in conversation with him and his Great Great Grandfather.
The worst part was, as bad as this night was, it had only just begun.
To be continued...