Thursday, September 4, 2008

Labor Day Weekend Update 2: Karma and Cadillacs

I am on my way to visit my parents in Astoria. I have brought my camera with me, in case I see anything interesting.

As I get to sixth avenue, I look for one of the fake homeless kids who sit out by Outback Steakhouse with their fake signs about needing 18 dollars for a sleeping bag, but they're not there.

I continue to walk, and BAM! There he is. I get excited because I have my camera with me.

Click Read More to continue.

Unfortunately, because my Nikon camera is so big, I need to do the following:

1. Crouch down on the ground
2. Open up my backpack
3. Pull out the camera case
4. Pull the camera out of the case
5. Put the camera around my neck
6. Put the case back in the backpack
7. Zip up my backpack

I'm pretty sure I look stupid doing all this, because I feel stupid doing all this.

It is an awkward ballet of nylon straps, driven by the excitement of the moment. I am sure that I would make a lousy paparazzi, always missing the shot because it just takes way too long to get my camera ready.

I turn the camera on and walk towards my target - the phony homeless kid. He is sitting the way he always does, head down between his legs, arms wrapped around his bent knees.

I decide that I need to push my sunglasses up on top of my head so I can see the little LCD screen in the bright sunlight.

I take my shots and decide to go. I pull the camera strap over my head, and forget about my sunglasses, which fall to the ground.

I'm pretty sure that a mother dropping her baby would be less hysterical than I was.

The timing of this accident screams, "KARMA, asshole!" But then I think, No, I've done far worse than this.

I pick the precious Ray Ban RB 4075s (lovingly made in Italy, just for me) off the sidewalk and check for damage. The lenses are fine, but there are some fine dents on the frame (fucking sidewalk). You have to get up close to notice them, but I see them.

I'm now depressed. These were the only things in my life that I could describe as "flawless." My sneakers are beat up, my clothes don't fit right, my iPod is full of scratches, but my Ray Bans had been perfect since I bought them at Gatwick airport last summer on the way home.

I put the glasses in my bag (I'm no longer worthy to wear them) and walk to the subway, where I see two missing floor tiles on the platform, a surefire tripping hazard and future multi-million dollar lawsuit.

I see the missing tiles as photo-worthy, so I pull out my camera, slowly, lest that too fall to the ground.

On the train, there is a beggar standing at the end of the car. The old white man slowly makes his way through the mostly empty car, stopping to individually beg in front of each person with his paper cup.

He gets nothing from me.

A few minutes later, a second beggar passes through the car - and does the same thing - standing in front of people, rather than slowly walk through without stopping. Something tells me these two are part of some kind of Faux Beggar University, which tutors the phony homeless on how to beg.

"In this economy, you'll have to ratchet it up, so be more confrontational. Get right in their faces."

Finally, the train stops at Ditmars Boulevard and I get off. I meet my father at the house and we leave for Best Yet.

On the way to the car, he describes the new yacht boat my sister just bought. I know that it seats five, it's long, and is "byoutifo," according to him.

As we approach the 1979 Cadillac, I stand on the driver's side and wait for him to get in.

"Looks like you got a boat, too!" I say, smacking the roof of the car.

He puts the car in drive, but the car doesn't move. "You have to turn the motor on first," I tell him, as I stare out the window.

After parking the car, I grab a shopping cart and make a beeline for the entrance, cutting off a slow-moving woman with bleached out hair and shorts that should be pants.

I am hungover today, but, rather than a constant headache, I'm just slow. I stare at the shopping list and wonder: What are these things? How will I find them?

The guy manning the deli counter today is really handsome. I am glad to have to wait here today - until my father says, "Go" and waves me off, meaning that he will wait for the cold cuts while I continue. If I insist on staying, it might be a tad obvious, so I leave.

In the dairy aisle, I look for eggs. The prices are so much cheaper here in Queens that I will gladly carry them all the way back to Manhattan in my backpack.

I open a carton to check for broken eggs. The first carton has two broken eggs, so I put it back. The second carton also has broken eggs, and leaks all over my hand.

I sigh and reach for a third. Then my father says, "Here!" and grabs a box off the upper shelf. None are broken, which makes me think, "How did he know they were not broken?"

Finally, we are done. I head for the first available cashier, a boy named Joe.

As I start piling groceries on the conveyor belt, I see the mistake.

Joe is SLOW. The woman ahead of us is buying mostly produce, which requires every item to be weighed and priced. Weighed and priced. Codes for carrots, codes for apples, codes for lemons, codes for machetes...

As slow as Joe is, he is faster than the new kid next to him, who requires constant help from Joe.

I run around to the other side so that I can start bagging immediately. Seriously, enough of this shit.

Because the secondary belt is broken, Joe pushes the groceries down towards the bagging area. Before you can say dumbass, Joe's little pileup causes a jar of stuffed olives to fall over the edge and land on a stainless steel shelf. He quickly picks it up and examines it, looking at me and saying, "It didn't break."

"No, you'd have heard that," I tell the simpleton.

Here is a screen shot from the surveillance camera. (Note: Joe is brown because he is a shit-head. All shit-heads are automatically colored brown.)

In the car, my father turns on the air conditioning, which has all the air pressure of a leaking balloon.

Because the driver's side window is still broken, I go for the sunroof. It is also broken. At least it died in the closed position.


Hamamama said...

your graphics are hilarious!! you are on a roll this week.

Michael Guy said...

I agree! LOVE the graphic! Maybe a stint on COURT TV is in your future!

First time commentor; lurve your writing style... said...

The Joe Shithead illustration is priceless, and I love the attention to detail; esp. the laser scanner.

Chris said...

Lori - I miss you. Can't wait for you to come back to work.

Michael - Thank you!

Niko - These illustrations are starting to become addictive. Just wait until tomorrow.

Margaret said...

I love how you write, Chris. And your "surveillance camera" shots are so funny and wonderful!