Tuesday, October 28, 2003
Good waga, where even to begin? This promises to be a long entry, so strap yourself in and get some comfortable screen-reading glasses or summat...
I must admit one thing for the end of Daylight Savings Time-- I'm waking up earlier lately. I'm beating my alarm clock up... which sounds like I'm doing the Katchoo thing, but really it's just that I get up before it goes... ahh, never mind.
So I had plenty of time to prepare for work today. Picked out some different CDs for a change of musical pace, checked the weather report, saw only a 10% chance of rain, decided to bike to work.
One thing I've learned about shortcuts over the years-- the first time you try one, give yourself plenty of extra time in case it doesn't work out. Shortcuts are not to be tested in actual times of hurry! So I got a good head start and tried S Street. S Street has too many traffic signals, but may be the best route to work. I will have to experiment further.
Only my second time riding in traffic, so I arrived at work exhilirated and adrenalized as well as half-an-hour early, only to find The Girl sitting in a booth by the counter. So I made myself a soy iced mocha and invited myself to a seat across from her. We ended up talking about... well, it was one of those random small-talk conversations wherein one discovers previously unplumbed depths in entirely quotidian subjects. This time it was about clothing, and the gap between northern transplants and southern transplants (she's from South Carolina) in sartorial preparedness for District winters.
This thing, it seems ready to be happening, but I just don't quite know how to push it over... standing friction, power spike, something like that...
But then I had to start work, which initially meant working around the manager while she stocked and rotated the beer. Monday was fun, because we got to sample various seasonal beer types. Tuesday the new beer we decided on arrives and we have to put it away. I also spent 10-15 minutes redrawing the drink specials on the chalkboard/sign we put outside during the hours we serve alcohol. I had to do this because it had been forgotten outside during the previous rainfall...
Overall a steady night. Not insanely busy, but enough business to keep us from getting bored (Monday night, on the other hand, I'd been able to finish three chapters of "White Noise" during the lulls). Much wine was sold, many tips amassed. Ridiculous tips amassed. To skip ahead a bit, I tied my all time record for tips in one night!
Anyway, later on -- after The Girl had left -- Red showed up. Red is the other really cute customer I try to flirt with, though she comes in less frequently and really seems less my type. Very pretty, though, with red (shock!) hair and a fleeting hint of a Nordic accent.
At this point I noticed that it was raining outside. So I ran out and grabbed the chalkboard/sign. Too late-- one side had been entirely erased.
But things were pretty good up to about an hour before closing time. One owner's girlfriend showed up with an old friend in town from SF and spent some time catching up. Another of the owners showed up with a bottle of "Two Buck Chuck" for us to taste...
Then the annoying guy arrived. Or rather he'd gotten tired of harrassing my coworker and moved on to me. I'm cleaning one of the display cases, sliding the door open. He comes over and says hi, and, distracted, I close my finger in the door. I yelp in pain, he is very apologetic. I accept his apology, thinking he is an actual customer actually interested in buying something.
He just wants change.
I tell him we don't make change without a purchase, so he buys two bananas. Then he starts talking about how he plans to give them to some people who look like they need them... says he needs to thank our manager ("That Spanish woman who works here" he calls her-- not even Hispanic, which would have been bad enough! I correct him that she's Brazilian) because some food she donated went to his mission.
Then he asks me if I've ever been involved in politics. I mention some of my previous antiwar/antisanctions organizing, so far in the past now that I've gotten jaded and lazy...
He asks if I've ever been involved in any Pro-Life activism. This is such a cognitive dissonance that my brain actually substitutes Pro-Choice for his absurdity. I tell him no, but that a friend of mine is organizing a local delegation to the upcoming Reproductive Rights march.
Then things start to get kind of creepy, him asking if I've ever been involved with Operation Rescue, giving me a web address for his group-- Gay Pro-Life or somesuch. It sinks in ever-so-slowly that this guy is the fucking enemy... that he seems to think abortion is a gay issue: "Gay couples can't have children, so the only thing we can do is adopt, and abortion means there are fewer children to adopt..."
So women should give up control of their bodies so that petit-bourgeois gay couples can have a bigger pool of children from which to select!?
He keeps talking homosexual this and homosexual that and I start to think that maybe he has me tagged as gay... nothing insulting in that, nothing that hasn't happened to me before... but finally he comes out and asks: "So, are you gay yourself? Or are you straight?"
Through this whole conversation I've been trying to clean up, giving one word answers, just the barest necessary responses to his endless yammering not to be rude.
"I'm a lesbian," I deadpan, and go back to wiping down another display case.
"Ahh, so you're straight." I don't argue the point, despite the consensus of many people I know that I actually am a lesbian... as amusing a sidetrack as it would have been, I was too busy to put any effort into it.
Then he starts talking how he used to be, before his "dramatic turnaround," a member of Fred Phelps' merry troupe. If I had needed any more confirmation that the man was a straight-up fucking moron I just received it.
"I don't know if you've heard of him..."
"Oh yeah, he's that evil human pile of shit who's been trying to put up that monument... I heard he even beat his wife and children."
"You'd be surprised just how many homosexuals there actually are in that group," he tells me.
"Actually it makes sense... when people try so hard to deny a part of themselves they'll be extra venomous in denouncing it--"
At this point, as if it were some kind of natural progression, he put his elbows together and showed me the inside of his wrists. I assumed he was showing me scars from a suicide attempt -- evidence of his previous self-loathing -- but I didn't actually see anything there. I reacted as if I had, just for show, then went back to cleaning.
Then he starts trying to tell me about drug abuse among the gay community... I duck out in mid-harangue to grab some needed foodstuffs from the backroom, telling a dishwashing coworker on the trek "This asshole up front really needs to shut the fuck up with his pro-life bullshit and let me clean, because he's getting on my fucking nerves!"
But no... how he almost went into the priesthood, how he wanted to meet my friend who was organizing the group "because I think I can really help them, by telling about this time I did volunteer work at a clinic where they did the D and E's... these women would come in, and almost all of them had been abandoned by their boyfriends, that's why they decided to get this done..." How he used to be with Operation Rescue and put some kind of noxious chemical in a clinic: "I feel like I have to rebuild bridges because of that, to make some kind of atonement to the Pro-Choice community..." "...but with pharmeceuticals, proper birth control, abortions shouldn't be necessary..." (as if I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between "they shouldn't be necessary" and "they should be illegal"), trying to get some kind of response from me by telling me he was beaten during a pro-life march (I could barely prevent myself from feeling some kind of satisfaction from this) or by saying he "was gay-bashed last week," to which I could barely muster, "Oh, that's too bad."
(What about the lesbian girl who was beaten and gangraped a block from here? What if she's pregnant? Should she be forced to have the baby so that you can have the option of adopting it?)
And finally he asked where our payphone was. I told him we didn't have one, so he left to find one. But he left behind his bananas and his keys and a promise that struck me as a threat that he'd be back.
Luckily we closed before then.
So I just handed him his stuff through a half-open door when he finally reappeared. I hope never to see him again.
See, told you it would be long!
Then I got to ride home through the rain, which by that time had slowed to a drizzle. I'd never biked in the rain before.
And despite the unpleasantness at the end, I still consider it a good night. Pretty girls and hand-over-fist tips will make up for a multitude of sins...
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