One giant can of Red Bull, Spearmint Gum, and a pack of Marlboro Lights
Current Music Selection: Snow Patrol?Breaking Benjamin?Ryan Star
Current State: Slightly drunk
Current Mood: Optimistic
So on the way to work, I stop off at Max?s Smoke Shop to buy a giant can of Red Bull, Spearmint gum, and a pack of Marlboro Lights. This is something I?ve been doing every day for the four months I?ve worked in Palo Alto. I say hi to Max, light up a cigarette and shoot the shit with probably the coolest ?old guy? I?ve ever met. We talk about football and the chance of the 49?ers making the play-offs. I ask about his wife, he asks about my flavor of the week, we converse in friendly tones.
Being slightly OCD, I really, really, really, like my routine. If something happens to alter this routine, I become?well lets say it how it really is shall we?an asshole. I?m sure you guessed it; this routine was altered today when I returned to work after having off for New Years.
It?s another post, if I ever get the nerve to write about New Years, but I walked into Max?s Smoke Shop, a smile on my face, and a happy New Year greeting on the tip of my tongue for my favorite ?old guy?. But that damn greeting died on my lips when I saw the nightmare standing behind the counter. Have you ever seen that show on BBC, called Are You Being Served? If so, do you remember that old chick that always changed the color of her hair? This is exactly what the DUDE behind the counter looked like. Even down to the cheesy old skirt and stained white blouse. It was frightening.
I know I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, probably one of the largest gay communities in the world, and I know it takes all kinds. If you have any doubts, take a walk in the Castro and you?ll see what I mean. But digressing again and I?m trying to stop this practice.
Upon seeing this?thing behind the counter, I pause at the front door. I look around, making sure I walked into the right store. I?ve been known after a long three days of partying to wander into stores aimlessly. But I had walked into the right place. I swear I stood at the front door for a good minute. I get used to certain things and I wasn?t sure if I wanted to buy my giant can of Red Bull from this sitcom reject.
While I stood in the doorway, I noticed this old lady with probably the ugliest dog I?ve ever seen. I immediately shudder; this lady was somehow odder looking than the ?thing? behind the counter. She was wearing this long black wig, it was dirty and ratted like she had never bothered to run a comb through it. But the thing that made my head turn to one side, much like a dog, was every few moments she would raise a wrinkled hand to her wig. Like she was making sure it was still atop her ?probably? bald head. And each time she checked her wig, she would move it slightly. So by the time I saw her inside Max?s Smoke Shop, it was beyond crooked. I think a slight breeze would send it careening to the floor, which would be cleaner than the mess resting on her head. But digressing yet again. She was wearing these shoes, I can?t even describe them. But I bet they were old during the fifties. I think at one time they were black, but now they looked more like?mud. Her skirt, bright red with yellow fringe, looked like it was two sizes too small and unfortunately left nothing to the imagination. I couldn?t see what shirt she chose to accompany this ensemble, because she was hiding it under a three-quarter length fur coat. Which I might add, was suffering from the same affliction as her head hair.
I think its time to let you know that I?m not an animal lover. I?ve never understood the need for a pet. But hey, it takes all kinds, right? Whatever, but I do believe that since I can?t smoke inside public places, then I don?t think a flea infested dog should be allowed inside public places. Digress, no thanks, trying to quit.
I reach into my pocket and pull out my trusty silver cigarette case. I check to see if I have enough to make it through the night. I shake my head, three cigarettes won?t cut it. So I make the decision to go the rest of the way inside and quickly grab my giant can of Red Bull, my Spearmint gum, and a pack of Marlboro Lights. After all, Susan said I should be more open to change. Stupid therapist, change sucks.
So I walk quickly by the ?thing? behind the counter. I hug the gum shelf to get as far away from the smelly dog, and its ugly companion. I breathe deeply as I reach the cooler that is normally filled to the brim with giant cans of Red Bull.
Again for a moment, I stand there, staring in disbelief at the empty cooler. I decide that Max must?ve changed the coolers around again without giving me the week?s notice we had agreed upon. You would think the ?old guy? would?ve learned his lesson the last time he moved the coolers around. Why would you put the Red Bull cooler all the way in the back? It was right next to the gum shelves, it was perfect. I?d walk into the store, I grab the gum, grab the giant Red Bull, turn, and walk to the counter where I would pay for everything.
So I walk down the row of coolers, peering into each one carefully. Maybe the ?old guy? had finally taken my advice and moved them back to the front of the store. But once I reached the gum shelf, I had not seen any Red Bull. So I walk back down the row of coolers, peering carefully again. After doing this two more times, I look at the front of the store. The ?thing? behind the counter was now leaning over the counter petting the ugly dog while the weird old lady looked on with the biggest smile I had ever seen on a human. Crocodiles had nothing on this lady, except maybe a few more teeth, but that was it.
Again I shudder; dogs shouldn?t be allowed inside public places. But I choke back that retort and instead ask where Max moved the Red Bulls. This is when the ?thing? behind the counter, looks over at me and replies, I swear this is his exacts words, ?That?s right, Max left a note telling me to make sure I fill up the Red Bulls.. Sorry, I forgot.?
So I walk towards the front, I ask, ?How can you forget? He left you a note and everything.?
?Sorry, why don?t you try a Rock Star instead?? This is what he says, now fully focused on the dog.
Seeing that he has gone to that place when adults see either children or animals, I give up. I can do this, change is good, remember. So I grab my Spearmint gum and walk to the counter. I notice, because I?m somewhat intelligent, that the weird lady is neither waiting to purchase anything nor has she purchased anything. As far as I can tell, she wandered in just so the ?thing? behind the counter could pet her ugly dog.
I wait, longer than a minute, I know I looked at my watch, and this ?thing? behind the counter is going on and on about this dog. Talking to it like it?s a human, like he expects the ugly dog to answer his stupid questions. And when he asked the ugly dog if it got everything it wanted for Christmas, I finally lost it.
I ask for a pack of Marlboro Lights and threw my pack of gum on the counter, still standing a good six feet away from weird lady and ugly dog. The moment I spoke, that damn dog turned and looked at me and before I could do anything, it had covered the distance and jumped up on my freshly pressed pants.
I pushed the dog, cringing at touching such a dirty animal, and looked at the lady and say, very plainly, ?Please control your dog.?
You would?ve thought I punched the dog, which was my first instinct but after four months talking to Susan, I had ignored this reaction. She called out for the dog and the ?thing? behind the counter gave me a funny look. So I repeat what I wanted. The ?thing? rolls his eyes and grabs a pack of Marlboro Lights.
While I?m paying for my purchase, minus one giant can of Red Bull, that damn dog jumps up on me again. This is when all of Susan?s advice went out the window. I shoved the dog down, and looked at the lady saying, ?What don?t you control your flea ridden dog for fucks sake?? Granted, not very diplomatic, but after seeing what I did the first time, she should?ve expected something along those lines.
The ?thing? behind the counter looked at me and said, ?Calm down, he?s just happy to see you.?
So I say, ?I believe Palo Alto has a very strict leash law, shouldn?t that thing be leashed up out front or better yet inside the car??
The conversation pretty much went down hill from there. The lady went off on me, telling me where I could stick my leash law and the ?thing? behind the counter told me to get out.
I was mad, but I knew in the back of my mind I needed that pack of Marlboro Lights, so I told him I wanted the cigarettes. He refused, so I threatened to call animal control and say that the dog attacked me and that it wasn?t on a leash, and I was inside a store.
I admit I might have been just a bit irrational at this point. But change really isn?t good and sometimes I just can?t help my anti-social behavior. I really do try but I don?t have a lot of patience, or good judgment at times in crisis. Besides, I brought two people closer together today. I?m sure, long after I left with my cigarettes, they bitched about the asshole who doesn?t like dogs. So in a way, I did a good deed today.
I wonder what Susan?s take on this will be next week. She probably won?t like it on one hand but on the other, she realize just how much money she?ll make trying to help me adapt to change. Wow, that?s two good deeds I did today. One more and I?ll make Eagle Scout. But I digress again.