Wow, I have been slacking with the lunch break tales! I still go outside for a walk everyday, in spite of the gross winter weather, but I have to speed-walk to stay warm and that makes me less observant to all the oddities transpiring around me.
However, human interaction happened 7 TIMES in the last week that have pulled me out of my winter bubble and I declared a revival of thee ol’ Lunch Break Tales positively necessary.
6 of those were on THE SAME DAY. So let’s start there.
The Day of 6 Human Interactions
Alternately Titled: What Is This, 1954?
It was Friday of last week and I had just stepped out from the revolving door of the law firm and into FREEDOM when I saw an old lady sitting on the ground a few yards away. Immediately, I knew that this probably wasn’t good and the unfortunate part (I mean, aside from the fact that someone’s grandma had taken a tumble) was that I appeared to be the only person around.
I fought my inner misanthrope and tiptoed over to assess the sitch. Thankfully, a man carrying groceries was approaching from another direction and together, we reenacted a scene from whatever episode of Sesame Street teaches you to put down your groceries and help your neighbor. All I was capable of doing was holding out my phone and asking repeatedly if she needed me to call 911 while Grocery Man kept slowly asking, “MA’AM, YOU OK?” But Ma’am continued to sit on the ground with her legs outstretched, rubbing her thighs and not answering.
Now I was starting to wonder if this was a pick-pocketing ploy because that’s what I think everything is, a pick-pocketing ploy, until she slowly turned to look at us, and with ONE SINGLE TEAR FALLING DOWN HER CHEEK OMG, she whispered, “No, I’m OK…..I don’t know what happened. My knees just gave out…”
Grocery Man said he had heard her fall so I guess she screamed or something? I don’t know!
There are chairs inside the lobby of my building so I asked her if she wanted us to help her inside. At least she could sit down and get warm while deciding what she was going to do. She nodded, so Grocery Man and I each took one of her arms and lifted her up. The whole time I was whipping my head around, looking for the news crews, like, “I’M DOING IT! I’M DOING IT! LOOK AT ME!” in my head, because altruism is not a word in my limited and egocentric vocab.
We had just about got her to the doors of my building when some tall fucking white man in a nice suit and coat strode over with the shittiest shit-eating grin on his pudding face and asked, “Do you need help?” while basically TAKING THE OLD BROAD AWAY FROM US and escorting her into the building himself!!
WOW WAY TO COME IN AT THE TAIL END AND CLAIM ALL THE GLORY, JACKASS. Grocery Man was like, “That’s fine” because he wanted to get back to his groceries, which he left on the ground and we get all kinds of weirdos walking by, like Downtown Jesus may have meandered over and started digging in the bags for bread to turn into fish, or cigarettes, you don’t know.
I started to ask Briefcase Hero if he needed my assistance for anything, but then I was like, “Ah, fuck it” and I went about my merry way.
Crazy Mocha, where I had the fourth human interaction of the day!
The barista was a new one, or new-to-me anyway, because it had been a few weeks since I went to this particular Crazy Mocha. She was young and running on all cylinders, the kind of person who was rearin’ to talk to ANY FUCKING BODY. She was taunting her co-worker about some picture she had taken of him, so then she decided to pull me into the convo and showed me the Polaroid.
“Oh, I keep Polaroids in my phone case!” I said, and showed her pictures of Chooch in the cemetery on Christmas. So then we chatted about Polaroids and she said she liked to surprise her co-workers with snap-attacks so that they wouldn’t have a chance to fake-pose, and I briefly imagined doing this at the law firm and I wonder how well that would go over since everyone knows my motives are questionable.
As the barista in the Polaroid made my chai latte, Polaroid Girl started singing EXTREMELY THEATRICALLY all up in the other barista’s face and he gave her zero reaction which was pretty weird, but then I was like, “Wow, this song sounds familiar…” and then I realized it was a song from Hamilton (“Satisfied”) and I was so proud of myself for knowing that considering that I have still NEVER LISTENED TO THE SOUNDTRACK even though I saw the show and loved it.
Side bar: A few weeks ago one of my co-workers admitted to me that she thought Hamilton was a president and I felt SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT MYSELF because yo, I thought that too, and she is actually way more educated me so I was like, “OK, it’s not just me. There are others. More of us. I am not alone.” But yeah, during Hamilton, I wondered several times, “So, when does he become President tho….”
Remember when I saved that broad’s life before I met Polaroid Girl? Well, the next interaction I had was when a traveler with suitcases approached me and asked me where the Megabus pickup is and so I told him and then realized I gave him the wrong directions, so I had to chase him down screaming, “Sir! Sir! I gave you the wrong directions!” so then I had him go a different way and I felt better about myself until on my way back from my walk when I saw that the Megabus was picking up people exactly right across from where we were standing when he asked me so it turns out BOTH OF MY DIRECTIONS WERE WRONG. Man, I saved a life and then maybe stranded a guy in Pittsburgh.
I’d call that a wash.
The final interaction of that walk was when a lady walked by me and yelled, “cute coat!”
YEAH IT IS!
Man, what a day! I talked to so many people! I REMEMBERED HOW TO TALK!
The Absinthe Anecdote (AND ANTIDOTE)
Tuesday was a terrible day. I mean, as far as work goes, that is. I had to go into the bathroom and stress-cry at one point, it was that kind of day. I had to sit at my desk and think of worse days that I have had just to bring the perspective, but then I started thinking about the time the church school moms found my blog and essentially met me in the parking lot with torches and pitchforks, and this just made me feel even more terrible so wow that strategy backfired.
Finally, I broke away and went outside for my walk because sometimes that is the only thing that gets me through the day – I need my hour walk, man. Get me away from my desk!
I usually don’t pre-plan my walks, I just walk in the opposite direction of where the derelicts seem to be when I step out the door. On this day, I headed toward the Strip District and then decided that I was going to Prestogeorge for a latte because I fucking needed a treat, OK?! My favorite barista Lori was working – we have had great convos about tattoos, kids not knowing what landlines are, and my awesome phone cases. I really like her a lot so even though I was having a shit day, when she asked me how it was going, I said it was going well and it felt like it was true! She just gives off good vibes, man.
As she was ringing me up, she paused and, with a lowered voice, asked, “Do you like absinthe?”
I said yes without hesitation, but then backtracked and said that while I wasn’t a big fan of the taste, I really appreciated the lore and culture behind it. She nodded and slid a book across the counter.
“I’m going to tell you a story while I made your latte, and you can take a look at this book.”
It was a worn book of absinthe recipes, and her story was about how she met a professional magician in San Francisco some time ago, and it turned out he was one of the authors of this absinthe book but she didn’t find out until afterward and was bummed that she missed her chance at getting the book signed. Apparently, she and her friends have thrown many parties around this absinthe book so it’s very special to her and all I kept thinking was, “How do I ingratiate myself into her circle of friends?!”
Anyway, her story was captivating and culminated in the fact that her realtor friend called her up and said, “You’ll never guess who I sold a house to” and it was THE MAGICIAN – he’s moving to Pittsburgh and bought some huge house on the north side, and so the realtor friend invited Lori to lunch with him and he signed Lori’s book; she showed it to me and it said, “Let’s throw a party” so she is freaking throwing a party in his mansion and I can’t remember the last time I was this stoked for someone I barely know!
There isn’t an actual date yet but I told her I’m going to troll Prestogeorge’s until it finally happens so she can tell me all about it! I love hearing about people obsessing over obscure things and then getting starstruck over something that most people would think nothing of. This is how I felt when PAUL EUGENE the Gospel Aerobics guru emailed me a Valentine and yes I realize it was just because I signed up for his newsletter, but maybe I’m the only one he sent it to! LEAVE ME TO MY DREAMS!
I walked out with my cinnamon latte and realized that the tightness in my chest was gone. Maybe human interaction is actually….THE KEY?! Ugh.