Here’s another chapter from my imaginary (Don’t Read This To Your) Children’s book, “Lunch Break Tales.” Just, wow.
It was really busy this one day last week and we were short-staffed, so I told Glenn that I was just going to short lunch, just long enough to run out to Crazy Mocha and grab some coffee, I said.
Won’t be long, I said.
Like, 10 minutes, I said.
Except that it was actually busy that day, and I had to stand in a line full of people who had never ordered coffee before and questioned everything on the menu. And then two aging punks came in and tried to line-jump but I called them out on it in the most Pollyanna way I could muster, and it turns out that it was an accident anyway, so they got in line behind me and the older of the two, who reminded me a bit of my friend Jason from Cleveland, wouldn’t stop raggin’ on me for being mean to an “old man” and it was funny at first, but then I was like, “OK STOP TALKING TO ME NOW” except a few minutes later, a Depeche Mode song came on and he started singing it and then his friend was talking about some Italian band who did a really great cover of it and then I was like, “OK, I’ll talk to you!” because I wanted so desperately to butt in and me my old nosy self (or nebby, if you’re from Pittsburgh) but the coffee broad was handing me my coffee and really, I didn’t care that much.
I left with my coffee and right as I turned to make my way back to work, I spotted a very familiar face walking toward me, pulling a small suitcase in his wake.
IT WAS TRAVIS WALL FROM SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE.
And I knew for a fact that it was him because the week prior to this, I was walking past the Benedum and saw him on a poster for an upcoming show, which happened to be that night. We made eye contact and I started to open my mouth like I was going to bark, but then I lost my nerve and let him walk by in peace.
But then something came over to me and I thought to myself, “NO. I AM NOT GOING TO THROW AWAY THIS CHANCE TO SAY HELLO TO TRAVIS WALL’S FACE.” So I turned around and followed him.
I’m not proud of this.
But look you guys, I was never into dance before until right after I had Chooch and couldn’t do much but splay out on the couch like Jabba the Hut while Chooch nursed, and that’s how I accidentally started watching SYTYCD right when the second season auditions started. And man, I thought contemporary dance was A JOKE and kept waiting for the judges to laugh those fools off the stage, but instead, they were practically q-tipping their dickholes in pure fervor and screaming, “COME GETCHER TICKET TO VEGAS!” Travis was one of those dancers. He ended up making it all the way to the finals of that season but lost out to a swing dancer. However, the judges recognized Travis’s ridiculous talent and eventually had him come back as a choreographer. ALL OF HIS DANCES MAKE ME CRY.
Travis taught me that watching people dance can have the same effect on me as music. And some of those routines moved me even more than music ever has! So I had to at least say hello.
I only had to follow him a few yards before he stopped at a door and was trying to open it when I very tentatively approached and, keeping my distance, asked, “Travis?”
He turned and yes, but had a “NOT TODAY” look on his face. I don’t want to make it sound like he was a d-bag, but it was obvious that he was very focused on getting to where he needed to be, and I didn’t want to be That Person who disrupted a celebrity’s day when they were clearly “off-duty” or whatever; however, I feel like if I were any type of artist/celebrity, I would want to know that I had affected a person.
And then I just stood there with my jaw unhinged because I hadn’t planned that far ahead. So there was a frozen moment in time where we just stood there looking at each other, him assessing my level of stalker psychopath and me assessing the quickly depleting cache of words my tongue was capable of spitting out.
So I just very quickly said, “I just wanted to say hello and that I think you’re awesome” because my vocabulary peaked in 1st grade, I guess.
He thanked me and then as I awkwardly turned to
walk run away, he called after me, “It was nice to meet you.”
So there was that at least.
Meanwhile, some older businessman had taken this all in and fell into step with me.
“Who was that?” he asked. I filled him in and he laughed. “Wow, you spotted him fast!” And then I couldn’t get this weirdo to stop talking to me about it! He walked all the way back to my building (which was only half of a block away BUT STILL) with me and I was just dying from the emotional duress of so much human contact crammed into one excruciating 20-minute session.
SO MUCH FOR THAT QUICK COFFEE RUN.
Meanwhile, Henry had the nerve to say, “Pics or it didn’t happen”like it’s 2012 or some shit. I was NOT about to ask Travis for a selfie after that lukewarm reception.
Then I went back to work and couldn’t find anyone who cared.
(GOD, why didn’t I at least say “have a good show tonight!” Or “How about that bench dance you did with Heidi, amirite?”)
There was another dumb day last week where I was just like FUCK IT ALLLLLLLL and put on my surliest “Pee Wee In an Alley After His Bike Was Stolen” demeanor before hittin’ the mean streets of Pgh. I was making damn sure to avoid all eye contact with every last pedestrian, but then as I walked onto the Point, some dirty hippie college student stopped me and said, “Here, have a flower. Have a great day!” as he handed me a tiny white rosebud thingie. It turned my whole day around.
ONE DUMB FLOWER!
I was like, “You know what? I WILL have a great day.” And so I did.
I almost didn’t go out for a walk today because Glenn said it was SO COLD OMG but I was like whatever Glenn, eff off, and went out anyway. Turns out it was SO COLD OMG but not as much as it was yesterday, so I was prepared.
I decided that I was going to kick it no-frills style and stopped at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts (after almost getting hit by a car and then another car, and then passing the older black lady who screams into her phone all the time and I’m 99.999999997% sure that no one is on the other end) for Dunkin’s version of a “macchiato.” Nothing exciting happened while I was inside, and no one was outside silently protesting donuts while wearing a tutu, either.
(This is a thing that happens downtown, trust me. Add it to your travel itinerary!)
As soon as I stepped out of DD, this old lady waddled up to me and she is straight bawlin’.
Tells me the age-old spiel about being homeless, can you spare some change, just want a hot coffee, etc.
I never ever ever have cash on me, except for the time that I did and specifically went for a walk in search of my favorite homeless guy so that I could FINALLY give him a buck or two because he always says things to me like, “YOU’RE TOO PRETTY NOT TO BE SMILIN'” and then the next thing I know, I AM SMILING.
DON’T TELL ME TO SMILE, ASSHOLE.
Anyway, this homeless broad is like squirting tears all over my feet and I must have been at a vulnerable point in the day because she totally suckered me, motherfuckers.
I didn’t have any cash on me, so I told her to come with me, and I took her inside Dunkin’ Donuts and let her order some type of sausage thing and then she got an OJ out of the cooler and said, “I’ll just have this instead of coffee” and I said, “It’s so cold out, you can have coffee too if you want.” She looked like she didn’t want to press her luck with me, so I turned to the TOTALLY ANNOYED Dunkin’ Donuts guy and told him to add a medium coffee to her order.
This broad was crying all over the place and I was glad that I was in the position to help someone out a bit. However, the whole way back to work, I kept expecting something horrible to happen to me, like a piano falling on my head or tripping over a tumbleweed and right into the crossfire of a duel.
YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE I WALK.
Then I came back to work and was extra mean to Lou in order to right my devil/angel ratio.