So, Cammie’s doing demos in Yonkers today, and I took the drive with her, thinking I’d have a nice change-of-scene and be able to get some work done. Wrong. The first place I hit – a little coffeeshop called “Slave to the Grind” (kinda great, right?) in old-timey downtown – I spent $5.00 for a coffee and croissant, only to discover the following after I’d been sitting there a few minutes:
ME: Excuse me, do y’all have WiFi?
COUNTER GIRL: Do we have what?
COUNTER GIRL: What’s WiFi?
WEIRD CUSTOMER LADY: He means the internet. Do you mean the internet?
ME: Yes. Do you have the internet?
COUNTER GIRL: Oh. No. I don’t think so, no.
ME: You don’t think so.
WEIRD CUSTOMER LADY: The library has it.
ME: Oh, great! Where’s that?
COUNTER GIRL: Down past the high school.
WEIRD CUSTOMER LADY: It’s a real nice library.
ME: Where’s the high school?
COUNTER GIRL: (Looking at me like I’ve suddenly sprouted horns) Um, you don’t know where the high school is?
ME: Well, I’m not from here.
COUNTER GIRL: Well, you can’t miss it. It’s huge.
WEIRD CUSTOMER LADY: It is big.
ME: But where is it?
ANOTHER CUSTOMER: It’s about three blocks that way.
ME: By the post office? I’m parked three blocks that way, right past the post office.
ALL THREE: No.
WEIRD CUSTOMER LADY: You can’t miss it. It’s big.
OTHER CUSTOMER: Three blocks that way.
So I finish my coffee, and I leave. (As I walk out, Weird Customer Lady is still talking to Counter Girl, and I swear I hear the phrase, “And that cyst was as big as a baby.”) I walk three blocks or so, right past the post office, to my car, which is parked where? RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE SONOFABITCHING HIGH SCHOOL. The library is two blocks past that. Because I’m parked in some weird timed zone, I move the car to the library parking lot, and walk up to the door. The library is closed, and it won’t open until 1:00 pm. It doesn’t open until 1:00 pm EVERY SINGLE DAY OF THE WEEK. Why, when a stranger is asking for help at 10:30 am, would you direct him to a building three blocks away (five, really, but who’s counting?) THAT DOESN’T OPEN FOR ANOTHER TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS?!?
I try to kill time by driving around a little bit, but the GPS on my phone would simply not connect. I mean, at all. I have a pretty good sense of direction, and I’m good at remembering landmarks, but I still have no idea where I actually am. But I manage to find my way back to the store where Cammie’s working, and I decide to pop in and watch one of her presentations. (She’s really good, y’all. Really good.) Her pitch starts with a P.A. announcement about a free gift, and she does it away from the actual stage where the presentation takes place. The idea is that it gives people time to gather so that she can make an entrance. And she does about three or four of them, which means that she doesn’t magically appear on the stage as soon as the last word escapes her lips. So, she makes the announcement, and within thirty seconds, the most annoying woman on earth walks up. (If you want to imagine her as a short, fat Latina woman about 60 years old with frosted blond hair, too-tight clothes, and a voice more abrasive than an asthmatic donkey, I won’t stop you.) She’s screaming about her free gift, bitching because the “announcing girl” isn’t there yet, digging in the props on the stage, trying to engage anyone who will listen to her, the whole bit. Awful. Cammie makes her entrance, and starts her presentation. By now, about twenty customers have gathered, and Most Annoying wants them all to know she was there first. She’s pushing her way to the front, and when Cammie asks her to move her cart to the side, she ignores the request. A few minutes later, she realizes she is in the way, and maybe she feels like a total asshole. She tries to move the cart through the people, and in so doing, she knocks over a line of bicycles on display, which topple like dominoes. She says simply, “Shit,” and free gift in hand, she blows off the rest of the presentation and leaves the scene of the crime.
It’s now about 12:30, and I figure I can make it back over to the library and work until it’s time to pick Cammie up. I take my time getting there. I pull into the parking lot at 12:59, and it’s packed, so clearly EVERYBODY knows what time it opens. At exactly 1:00, a staff member comes out and unlocks the door, sort of like the opening of the Chocolate Factory, and I join the other Golden Ticket winners in their exodus from parking lot to free Wifi. Only, it’s a total waste of time for me, because you can’t use the free Wifi unless you have a library card – THEIR library card. So, screwed once again, I go off in search of a Starbucks.
And here I am. But oh, God, does the weirdness continue.
At the table next to mine, there’s this older bald guy with a one-inch ponytail (no lie), talking to two young “Gotti boys” with those weird monastic-looking hairdos. After Bald Guy brags about his iPhone 4 and deconstructs THE MATRIX (did you know it’s really about Jesus?), this happens:
BALD: You guys work out?
GOTTI 1: Yeah.
BALD: You know, the best way to work out is with your own body weight.
GOTTI 1: I’m 178 now. I weigh 178.
BALD: Yeah? You work out a lot? You should work out with a buddy.
GOTTI 1: I got him.
GOTTI 2: Yeah. He got me.
BALD: You guys buddy for each other?
GOTTI 1: Yeah, all the time.
BALD: Well, if you ever need another buddy, like a three-way work out, I could do that for you. We could work something out.
GOTTI 1: I guess.
BALD: We could go right now.
GOTTI 1: I don’t know.
BALD: You up for it? I’m up.
Yeah, I bet you are. Then this happens at the counter.
STRUNG-OUT LOOKING GUY: I used to do caffeine all the time, all the time, all the time, but it turned on me, you know? One day I was like, and then I was like, and I was like, shit, I don’t know. So, I hadda cut it out. ‘Cause I don’t wanna be like, you know what I mean? Know what I’m saying?
And then this, at the condiment station behind me:
WOMAN IN SUNGLASSES ON CELLPHONE: I just can’t get out of bed. I don’t want to do anything. It’s been like a week now. I don’t even bathe. I just wet a paper towel and hit the parts that need it, you know? I don’t want to be disgusting. (Pause) Huh? Oh. Starbucks. I threw on some makeup and some pajama pants. I needed a chai. But other than that, I’m like “Screw it.” I’m so serious.
Even the signs are weird here:
Anyway, it’s time to leave. I have to go fetch Cammie, and another woman at the counter just asked for “nonfat milk! Not fat-free. Nonfat! There’s a difference.”
Yonkers, it’s been real.