“Oh man, I can’t fucking believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?”
–John McClane, The Book of Die Hard, Chapter Two
In other words, I took a day off from work.
I like to keep notes of blog ideas. Voluminous notes. A veritable plethora of tiny chicken scratch scribbles that are only discernable by me, and sometimes not even then.
Then I go out in the world and live my life. This is also known as to fodder. Then the same shit happens to the same guy twice. Suddenly all blog ideas are out the window.
So, in the vast majority of cases, this blog is merely a depiction of “What happened yesterday?” That’s about as intellectual as it gets around here.
In that vein, guess what happened yesterday? Smooth segue, eh?
My wife and I requested the same day off. That day was yesterday. The plan was to get organized, take care of some icky chores and just generally be productive.
Since it involved not being at work I was very excited. That was the exact moment I should have sensed extreme danger.
One item of business on the agenda was lunch at the trendy restaurant. This was a tiny nook crammed into a city block that I’m certain was never originally intended to be an eatery. The dining area featured six tables crammed into a space smaller than my home office. If you enjoy food combined with someone’s ass in your face then this is the place for you.
There was one empty table being wiped down so we wisely selected that as the place to sit. On the far side, about three inches away, was a gentleman who looked the Gorton’s fisherman. He must have wandered over from the docks. The near side of the table had a counter behind that was full of bar stools that were currently empty. Rather than get all snugly with Gorton I opted to sit beside my wife on the near side of the table hoping against all hope that the bar stools would remain empty.
Lunch was interesting. My wife loved hers, of course, but my Po Boy was basically plain dry meat on a bun. I gagged it down.
They only offered beer and wine. The full bar license was pending. So they had invented a martini-like menu that featured exotically named mimosas for $8 to $12 a glass. Clever. And the people were literally drinking it up. The menu offered a full selection of internationally themed salts. “Look,” I exclaimed breathlessly to my wife. “It’s only a $2 upcharge for something called ‘rimming.’ Let’s get that.”
Shortly into our meal I became ensconced in the smell of raw sewage. They say that the human tongue can only detect four basic tastes and that our brain fills in the rest of “flavor” based on smell. I’m here to tell you that is no lie!
We realized a few human bodies had crammed into the bar behind us. One or all of them was the source of the odor. Wonderful. And, like often happens, smell can be a powerful trigger to a memory. Always the wordsmith I was eager to paint my wife a picture of that smell.
“You know how fast food restaurants have washable tile floors? And there’s a square-shaped hole cut into the floor that contains a plastic trap? That’s where all the debris and liquids and stuff goes. Eventually the stuff that collects there takes on the form of a gelatinous sludgy goo. If you find one of those well-used traps and take a hearty sniff then you’ll know that’s exactly the same smell we are experiencing right now.”
It was a very romantic lunch.
Our next stop was the Wells Fargo bank. We had requested an appointment, in advance, to discuss our IRA accounts. We met with a friendly woman who had a desk in the middle of the room, an island of productivity, in a carpeted sea where customers milled around. Fucking weird.
Just as we were getting started a frightening fellow wandered in from the street. He was unshaven, dirty and had a frantic look. He was dressed like a street urchin and had a hoodie pulled tight over his head. Strolling by with less than six inches of clearance he glanced at our blank employee then gave us a look of pure hatred.
“I’ll have to call the IRA people,” the bank employee said. “I have no authority to discuss investments.” Wow. I guess it was really clever of the bank to schedule our IRA meeting with you, eh? Lucky us. “Besides,” she added wisely, “I don’t know much about IRAs.” Yes, that’s a verbatim quote.
The next part of our meeting was idle chat chat about this, that and the other thing while we listened to Wells Fargo hold music while we waited ten minutes for someone to take our call.
By now the supersized grapefruit and habanero salt-rimmed mimosa was playing havoc with my bladder. I drew a little note and passed it to my wife. “I gotta pee.” We shared a look. So did she.
Of course the Wells Fargo had no “public facilities.” Bathrooms are not, apparently, for customers. I felt like asking, “Do you mind if I step outside for a moment and pee on your building?” but was somehow able to hold it in.
I am the Nutsack.
I speak for the pees.
All people have whose-its
But don’t ever try to use-its.
–Tom B. Taker in The Nutsack
Based on empirical information I deduce that Wells Fargo wants my money (there was much discussion about fees) but not the contents of my bladder. In my world that’s bad form. How rude!
Our bank employee stepped away and suddenly hoodie dude was back, materializing at my elbow out of thin air. “How long have you been waiting?” he asked with half-baked slurry words.
I glanced at my watch. “We’ve been here about 30 minutes,” I graciously replied.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do about this,” he said ominously before staggering off again.
Finally the bank employee returned. Just when it was beginning to feel like we were buying a new car. And she brought the bank manager with us. She shook our hands and I struggled with the surreality of the situation. “I hope you’ll consider us for all of your other accounts,” she said. “Wells Fargo is a great place to work and do business.”
Again I managed to keep my trap shut. Our business concluded, we were ready to bolt from the bank and look for a place with toilets. But not before we saw Mr. Hoodie rip the bank manager a new one about having to wait.
Seriously, universe, I have to ask. Did you arrange this all for me? The limits of probability are being strained too damn far. Now I’m getting suspicious.