An Otherwise Eventful Sunday Pt. II: Bonnaroo

I was well prepared both mentally and physically for this particular adventure.

I loaded the Saturn with a brand new rolling Rubbermaid cooler, a 24 pack of water, my own water thermos, a knife (in case a knife fight ensued), assorted snacks, a few handmade signs, and a dozen copies of Vagrants in Paradise. Anything less than getting into Center Roo and selling half the books would not be acceptable.

As I made the turn onto the curving road leading to the promised land, I saw a line of cars backed up. This was no surprise. However, there was no line to leave, which I found odd for a Sunday with a festival of Bonnaroo’s magnitude. While stuck in line, I put the car in park and retrieved a few books from my bag, which was wedged inside a tomato cage I had in the back seat. I kept eyes all around for walkers. Not more than eight minutes sitting in the line, a group of scraggly tie-dye folks descended down the hill soon to pass my open window.

“Hey guys, anybody interested in a funny nonfiction book by a semi-local author?” I asked, holding the book out of the window.

They all stopped and mumbled their indifference, except one guy.

“Yeah man, cool. Local like Manchester?” He asked.

“Nope, Nashville.” I said.

I quickly took note of his crystal blue crossed eyes, and acknowledged his tweaked out southern demeanor.

“My grandaddy actually owns this farm- well he done sold it, but this wa’ his land. I been comin’ here damn near e’rry year nah.” He said with his thick rural Tennessee twang.

I went along with it, which for all I knew was the truth. I was asking $15 for the book.

“Man I think I got $12. That work?” He asked.

Of course I accepted, making my first sale while I was sitting in traffic. I was stoked.

“Well hey mang find me on Facebook and check out my outdoor clothing line, Riverside Outdoor Gear it’s called.” I completely made that name up but it was something along those lines. He patted me on the shoulder as I told him I’d check it out.

His posse strolled ahead as we did our transaction, and I hopped out to grab an ice cold water for him to show my appreciation. He was much obliged, and we went on with our day. One down, eleven to go.

As I crept up the line closer and closer, my arms and face baked in the sun, I noticed a residential home with a “$5 Parking” sign in their yard. Angels, these people. They could’ve charged $20 easy, as it was mere yards away from the entrance. This was great, as the dreadful parking monkey was now off my back.

A young girl eagerly hopped off of her lawn chair to greet me as I pulled in, while her parents glistened with sweat sitting under an oak tree, raking in the easy money.

I grabbed my backpack, pulled out the rolling cooler of water bottles from my trunk, and strolled over to the entrance with no elaborate plan to get in.

I entered the gravel area where a line of about ten white tents stood for car and bag inspections. Regardless of the lengthy line to get in, this area was not congested. I casually strolled over to a young man and woman.

The man sat and the girl very blankly and unenthusiastically had me take off my bag as she unzipped and peered in.

“What’re all these books? You’re not trying to sell these are you?” She asked.

“No, no. I was going to hand them out, it’s no big deal.” I said.

She was very skeptical, as I stood there with my folded cardboard signs I wrote on that would completely go against my statement had she bothered questioning that.

“Wait. Where’s your wristband? You don’t even have a wristband.” Now she was really catching on.

“Well, I was hoping since it’s midday Sunday that I could maybe just go in?” I asked with a smile.

“Um, no, you absolutely can not.” She was far from amused.

I then went to the little trailer where a completely stoned bro sat selling weekend passes. It was a brief and useless encounter. I went back to the car to reevaluate.

It was clear I needed a bracelet. I left the cooler in my trunk, and decided to walk the opposite direction to post up and tap my wrist to the passers by.  I stood by a fire hydrant with a good pull-off area ahead, laid out a few books, and held my hardly legible sign referring to the books.

After not even fifteen minutes of waving and smiling and tapping, a pimple-faced teen was soon to cross my path.

“Hey man you leaving?” I asked.

“Yeah.” The sun reflected like a tractor beam off of this young ginger boy’s braces.

“Can I have your bracelet?” I asked.

“Yeah, sure.” He said, with a tone suggesting his brains were fried like green tomatoes.

“Do you read?” I asked.

I ended up swapping one of my books for the bracelet. Another success. Small victories were adding up quick under the punishing sun.

With that I knew I was set. The barrier was broken. With a cheerful heir, I strolled back to the car. Considering I was wearing a collared lobster shirt and striped shorts, I thought I may look a bit too familiar to security, especially given the brief time frame. I happened to have pants and a long sleeve flannel shirt, which was going to be rough in the heat, but it had to be done. I threw on my Ween hat and new clothes, stuffed about six water bottles in with the books, and was about to leave when a man who saw me on the road moments ago came up and bought a book from me.

This time I was sure to go to the security the farthest away from the first soulless girl.

I strutted up with great confidence and set my bag down, jiggling my orange Volunteer wrist band around so he’d see I was legit.

Again the question came.

“What’re all these books? You can’t sell these here.” The man said.

“Oh no I know, some guy was handing them out so I took a bunch.” I said, switching it up a bit from the first time.

“Well either way you can’t have more than ten of the same thing. We have to consider that illegal vending. Could you count them for me please?” The guy asked.

I was more than happy to, knowing I came with a dozen and sold three. I counted nine, and with that, I penetrated the nucleus of the festival with a feeling of great success. I knew my best bet would be to peddle my wares to the campers, and those gearing up to leave. Approaching people in the actual festival would likely prove difficult. Nobody wants to buy a book with all the stimulation going on 360 degrees around them. Campers, however, would be hanging loose and away from the madness.

I asked a few people along the way who declined before finding a group of greyed older men, and a couple in their thirties. There was a neon sign that read “Bar” with a Martini glass hanging on their tent pole. I smiled at one of the guys as I passed.

“Is the bar still open?” I asked in jest.

“Hell yeah it is! You want a beer?” A man who could’ve been Keith Richards’ brother answered. It was shortly after I took a seat on the grass and cracked open a Yuengling that I told them that I was trying to sell my book. After a brief discussion explaining it, four of them ponied up the dough and wanted them signed.

Dear Rick….Dear Pete…Dear Jana…” I was loving it.

“I’ll be able to say I met you when you were just a wandering Bonnaroo book salesman when you get big!” Rick said with a laugh.

“Damn right! And you can sell that signed copy for like, $15!” I said.

We shared some laughs as I gulped the final warm swig of my beer. I thanked them as I got up and decided to put book peddler mode on hold, so I could indulge in the music and sights to behold.

I caught some Margo Price, Umphrey’s McGee, and Royal Blood, who I’d never heard of, but they laid down some heavy British rock from the main stage.

I decided I would enjoy the rest of the festival and bask in the success of selling seven books and getting in for free, or rather, getting paid to be there. Determination and motivation proved successful on this endeavor, as I knew it would. Handing out water bottles to a select portion of thirsty and thankful Roo Dwellers also brought about contentment.

I was on an incredible high both literally and figuratively, especially as I had eaten next to nothing all day, and had my skull baked for many hours. I was engulfed in the festival feel.

On my way out I made half-assed attempts to sell a few more books which didn’t work, and I was fine with it. As I walked out, I made a point to wave to the girl who wouldn’t let me in initially. She was blank and perplexed. I won.

I drove westbound on 24 chasing the magnificent colored sunset, basking in recent events. I noticed strips of rubber on the side of the road that looked like black pythons glistening in the sun. My high maintained but would be brought back to reality, as I kept seeing dark and ominous signs for a gun company on what seemed to be every billboard. I was reminded of my surroundings, that of a conservative southern red state, which couldn’t have been farther from my reality. One sign read, “Yes, Silencers are Legal.” These signs all had huge pictures of different guns, with dark several word tag lines. It was a quick shift in realities.

Regardless, I was psyched to have more books out in the world. I made it home to watch the deflation of the entire city of Nashville as the Pittsburgh Penguins brought home a second consecutive Stanley Cup. It was a bitter ending to such an otherwise eventful Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Otherwise Eventful Sunday Pt. I: Mike the Pharmacist

I went to bed Saturday night as Paul the Jack of Some Trades, and woke up Sunday morning Mike the Pharmacist. (the latter has a better ring to it)

Let me explain.

While scanning the infinite wonders of Craigslist, namely the gigs section, I saw something in the Creative category that caught my eye. The title was along the lines of, “Help me win back my girlfriend.” Naturally I clicked on this.

Long story short, this desperate 30 year-old man paid me one hundred dollars, yes $100, to visit the diner where his kind-of girlfriend worked, and simply introduce myself as Mike the Pharmacist, say I’m a friend of his, and casually slip in positive things about him and nice things he’s said about her. That was all.

Of course I initially thought this was a bogus post, but when I requested an initial deposit, he did it gladly. The dude was legit.

I completely took this as a great opportunity to showcase my acting abilities, and put another feather in the cap, if you will.

I went to the downtown multi-level diner, rode the elevator to the 4th floor, and chatted with Courtney, the hostess, for all of 45 seconds. I expected her to say they weren’t together, but she was happy and chipper and made it sound like all was well. She did mention some misunderstandings and them “projecting their insecurities on each other”, but that was it. Of course it’s only logical this girl wouldn’t want to open up in grand detail to a complete stranger about her love life while she’s working.

She brought me to a table where I drank a crisp ice water pretending to wait on friends, before I told the waitress I had my times mixed up. I was sure to leave a few bucks for the water and shenanigans. I texted him and let him know the painstaking job was complete, and to let me know if there’s anything else I could do. I gave him ten minutes to respond, which he didn’t. Out to the bustling city streets I went, back in the thick of CMA Fest, only to hit the road to Bonnaroo for the next order of business.

I would find out later I, somehow, was of immeasurable assistance, and I’d never know how much I helped. He happily paid me. Mike the Pharmacist proved to be a smashing success. And then it was time to be Paul the Book Peddler.

 

Gonzo Fest Revisited

This past weekend marked the 7th annual Gonzo Fest in Louisville, Kentucky, which celebrated the life of literary renegade and local hero Hunter S. Thompson. It was held at the Louisville Public Library, as opposed to the Big Four Lawn of Waterfront Park like previous years. It was another strange affair, as anticipated, though not as strange as last year.

Upon learning of this festival dedicated to one of my literary idols, I knew I had to go. My co-pilot then was Oregon Neal, one of my first roommates upon moving to Nashville a few years back. For clarification sake, I lived with two Neal’s/Neil’s, the other being Wisconsin Neil. I found this to be the easiest way to refer to them. Two very different but very chill Neal’s/Neil’s.

A few things stand out from last year’s Gonzo Fest. One being the moment I got crushed in the head with a football immediately after purchasing an $8 beer, spilling half of it on myself. Things got off to a rocky start despite the beautiful day and scenery of the Ohio River and bridges abound. The day progressed with the usual activities of live music, spoken word, and tales of Hunter via his son Juan F. Thompson, Ron Whitehead, and others that knew and worked with him. People gallivanted through the park in their finest Gonzo apparel, clown makeup, dinosaur costumes, and other freakshow attire. It was a fine day.

But the most disturbing and memorable moment would come when Oregon Neal and I decided to take a stroll across the bridge and over the river.

As we soaked in the aesthetics of the Louisville skyline, we noticed an obese woman on a motorized scooter slowly but surely cresting up the incline as we descended. Unfortunate, I thought. As our paths began to cross, we noticed a young girl, maybe 9 or 10, clutching to the back of the scooter, riding up with what seemed to be her mother. This poor girl’s face was terribly, terribly disfigured. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Her face looked to be swollen 10 times over, with her eyes sunk deep into her head, and what looked like a face incapable of expression. Her incredibly large face was pockmarked and misshapen, and all I thought of was The Elephant Man. It was truly a disheartening sight.

But the worst was yet to come.

When we exited the bridge, we noticed a small ice cream shop littered with folks inside and out, so we decided to make like school children and indulge. We relaxed for a bit, and then decided to hoof back to the festival. As we were about halfway across, we both looked at each other with a “you gotta be kidding me face.” At one end of the width of the bridge was the obese woman staring blankly at the other end, in which the poor disfigured girl danced to some modern pop music with a little bucket with a $ symbol on it. Oregon Neal and I were greatly disturbed at this sad exploitation. The girl waved her arms in the air, put her hands on her hips, twirled around and so on in her little polka dot dress.

This was the defining moment of the festival, and it was fitting given the nature of the event. Luckily this past year was void of unfortunate incidents.

I drove north on I-65 from Nashville with the warm southern air swirling through the cracks in my windows as I sipped Private Selection coffee from my Grassroots ’15 mug. With a head full of wonder and ears full of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I sped past exit signs for Bowling Green, Elizabethtown, Horse Cave, and other obscure Kentucky towns. Massive billboard signs for chicken, gas, whiskey, fireworks, and casinos scattered among the rolling hill landscape, penetrating the sky with its enticing and inevitable offers.

They moved the festival to the Louisville Library this year, which was far less scenic and far less spacious. It was a bit more watered down, but still an interesting endeavor. I found a parking lot nearby that costed $1.50 for all day parking. I thought for sure I drove into a time warp.

As an author greatly influenced by Hunter, it was exceptionally enjoyable, especially hearing from people who knew him and worked with him. The most intriguing I found to be was his son Juan, whom I met and got an autographed copy of his book, Stories I Tell Myself, about his life growing up as Thompson’s one and only child. Juan seemed to be the polar opposite of Hunter: meek, mild, respectful, kind, balanced- normal.

Another interesting character was Ron Whitehead, another local Louisville hero who has published books, poetry, and music of all kinds. He was a friend of Hunter, and just one look at Ron and you could see why they were comrades. His appearance demanded attention what with his whitish-grayish long hair, bejeweled white braids hanging from his chin, custom designed denim jackets, and overall funky attire. He spoke loudly and passionately, with a fierce southern twang in his voice.

Gonzo Fest is an interesting and intriguing festival for fans of Hunter S. Thompson, and though it’s a moderate affair, I would recommend it for his fans that may not know about it. There are all kinds of nifty Gonzo crafts being sold at little vendor booths, all kinds of food and drink, and good bands setting the tone. But to reiterate, the discussion panels with those akin to him are likely to be the meat and potatoes to true HST heads.

Football season is never over with the existence of Gonzo Fest.

 

Take a Permanent Vacation Pt. II

“If he wants me to blow him I’ll blow him. Hell if Gary wants me to blow him I’ll blow him too- I’ll blow ’em all!” This was Daniel, a regular, talking to a business crony on his hands free cellular device at the bar. Daniel is the head of operations at a TV station and talks with a boisterous arrogance I can imagine these kinds of bigwigs often do. Although he talked loud and pompously on the phone with zero regard to others surrounding him, he was always cool with me. He was from Boston and worked with the Patriots at one time, so we often got into some hearty football conversations. He spoke with pity and sympathy upon learning of me being a Bills’ fan, as most usually do. My first instinct is to hate New England fans, and I do, but Danny eased the hatred ever so mildly with his acknowledging of how shitty the Patriots were for years before their near two decades of dominance. He spoke of watching games from the press suites and Bill Belichick’s unusual rules and precedents in allowing Danny and his crew to film them during practices and whatnot. What a bastard he’s got to be. The whole lot of ’em. Alright I’ll cool it with the football tangents. I get carried away. Especially with the season around the corner. Speaking of which what’s going on with Buffalo’s backfield this offseason? Shit, sorry.

And then there was the man with a gray ponytail under a backwards Cream hat on a motorized scooter. I stood at the counter closing out a check and from the corner of the store the man came weaving through the seats up to me with a stern face that jiggled from the vibrations of the scooter.

“Take this.” He looked at me like a disappointed father over the top of his thin crooked glasses.

“Um okay? Sir you can just leave that on the table, we’ll pick it up.” He tried forcing the checkbook into my hand.

“Well I’m on my way out, just take it.” I opened it up and there was no signature or tip.

“Okay but you just need to sign this quick is all.” He shook his head like I was an idiot.

“Kid you don’t understand. I CAN’T sign it. I have MS.” I didn’t know what to say.

“Well…maybe just scribble something on here I guess?”

I felt bad and in hindsight I could’ve just put a line through it or just whatever. Not a big deal. Shaking his head he abided and indeed scribbled on the receipt. He tried tossing it on the counter but it just clipped the lip and fell to the ground with the pen and receipts flying out. “See ya dude.” He said as he quickly jerked his scooter around and wheeled out of the store like a bat out of hell with his ponytail dancing around, waving goodbye to me. It was pretty badass. Mad respect to the dude.

It’s been a wild ride working at an airport. It’s a world completely unto it’s own- a world of anxiety, stress, chaos, and unpredictable hijinks. And what’s the best way to cope with all that? For most, it’s booze. Hence the thousands of nerve-rattled guests I’ve served in my time behind the bar. I’ve encountered all kinds and learned a lot about people and places. Unfortunately the company I worked for is notorious for having poor management skills and manipulative inexperienced leaders. I’ve never worked for a company with such phony values and “do as I say not as I do” mentalities from management.

Things were sketchy from the get go with them. I was part of the grand opening team, and on our third day of business, both of our managers took the day off for inexcusable reasons. It was three of us versus hundreds of people and we hardly knew what we were doing. We were thrown to the wolves and got our asses handed to us on a silver fucking platter. That set the tone for the following year of bullshit within this company.

Having said that, I recently was let go/quit because I finally crossed the threshold of blatantly giving no shits. I showed up physically (usually 20 minutes late), but mentally I was long gone. I worked with two older women who worked service industry jobs their whole lives and admitted they’ve never experienced such bullshit both from customers and the company. It was no secret this place ran about as efficiently as a 5th grader’s Rube Goldberg project.

So ends this chapter of American Shmucks. It’s been a relatively short sprawled out run, but it’s been fun. But by God I can assure you this won’t be the end of my ramblings. There will be more to come in one fashion or another. ‘Til then, friends…

“Life has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.” -HST

 

 

 

 

 

Take a Permanent Vacation Pt. I

Well I got into another fight with an old woman. At least this time fists weren’t involved. Just kidding. They were. (the shaking of fists, that is) This lady, maybe late 60s, began by waving her skinny wrinkled Slim Jim arms with wild intent to get my attention. Every time somebody feels the need to flail about in their seat for my attention I look at them with a blank face and make them wait at least another thirty seconds. I gave my last shit many moons ago with this establishment and the jackals inside.

“What else do I need to do to get your attention?” She said in a most condescending elitist tone.

“Sit there patiently and be motionless?” I said with a bit of snark.

She laughed a most high society, nose in the air laugh.

“Tell me young man what can you tell me about these Rosés?”

“They suck. Just kidding!” I went on to explain.

Her husband sat back letting out some sly remarks here and there, but the queen beach rat was the head honcho in this situation.

“Bring me some ice, would you dear?”

“We don’t have ice.”

“Don’t have ice? How bizarre! What kind of place do you run here?” She began laughing again.

“Yes a little strange perhaps, but we are a wine bar. We don’t cater to the 3% that wants ice to dull down their wine. Apologies madamè.”

There would be another time or two with her flailing those dehydrated beef stick arms for my attention, but gears started to switch towards the end of their visit. Things were finishing on a reasonable note, and I even joked with the husband about his youthful picture on his credit card compared to his current old ass self.

They cashed out and left. No big thing. Moments later they saunter back because of a flight delay. This time they take a seat closer to the bar. The woman makes a remark about them being back. I continue to keep busy for a minute. Then things start to get ugly again.

“HELLLOOOOOO! Did you think we just came back here to sit down?” My blood began to boil and I took a deep breath.

“Oh wow you’re back I hardly noticed!” I hollered over the counter with a teeth-gritting laugh. I walked over to them.

“So what can I get you this time?” I had my hands in my pockets sure to look as disinterested as possible.

“Crossings Sauvignon Blanc and make sure it’s COLD.” The man said.

“Oh I’ll be sure to find the warmest possible bottle. Hell I’ll even pop it in the microwave for ya!” I said in devious jest. Of course we had literally just ran out of the Rosé ol’ mechanically separated beef arms had.

“Well could I get a taste of the other one?”

“No.”

I didn’t feel like telling her why. Truth is we aren’t allowed to give tastes which is unfortunate but it’s a corporate wine bar in an airport, what do you expect.

“You know what? I’m pissed off now. No ice, you run out of the wine I JUST had, and I can’t taste the damn wine? You guys REALLY need to rethink your setup here this is just awful.”

“I encourage you to contact some of the people who make these decisions and share your feelings, miss. The customer is always right.”

“Good idea! Why don’t you go ahead and give me your manager’s information!”

“I would be so glad to do that for you miss.”

Naturally I wrote down a fake name and email address. John Binns. This was a “professional skateboarder” from our town that my friends and I had an inside joke about for years. I happily provided her with his “info.”

Words cannot express the nature of the ever-revolving bullshit encountered on a daily basis. It’s chaos in one shape or another damn near every day. Yet on the contrary it’s rarely boring, which I reckon is the silver lining. A classic situation is people frantically realizing they need to board their plane and dropping this line: “Hey I have a flight to catch I gotta cash out.” Really? Holy shit let’s get you outta here buddy why didn’t you say so! Everybody else here is taking the train! Often they smash in front of people at the bar or counter and throw their card at you. I make sure to take my time when this happens.

The only way to deal with the shit-circus is to be a dick right back to these people, in a more clever subtle fashion, or just kill them with blatant fake kindness. Or start drinking. Or take a permanent vacation.

 

 

 

 

Smack Dab In the Middle of a Situation Overrun by Fools

Bomb scares, angry drunk women, obnoxious gingers bothering nice Indian men, and Macklemore. Pretty much sums up the past week at BNA.

First was the ordeal in which an entire Ft. Lauderdale bound Southwest plane had to evacuate right before take off. A nervous young girl at the bar was giving us the lowdown of the situation at hand. Apparently a belligerent man, unfortunately a man of Middle Eastern decent, was getting unruly on the plane and not complying with attendants. Not putting on his seatbelt and loud cursing, that kind of thing. Eventually the man had to be escorted off the plane, to which apparently he did very willfully without hesitation or argument. When he got off the plane somebody noticed that he’d left behind his phone and a gold box of sorts. This triggered a scare that forced everybody off and the police and bomb dogs to board the plane. I could see a group of policeman surrounding the man in question. How necessary this all was I don’t know, but apparently enough to halt 120-some people from getting to Florida. As time passed they deemed the plane unfit for flight, forcing the flyers to wait on another plane. It was a disturbing reality check that this shit actually happens, and not only scares but the real deal. So hard to fathom.

Shortly after the frantic young woman left, two middle-aged women arrived to the center of the bar, separately. One got her computer out like many do and got settled in.

“What’s your guys wi-fi password?” She asks.

“Our internet has been down for awhile now, but the airport has a general wi-fi for people but it sucks.” I said

“YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. What kind of place doesn’t have wi-fi nowadays? Seriously ridiculous.”

People are so reliant on wi-fi and plugs it’s completely insane. I would be lying if I said I don’t seek them out myself, but the amount of weasels that come in stripped of all decent, reasonable human qualities asking for either of the two is astounding. Like fucking zombies, people just walk in with a dumb blank face and come up to the bar saying “plugs? wi-fi? wi-fi? plugs?” Like yeah sure I get it but what about uttering out a five second greeting at least. A little “hey there, do you guys have wi-fi or perhaps a plug I can use? That’d be really swell.” Is that so much to ask? And we have to shoo away so many clueless assholes bumbling into the store to sit on the floor to charge like little brainless selfish zombies. I fantasize about headbutting all of them square in the nose.

Next to the woman whose lifeblood was wi-fi, sat a shockingly put-together drunk woman who hid the fact for a little while. She complained that the Chardonnay was corked, and upon smelling it I acknowledged it did waft a little funk to the nostrils. I gladly opened a new bottle and got her a new glass.

“You know sometimes a whole case of wine can be corked.” My compadre Susan said to the lady.

“Um no actually. It’s 2% of all wines that gets corked. It can never be a whole case.”

“Yes it CAN affect a whole case as a matter of fact.” Susan said in her enjoyable British accent.

“You’re wrong, I work with wine, I think I would know but thanks for trying.” The drunk woman snapped.

At this point Suzy Q had to walk away because she was boiling with anger, and believe you me this is a tiny older woman you don’t want to fight with. She will tear you limb from limb.

Regardless of who was right, the woman was being so unpleasant. After she cashed out, she not once, but twice attempted to pay her bill again.

“Look lady if you want me to buy a few things with your card I will, but you’ve already paid, I don’t know what else to tell you.” I said. She was visually embarrassed each time, and with a sloppy stroke of the hand signed the receipt and stumbled off into the sea of hasty travelers.

Finally was a jacked ginger fella sitting at the end of the bar next to a meek, mild Indian man quietly eating his tomato soup, not bothering a soul. The ginger was loud as hell from the start, asking me 21 questions and aggressively pointing to different items on the menu. Eventually he settled on the cheapest glass and when he lost my attention he started chatting with the Indian man.

“Hey bro how’s the soup? What’re you drinking? How is it?” He led in with some basics and they got talking a little more. The Indian man was clearly not comfortable talking with the buffoon, giving quiet one word answers. The Indian man fumbled a piece of crostini into his soup and it splattered on his shirt a bit.

“AW NO WAY DUUUUDE THAT BLOWS! How much was that shirt? Where’d you get it?” The Indian man was getting more and more frustrated. It was a long sleeve, crisp white button up now filled with pale red dots.

“So what do you do for work? A cardiologist? Whoa. What’s your actual title? Do you have any regrets?” Such a weird chain of questions, I thought. The poor guy couldn’t chug his wine and finish his soup fast enough.

“Wait a second are you on this flight to Houston? HELL YEAH BRO!” The Indian man died inside a little bit, and was soon on his way.

Oh, and I also passed Macklemore by the O’Charleys around gate C10 on my way to work. I got him in a headlock and we commenced into a good old fashioned wrestling match right in the middle of the walkway. I mean I got a creepy several seconds long Bigfoot-style video of him. What is life.

 

 

Sleeping Lady Gets Unruly

I figured I’d just go straight ahead Fred with the title. No beating around the bush with this one. What started out as a day like many others, ended in three security guards escorting a loud-mouthed woman “with a master’s degree” out of our store.

The woman had been hunched over at table 63 for nearly an hour, unbeknownst to us if it was alcohol related. She apparently only had one Moscato (about 7% alcohol) from us, a bit of knowledge that would’ve been handy when I attempted to move the beast. Regardless, she had to be asked to leave because we needed that table for awake customers.

When fellow co-worker of mine Margaret first asked her to kindly move elsewhere, she just put her head back down and payed no mind. “Hey will you get her out of here please?” Margaret asked.

It’s always fun asking unwanted people (campers i.e. freeloading shmuckos) to leave, so I gladly abided. This time was the most fun.

“Excuse me miss hey you need to get going please. You need to sleep somewhere else. We can’t have you sleeping on our table.”

“What? What?! I’m over here minding my own business I ain’t botherin’ nobody.”

“The thing is we are busy and we need this table for paying customers.”

“I AM A PAYING CUSTOMER DAMN IT! I PAID 12-13 DOLLARS FOR ONE OF YOUR DAMN MOSCATOS!”

“Well I didn’t know that, but still there are other places to relax so plea…”

“OH HELL NO. HELL NO. THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT. WHY YOU GOTTA COME BOTHER ME? I AINT DOIN’ NOTHIN.”

The thing is this shit happens all the time. We have to kick at least 7-10 people out a day, especially in the mornings. Most tend to understand and comply, or if we are deathly slow we let them hang.

At that point it was just me trying to talk over her and her getting louder and louder until I walked away repeating, “Hey thanks for being so pleasant and wonderful.” She got out of her seat and followed me back to the counter to continue yelling. Some customers were more captivated than others, but it evolved into quite the show.

“Why don’t YOU leave? OH WAIT this is your place of employment. You CAN’T leave. I have a master’s. I HAVE a master’s.” She kept saying to me.

“I don’t give a SHIT about your master’s!” We continued to exchange unpleasant conversation.

“It’s because I’m black isn’t it? Because I’m black? There was a little white boy yelling over there and you didn’t say nothin’ to him!” First of all there’s often yelling and bells and whistles and alarms going off all the time from every direction, just not directly inside our store.

“That is the most absurd thing I’ve heard miss. Completely uncalled for to say something like that. And I did not hear any little white boy yelling.” Eventually my boss stepped out from in back and diverted the hostile woman’s attention towards her. I then watched as a spectator into her non-stop blathering and trying to collect company info and our names.

Eventually the trusty airport police were hot on the scene and confronted the pacing woman. She was on the phone with someone from our headquarters. The airport po-po got her to sit down and the situation was divulged, ultimately having the unruly woman escorted out. Her ramblings and accusations were getting more and more distant as they took her off to airport jail or whatever they do.

I thought it was awesome. I just think of it as some TV show or a game like “Get the Crazy Lady Away and Win Another Strange Life Experience.” My boss and other co-workers were bent out of shape over it though. They care more about the integrity of the bar than I do.

And as fate would have it, a man caught a minute-long video of part of it. The quality is piss poor but you can hear some priceless snippets. Just another day in the war zone that is the airport.