I’m Not the King of Comedy

by pjmcbride

…although I come closer to it than Michael Stipe, who wrote that line for R.E.M.

HOW I SPEND MY SATURDAY OFF

–At Walgreen’s, obtaining the Best of All Possible Body Washes, Dove’s Deep Moisture. (I was absurdly thrilled to discover it has matching deodorant.) Hey, Unilever! Want to use me in one of your ads? I got a unique personal style and stuff!

–Get a big fat Thornton’s drink (resisting the urge to get a FREE MEAL of donut and the dreaded Roller Grill Item, because, well because I already ate lunch). Am forced to relinquish said drink at the bus stop, thanks to hard-line driver who goes by the book of No Food Or Drink On The Bus, even though most don’t care as long as it has a lid. “I’ll just have to litter instead,” I grumble, barely audibly, leaving the cup on the sidewalk at Franklin/St Joe, where I’m sure I’ll see it again when I next go by there on Friday. (Resolve to mention littering in Confession next week.) The front of the bus then proceeds to discuss my misdeed with the driver. “If you spill it, I have to wait until someone comes out to clean it up, and you wouldn’t believe how long that takes.” I wonder, if someone got on with a bag of groceries, would she make them leave that behind?

Now normally, I’d cling to my drink and sullenly walk home instead, but I needed to get to Mass this afternoon, so I had no choice. And then, like the eternal conflict between matter and anti-matter (or David Letterman’s conflict between humidifier and de-humidifier), I encountered someone who’s as oblivious to social cues as I am, but is an extrovert. I’d encountered her before, and she was thrilled to discover we were riding the bus to the same church, and talked nonstop, oblivious to personal-space issues, of which I have a bunch.

“Hello, my friend!” she says, recognizing me. (“I’m not your friend,” I think, in an uncharitable and un-Christian manner.) “Are you on the way to church?”

I nod curtly and look away, not smiling, praying–well, wishing fervently, anyway–that a clue is acquired before we reach our destination. Luckily, I nervously got off at the stop before the right one, and she mistakenly got off at the stop after the right one, so all was not lost. Now, Nick, do you understand what a big deal making friends with me actually was? We won’t even mention what a challenge Rom had, except to note that it took years.

And, since there’s got to be a segue in here somewhere, this brings us to…

THE CARE AND FEEDING OF A POLICE BEAST

Rom bought a bunch o’bananas for banana-nut bread and/or muffins, and offered me one to take to work. “So that Nick can steal it?” I said. He is a known banana thief, and has a problem with recidivism. Rom suggested taking two bananas to work, so that one could serve as a decoy. But I figure that, if I burn Nick with a cigarette once or twice, he’ll learn.

“How can you say that?!” Nick wails. “How could you even think it?” He cowers in the corner, wrapping his tail tightly around his body. However, his gleaming claws are still visible, since they are only partially retractable.

“I wouldn’t really,” I say hastily. “You know that.”

“Do I?” He wraps his tail so tightly that the end is on top of his head. “I believe I know nothing of the kind.”

Resisting the urge to remind him that he is only a beast, and his powers of knowledge are necessarily limited, I settle for, “You know you can trust me.”

“Trust you to do the right thing? You tried to bring a drink on the bus.”

“OK, OK! I’m sorry.”

He brightens. “Can I have a banana now?”

“Of course you can.” I toss him one, and he gulps it down, peel and all. Does he have time to actually taste anything? He looks oddly…smug. I suspect this was an example of what he calls Tactics.

WANDERING BACK TO MY ORIGINAL STORYLINE…

I was fiercely determined to get another fountain drink to replace the one I’d lost, so after Mass I stopped off at the Howell Cultural Center, a/k/a the gas station at Barker & Broadway, where there is always someone working on a car. (Q: How many guys does it take to work on a car? A: Five–one to do it, and four to tell him how it should be done.) I had to use their graffiti-and-cootie-festooned restroom–Now With Racial Slurs! Underneath a sentiment I won’t repeat here, someone had  added, “Get into a lifted Chevy like a redneck!” Um, OK. Whatever you say.

And, since no day is complete without a bit of Righteous Indignation (like I don’t get enough of that at work) (or in my own head, for that matter), a woman came in to buy oil for her car (at least I think it was oil–some bottle of automotive-related fluid, at any rate), asked the clerk the going price, and when he said $4.99, said,  “I ain’t payin’ that! I’ll go to Dollar General and get it for 2 bucks!,” as if the clerk had set the prices personally, and done it just to annoy her. Kind of like the policies of the bus service, when you think about it. And I do.

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