City #1 is in Torrance, CA.
The guy who ordered just before I arrived is losing his mind.
City #1 is in Torrance, CA.
The stupidity of people is astonishing at times.
It stuns me that some people can figure out how to draw breath.
I realize that I am kind of a dick and more than willing to think the worst of people, but this time, it is justified.
I would like you to meet Larry, Moe and Curly.
They are gentlemen of leisure in Marina Del Rey, California.
While the phrase “Gentlemen of leisure” usually describes pimps, in this case it describes the homeless.
Gentlemen of leisure is the first thing that came to mind when I saw them so it stays.
They are parked at a table for 3 outside of the Starbucks just across the way from the marina.
Homeless have 3 things to talk about. Just the 3 and nothing more. You can argue this one, but I listen to them a lot and I have yet to hear anyone break from this subject matter.
It is not often that I sit outside of a Starbucks.
I am always on a laptop and even on a cloudy day, it still fades the screen.
But for this three, I will make an exception.
And it all has to do with this phrase:
“Once my banker calls, my money issues are over.”
Here is why this phrase is an awesome one as far as conversation samples go.
Because the guy saying it is dressed in rags with really bad teeth.
And if that doesn’t scream meth at you, you might be half a tard to begin with.
I got my coffee and then hustled back outside to catch the show.
I know, its cruel, its bad karma, its judgemental, whatever.
Its still funny.
Larry, the down on his luck rich guy, has had a disagreement with his business partners.
It seems that he owns several companies, tech stuff, you know.
Anyway, his partners have tried to screw him out of his half.
Like the money is just piled up behind the office door, and while he was out, his evil partners just pushed it to the other side of the room and won’t give it back.
I would say its a childs view of how business works, but it doesn’t add in that distrusting meth factor.
Moe and Curly, have accepted all of his lies without blinking, that is a different side of the meth factor.
Right up until the final meth shoe drops.
“Bullshit.” Curly practically whispered it.
The effect on the table was dramatic.
Moe immediately drummed the table, happy and even yelled “OHHHH!”
Larry jumps up and is ready to fight.
“You calling me a liar?” His hands are curled into fists, except for the ring finger on the left hand, some sort of damage has it gnarled off to the side.
Curly has entered some sort of angry trance state and is staring straight ahead with a furious look on his face.
“I am saying bullshit!”
“Bet me, bet me.” Larry is now dancing from foot to foot, hand held out to shake on it. (Incidentally, this is EXACTLY how Fortune 500 CEO’s settle shit.)
“M-Fer! You don’t even have a cell phone!” That, it seems, is Curly’s whole issue with Larry’s tale.
Out of all of that, his lack of a cell phone is what red flags it?
And then the police arrive.
“Getting a little loud here, gentlemen.”
In my head, a gentle plea goes out.
(Officer, I totally respect what you do, but could you please go fuck off for 10 minutes?)
Not to be.
The presence of the local LEO has cut the debate short.
Homeless are crazy, but they have a basic understanding of what a bad idea it is to fuck around with the cops in the area.
In short order, Larry, Moe and Curly split up. Literally, they divi the compass into 3rds and each goes his separate way.
And as they left, one thought crept into my head.
At the next board of director’s meeting, Larry should lobby for some teeth.
Behind the counter at a Starbucks I like to call the “Icebox” is the cutest barrista in the world.
Adorable. Under 5 feet tall, little pixie of a girl with her hair in a ponytail and cute, not hot, face.
But that will not keep her from being shit on by The Man.
The Man, at least for the purpose of this blog is a white haired old dude in a white polo shirt and pressed cargo shorts.
Polo shirts are what business men wear during their off hours. Its like a suit for them, classifies and identifies them to their peers.
Its weird, but I read an article in Forbes that laid it all out.
The Man, is retired, but runs a tight ship.
From the moment he walked in, you could tell he was not pleased with all of us.
The brow furrowed, no doubt many a junior executive withered before the scorn of that scowl.
The right toe tapped impatiently.
The sigh was audible.
The case on the iPhone 5s is a bit of a status symbol. Its one of those cases that could survive a space shuttle crash, but they will pay for a new phone if there is a nuclear accident and it destroys his phone.
The entire attitude/ensemble/presentation is one that tells you, in no uncertain terms:
I AM THE MAN, AND DON’T FORGET IT, SHITHEAD!
His order was a high level workshop in concise ordering. Eye contact, voice of a proper timber and volume medium, with a crisp delivery.
Paid, and stepped immediately to the right to await proper assembly of his java beverage.
(Technically, his ordering of a caramel macchiato flies in the face of his post cold war masculine stance. But whatever.)
Enter the aforementioned, cut as a button, barrista.
She finished his macchiato in pretty much record time.
But she forgot his whipped cream.
The combination of whining/macho posturing that followed, was embarrassing to witness.
And then he got personal.
“Do you even know what your job is? Have you been TRAINED?”
Training is very important to The Man.
The actual amount of time it takes to apply whipped cream to The Man’s hot sunday can be measured in seconds, and not to many of them.
But that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to milk it out like a pissy little drama queen.
When he finally does stomp his chunky aging ass out the door, two guys that were sitting at a nearby table burst out laughing. One of the guys did a pretty weak mime impression of him. It was topical, but weak.
The barrista never paused, just continued making her wildly overpriced java creations for slightly over minimum wage and questionably attainable tuition reimbursement.
Because the line of paper cups with instructions written on them never seems to end.
Kind of a commercialism perpetual motion engine.
The only unanswered question from this whole scenario is whether or not the barrista indeed spat into The Man’s effeminate drink. (And before we go down that whole road of denial, yes they do. I know I would and I don’t think I am alone. I would probably do it a little more often and for lesser offenses that just being rude.)
Let that be the moral of the story.
Be nice, you never know when your attitude might cause a little extra shot of DNA into your beverage.
(If you didn’t catch that, here it is, plain and simple. “Don’t be an ass, people can and WILL spit in your food.” If you don’t think that exists, you are either naive or dumb, which is the same thing for practical purposes.)
Every now and then, I ask myself, “What would Jesus do?”
I am pretty sure the answer is not “Smack a bitch.”
Although, the guy at the next table seems to think that is a viable answer to the issue with his, I am guessing here, girlfriend.
Girlfriend is a very loose term that I gleaned from his frequent comments about, and I am quoting, “That wack bitch.”
Shakespeare was known to coin many words and phrases in the course of his writings, but I don’t believe he was the originator of “Wack bitch.”
Setting: Starbucks on Grand, El Segundo, California. 2nd table from the front. Morning, weekend.
1st table, right in the middle of a busy morning rush line, is The Player.
I am not sure who he is talking to based largely on his REALLY poor communication skills.
I thought he was talking to a friend about said “Wack Bitch”, and then, he made a comment about “You know what’s you done.” (Direct confusing quote there.)
I have no clue. (Then again, I don’t think I would be scooting that far out on a limb to say that The Player may not have a cache of clues squirreled away back at the house.)
Every now and then, I come across an example of humanity that really makes me dread the future of this country.
And I am fairly certain that hip hop is involved.
Don’t get me wrong, I used to listen to some of the most gritty, grungy, crappy music out there, but hip hop seems to have a rear-naked choke on raw intelligence that will not only end the fight, but the concept of intelligence itself may end up dead as a result.
The argument could be made that this is racist or class-derogatory or even as a reach, Moperic. (Google the word Mopery. Work with me here.)
If it sounds like I am being hard on the younger generation, please understand that its intentional.
Its not that I think they are dumb, far from it. (My own brilliant bloodlines excluded).
I KNOW the younger generation are dumb.
(Sidenote. I would use the crudish term “Tarded” here, but the sheer volume of hate email that follows takes hours to sort thru. And the incredibly poor grammar always gets nasty responses back from me, which only makes things worse. Shoot me, but for God’s sake, use a comma and look up the meaning of a double negative.)
I would worry about backlash from the younger generation, except that it is a well known fact that, unless accompanied by a pic, such as a 12-step affirmation printed on top of a low graphic photo on Facebook, they cannot read.
I would say that a formal declaration of war against ignorance has been made. My own particular brand of ignorance is hereby excluded.
Think of my perspective as the Geneva Convention of online blog wars except for the implied “Take no prisoners” clause.
As always, if any of this bothers you, feel free to write your own blog.
From a cathartic standpoint, this blog has always existed as a mental chamber pot that I routinely fill with the shit in my head, to be dumped out the window at random intervals, to land on the unsuspecting and the dumb.
Talk amongst yourselves.
Homicide is illegal.
I know this because the guy in the leather biker vest with the tattoos said so.
I remember it quite clearly. He had the guy in the suit backed up against the wall, not putting a hand on him, but asking the guy in the suit if he would like him to beat the shit out of him, because homicide is illegal.
And, while I am always on the side of law and order, I am in full agreement with the biker at this point.
I really do hope he beats the shit out of him.
Lets back it up for a moment.
See, I am not a cat person.
Everyone is free to get the pet they want and more power to them.
Cats however, are evil.
I think that is what happens when someone gets more than 2 cats.
They wait till you are asleep and then whisper things in your ear, vile things, atrocities that the mind can barely understand.
Maybe. I am not saying they do this FOR SURE.
I’m just saying maybe.
But this is not about cats.
Its about dogs.
I am a dog person. Dogs love you, care for you, worry about you and carry their own weight.
A dog once took a bite from a rattlesnake to save my brothers on a camping trip. My father drove across the desert in the middle of the night to save him. Awesome dog.
That, I think, is the one redeeming quality of modern society. That is what will pull us back from the abyss.
Apparently, the biker and I see eye to eye on this matter.
Enter the guy in the suit.
With his dog.
Its a cute little kickem dog, Pomeranian I think.
It doesn’t suit the guy in the suit, so I am going to assume it belongs to the wife/girlfriend, and he has brought the dog along while he gets his morning coffee at Starbucks.
But, its a shitty walk.
The guy in the suit seems to think that dogs can pee and shit while never breaking stride and inconveniencing him.
I followed him up the block from my parking space.
It was a block filled with cursing at the dog, yanking, hard, on the leash, and, at one point, dragging the dog.
He really is an asshole.
Even being 20 yards behind, I voiced an angry “HEY!” that only got me a dirty look as he turned the corner.
It was then I noticed the biker get off of his bike at the curb, right where the corner was, throw down his coffee and stomp around the corner after the suit and his dog.
Good, now we are all caught up.
I have not had my coffee yet, but this is worth waiting for.
Karma, it seems, has a whole new act and I must say, its about goddam time.
I realize there is a childish, school yard element to this, but what the hell?
Lets look at the biker as a surrogate for the dog.
He’s a little dog, and the suit is much larger than him.
Correspondingly, the biker is much larger than the suit.
In prison, that would make the suit his bitch.
That last line, although making me laugh, may have gone a bit to far.
Prison rape being a little much to witness before morning coffee, I am still rooting for the ass-whooping.
Alas, it was not to be.
The suit practically shit himself while spouting an extensive series of apologies and promises of proper dog care.
The biker let him go unharmed.
The suit left without heading in to get his coffee.
Hopefully, he remembers his promise to treat the dog better.
But that ass-whooping would have been sweet to watch.
Crazy never realizes its crazy, that is part of its charm.
Crazy is also pretty common.
Home grown crazy that is.
International crazy is a little more rare.
And German crazy is legendary.
I am in the Starbucks just a stones throw from Los Angeles International Airport.
Which is right across the street from the biggest, easiest hotel to get to on the main road leading into the airport.
Which means that, on a daily basis, you cannot swing a dead cat by the tail without smacking a tourist square in the melon.
Its late morning and I am well caffeinated.
Why am I not at work? That is an simple question with a complicated answer that I don’t feel like supplying.
Besides, I need something to write about, and I’m nowhere near as exciting as crazy and sarcastic.
And crazy and sarcastic is what I have found.
I have been here for awhile and need a caffeine refill.
The line is light, just a few people.
The woman in front of me is dressed conservatively, mid 40’s, blond hair that doesn’t appear dyed.
Speaking German into her cell phone.
Lets call her Ilsa. (Ingrid Bergman was the hottest thing on two feet in Casablanca.)
There is something sinister about the German language.
Whenever I hear it, I always imagine it being shouted from a podium.
And English with a German accent is even worse.
As she gets to the cashier, she gets off of her phone, unscrews the lid from her plastic Starbucks cup and hands it over.
“Iced coffee, please.” (Sinister German accent.)
“And could you WASH it please?” (Extra emphasis on Wash.)
The cashier is not phased, he nodes and takes it to the sink.
And that is when Ilsa drops the bomb.
“WASH it like YOU are going to drink out of it.”
And the cashier fires it right back.
“I would NEVER drink out of this.”
Take that shit, bitch!
Doesn’t even phase her.
“Please do not touch it to the bottom of the sink.”
There is a dynamic here that is difficult to convey.
Her OCD is obviously the cleaning/germaphob version.
And he is the jaded “Fuck you AND your coffee” cashier.
Its an awesome combo that plays well off of each other.
Once the nazi’s cup was cleaned, to the cashier’s snuff but certainly not hers, it was filled with ice and pour steaming, over-priced house drip over it.
As he handed it over, perhaps a little smirk playing at his lips, she aced his lob back for the game.
She wrinkled her nose, sniffed it disdainfully, glared at him and walked off.
Well played, Fraulein.
The busiest little coffee whorehouse in the world.
Back in the day, there were these little booth kiosks on the far side of the parking lot of your local department store.
Tiny little buildings that were called Photomats and it was drive thru film developing drop off and pick up.
This is before digital cameras came along and put them out of business.
There was enough room to house a clerk, a register, a filing cabinet for peoples pics, and film to sell.
This was before the automatic film deloping machine existed, all of that was done off site. But even if those machines did exist, they would not fit in that tiny little hut.
Why am I telling you this?
Because I am in a Starbucks that is roughly the size of 2 of those little buildings.
It is also the busiest Starbucks I have ever been in.
There are currently 47 people inside the building and another 20 outside.
In Yucca Valley, California.
For those that are unfamiliar with the local geography, Yucca valley is in the middle of nowhere and is not close to anything but the ground.
Tables to write at are as rare as a unicorn in this place.
However, I am Irish and was born with the luck, so I managed to secure a spot within 2 minutes of clearing the door jam.
As packed as this place is, the biggest question is, where do I start?
Lets go with the staff.
At first I thought the barista was really slow, there being several rows of logo cups with various things written on them all awaiting her attention.
However, after watching the barista, correction the TWO baristas, working at a fairly good clip, I came to the conclusion that the issue lies with the cashier.
He’s some sort of cashier rockstar. The man knows his shit.
Every move is quick, precise and flows into the next.
Its like a retail ballet. As impressive to behold as it is to realize that he makes minimum wage.
Side note – Before anyone climbs onto their soap box to screech about corporate greed and how can the cashier support a family of 5 on minimum wage, keep in mind that the job could also be done by any else off the street with minimal training, and that is why it shouldn’t pay more than minimum. There, said my piece.
The manager, it seems, is a good one, seems to grasp the fact that the manager is always moving and HAS to be a quick fill in helper at any point in the process.
In short, this TINY little Starbucks in the middle of fucking nowhere is absolutely rocking it.
And here I thought the only thing this area of Southern California was capable of doing well was cooking meth and hiding massive indoor pot farms.
I have a confession to make.
I am a geek, a nerd, call it what you will.
Played Dungeons & Dragons back in the 70’s kind of geek.
Collected comic books at the same. (Wish I’d kept the damn things properly, they’d be worth a fortune now.)
Throughout my childhood, there was one thing that sucked.
Super hero movies.
The special effects were always pure crap.
Not that they couldn’t be done incredibly, Star Wars showed that, its just that the studios would not put the money into a solid blockbuster film. (Christopher Reeves’ Superman came out in 1978 and, in my opinion, was so lame, it set back superhero movies by 20 years.)
And then came Spiderman.
Tobey Maguire was the SHIT!
It was a great film for 3 simple reasons:
1. Spiderman is much cooler than Superman.
2. The special effects were good enough that the film did what it set out to do without looking stupid.
3. Willem Dafoe died in the movie. (Few people die as well as Willem Dafoe. This is the stuff that Oscars are made of.)
Side note – If you are going to go to Starbucks for your morning coffee, DO NOT BATCH IN YOUR PERFUME!! Jesus lady, seriously?)
The latest example of an incredibly well made superhero film is Captain America – The Winter Soldier.
Wow. Loved it. Captain America has never been anybodies absolute favorite superhero.
But, using the Avengers movie as a springboard of good feeling, the Winter Soldier firmly entrenches the Captain as a staple of superhero movies.
Which is nice.
Geeks are coming into their own these days. You can thank guys like Bill Gates. I would mention Steve Jobs, but he always had that jazz guy vibe that make him kind of hip, so he doesn’t qualify.
A lot of women have figured out that geeks are generally paid better than your average guy, also, they are less likely to screw around with your sister while your out of town.
Side note – I never dated anyone with a hot sister, but I always wanted to. I would never go on the Jerry Springer show, but I would like to be eligible for an appearance.
Geeks also tend to have a better and more planned out retirement.
This blog has been written over the course of a few days. During this whole time, I have been watching the second film of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
And that is geek as good as it gets.
But, the world of geek is not all wine and roses.
Occasionally, you run into someone who just doesn’t get you, and that is never fun.
It leads to an awkward moment.
And the majority of life is spent avoiding awkward moments.
But sometimes you know they are coming, but there is not a damn thing to be done about it.
And thats even worse.
So say it once, say it loud…
I’m geek and I’m proud.
Not all of life is like the red carpet, no one usually cares who your wearing.
But do you give two shits WHAT your wearing?
Starbucks is always a mixed bag of humanity.
A majority are getting their caffeine on prior to heading to work.
Work always goes better with a nice caffeine edge.
And the work people are dressed for work so they are easy to spot.
The next group are the retirees.
Different dress code.
Comfort and sweat pants are a general theme.
Also, that sense of urgency is missing, these people are not in a hurry.
Being an older generation, they are dressed in more, rather than less.
Hands and heads are the only things uncovered.
The non-Muslim berka.
The next group is rare.
Not unicorn rare, but kind of like $50 lottery scratcher rare.
The best title I can come up with is “Walmart People.”
Trailer folk, or at least they should be.
Their sweats have loose elastic and allow for asscrack.
BO is common, so is a relaxed or just plain lazy hairstyle.
Let me make a point here.
There is a huge difference between Walmart People and the incredibly hot 20-something chick who slipped on some ill-fitting sweats, ugg boots, sloppy t-shirt and maybe panties in order to make a morning Starbucks run. She looks hot, its her place in things.
Walmart People are rarely Fortune 500 CEO’s.
Their orders are never expensive, but they are convoluted and difficult.
On that even more rare occasion that they are on a cell phone call, the conversation is always a verbal bag of cats. The “F” word is often muttered into the phone, used as a period in some cases.
The lady in line ahead of me is having just such a conversation.
Someone named Kella is supposed to “Get ma check.” And then the F-word was used as a noun, verb and interjection.
And then she left. Damn Starbucks and their quick order fulfillment.
Which leaves the last group of Starbucks customer that I will be talking about.
They are alternative, sometimes goth, oddly appearing folk that seem to go out of their way to be different. Hipster is a word that comes to mind.
But, and this is important, They are different, but almost cookie cutter identical to the rest of the Indie Folk.
Nothing new here, but they are firmly convinced there is something unique here.
They usually don’t accomplish much, when the accomplish anything, no matter how small, they scream it from the roof tops all the while claiming they are not doing just that.
And then there is me.
I watch people.
The aboriginal tribes of Australia believe that taking their picture steals a portion of their soul.
This is the kind of watching I do. I take a little something with me when I go.
Everything comes at a price. My price for starting and continuing this blog is to give up my filter. I am all but incapable of keeping my mouth shut.
It puts a little strain on relationships.
It also leads to taking a little too much delight in other peoples discomfort.
So be it. We are who we are.
Plus it makes for good reading.
Health insurance is now like a financial herpes.
Its worse than you ever thought it would be, the person that gave it to you lied about how bad it was, and you will never get rid of it.
Lucky us, we all made the same poor choice of who we took home from the dance.
Like your father said when you got the sex talk, make sure you wear a condom.
The reason for my disenchantment with comprehensive healthcare is that I started a new job and got my healthcare.
And a small get-by policy that I had 3 years ago has gotten worse and more than doubled in cost. ( Before you try to go down the “It’s better” road, don’t. I went over the premiums and coverage, its not.
Lots of people are in the same boat.
However, if you voice your concern about the financial prison rape that goes on, depending on what state you are in, your state senator will call you a liar.
And nobody seems to give a shit.
Oh well, this would not be the first time that the government has lied thru their teeth and screwed us in the process.
The above sentences have now placed me on a No-fly list and for the next few years, I will be under a sort of “House arrest” in the state of California, without the indignity of an ankle bracelet.
That being said, this pissy little rant was brought on by 2 different things.
The first is the healthcare discussion going on at the next table.
There are two early twenty somethings not really discussing, but rather whining incessantly about the fact that, despite the fact that they voted for and were in favor of the Affordable Blah Blah Blah they are now shocked that they both have to buy it, and it is not cheaper as promised.
I remember the early twenties, its a period marked by its hapless stupidity.
Regardless of what party you belong to, we can all agree that we’re just fucked in this together.
After 300+ words of soapbox type pontificating, lets move on to something more fun.
There are two hot ladies making out at one of the tables.
I know, I know, its a juvenile thing, objectifies women, but its still cool.
Besides, if you are going to make out in a Starbucks on the cheap cushions of the bench seat, then you obviously, on some level, want people to watch.
And some of us will. Shamelessly.
There is a basic male fantasy that most men have, even the guys who claim they don’t.
Its the whole sexy lesbians thing. Its not a mature thing, its dumb and bigoted, and anyone with a set of testicles is drawn to it like a moth to a bug light.
It may make you a dick and politically incorrect, but it doesn’t make you a bad person.
I once dated a girl who liked to make out in public. She was into the passion, but she needed the people around her involved to be a part of it.
So, looked at that way, they are sharing it all with us.
Its always nice to be included.