Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Stupid in the City, part 1.


It is 8:32 at night and I am writing my blog as I promised to do for NaBloPoMo on BlogHer. However, I have run into the unfortunate problem that nothing has been funny today. Not from my point of view anyway. I am currently in that lunar cycle that they should rename your “lunatic cycle” of the month and I hate everyone. I don't hate people as bad as I hate Osama Bin Laden, just more often. As nothing would make me laugh today except possibly the annihilation of mankind, I thought I would share a true story with you about myself. This is Tena's favorite story about me and I remembered it while I was in the shower. No, I wasn't thinking of Tena in the shower... unless you're into that, and then maybe I was. Anyway...

I lived in Atlanta GA during the summer of the 1996 Olympics. My dad lived right on Peachtree street and I really did have a great summer. I went to Olympic park almost every day, went to the rhythmic gymnastics event, a baseball game and a basketball game. Either the baseball or basketball game was the American team against somebody, I can't remember now, but it was cool to see America unite in a sportsman-like manner and kick some international butt. I wandered all over Atlanta, completely unsupervised and I was only fifteen years old. I was in heaven. However, if you are going to spend money in heaven, you have to have a job in heaven and I did. I was a waitress at a coffee house / greasy spoon called the Copper Kettle. It is exactly like a Waffle House except for the name. The sign is even spelled in individual yellow blocks with black letters. This was the very same restaurant; I think the only difference in the menu was, you could order either pancakes or waffles, whereas at Waffle House, you were limited to waffles for fried breakfast batter.

I really did love working there. I met people from all over the world because we were owned by a Holiday Inn that was next door and of course it was packed with tourists. I was nice to everybody and everybody was nice to me, including a cop that asked me on a date without knowing I was fifteen. Upon telling him how old I was that was the first time I had ever seen anyone turn the color of cottage cheese. There were noisy happy french guys with long hair and an Eastern Indian guy who wanted an English muffin every morning with orange juice and a milk. People from everywhere. There were also homeless people that would come in and sit down as long as they could just to rest and drink coffee. One man in particular, that I will call Charlie, used to come in and sit in a booth and stretch out and doze on and off. Some of the other waitresses would toss him out because he was taking up time in a paying booth (booths are worth more because you can get more people in them. Short order waitresses hate it when one person comes in and sits in a booth. That's why they have the barstools), but I usually let him just snooze for a while. I would have never had the heart to throw a homeless person out of an air conditioned building in the middle of summer in Atlanta Georgia. Especially considering they wear everything they own. I saw Charlie almost every day and he got to where he would sit in my section because I didn't mind him.

I would work my butt off from four in the morning to noon, count my tips and leave, or if I worked the night shift I would work from three in the afternoon until eleven or twelve at night. I wore a black apron with huge pockets in which I stashed my tips throughout the day. I could clear $200 easy on a steady night and I was saving it all to buy my first car. So one night I took out the garbage bags to the great big metal dumpsters behind the restaurant, popped a cigarette between my lips and heaved the few bags inside, took a final drag off of my Marlboro and squashed it out in the parking lot. When I turned back around in the pitch black night I was looking down the barrel of a gun with Charlie attached to the other end of it. I think I said something profound like, “whoa”. Charlie was shaky and he said in this weird voice “Give me your money; your tip money from your apron. Do it!”. I blinked and looked at him and broke out in the biggest laugh of my life. “Jesus Christ Charlie! You scared me to death! Put that damn thing away!”, I shook my head at the funny prank Charlie had pulled on me and laughed as I walked away back into the building. That Charlie! What a goober! Ha Ha! Boy he got me that time! “Give me your money!” Ha Ha! That was great! I thought someone was after me! Whoo boy! I went went back to work, finished my shift and went home.

Then next morning my dad notices ole Charlie on the news. Charlie had spent the evening robbing people at gunpoint and was now on the local morning news.

That's right ladies and gentlemen. I was too dumb to get robbed. A man held me up at gunpoint and I thought it was a joke and walked away laughing at him. Sheer stupidity kept me safe that night. Most people would go to Atlanta or Philly or Chicago and end up missing. Not me. I don't know when I'm actually in danger. I just naively wander the planet assuming the best of everyone and because I take nothing seriously, I can't even be robbed properly. I can't imagine why Charlie didn't shoot me or at least run after me. The only thing I can possibly figure is that he had worked all day on how to handle what he was going to do. He had prepared himself for crying, pleading and begging. He'd probably prepared for a fight and maybe he even had a hide out. But I guarantee you he had not prepared himself for a case of stupidity. I have this picture in my head of me walking away laughing hysterically and him behind me in the shadows. His gun droops like its made out of rubber and makes a sound like a deflating balloon and him standing there watching me and just dropping his head and saying sadly to himself “Okay”.

Tomorrow I will continue my absurd adventure in Atlanta with yet another criminal mastermind, my lack of mind and it is oddly enough set in the same restaurant. This will be yet another true story...