12/5/09

High School Reunion At Starbucks

I am still working on my “top ten comedies”. The list is hard. I have about 30 movies listed and still adding more. Breaking it down to only ten movies is going to take some time. If I starbucks-logocan’t get that posted this week, I’ll jump to another genre. Till then, I am treating you to a fictional story I wrote a year or so ago. I did go to my high school reunion. The title of this story is, “High School Reunion At Starbucks”. I wrote this well before the reunion. The day of the reunion, I decided to stop off at Starbucks. I really ran into Mark there. Towards the end, when I talk about his failed life and what not, that’s all untrue. He is doing quite well for himself. I just thought it was the bee’s knees when I saw him at Starbucks. I thought of this story instantly.

I have met a lot of people in my life. So many, I could write a book about them. Recently, I met an old friend from high school. After our meeting, it got me to thinking about lots of things. The people we know, old friends, and new ones. This will help explain how small our little world is. I don’t like when people start asking me about my personal life at work. I am all cool with it when it’s other employees. But when it comes to customers, I want to strangle them. Just reach over the counter and choke the life out of them. I would never do that but sometimes I wish I did. You see, it’s like this. I will be at work, doing whatever it is I do. Usually, I hold a clipboard in my hand and pace back and forth. I scratch my head and rub my eyes for some added effect. I look busy so normally people will leave me alone. “Stand back! He’s got a clipboard and he’s pacing! He’s got to be busy and I bet someone important.” It’s a trick I learned from someone else. Works well for me. If I can’t find my clipboard, I assist someone at the counter. I’ll be nice and serve them. While I am serving them, they like to chit chat. They talk about the weather, a party they are going to, or if it’s the holiday, they will talk about that. Every once and while, I get that one person who knows me.

We have that awkward silence between us. You know when you recognize someone but aren’t really sure if it’s them. You don’t want to come off as a fool and mistake them for someone else. That’s happened to me twice. Once, I was at mall and I saw someone from the back. I thought it was a teacher I had in high school. I run up to them and said something smartass. Well, they turned around, gave me a few choice words then went about their way. Another time could have possibly got me killed or at least got a hit put on me. I worked with this guy. He was from Trinidad. He had two cousins. One was a really big guy. He was quite scary. The other cousin was like a giant twig without leaves. So twig cousin was a bad person. He broke the law a few times and stole from the cookie jar from my store. He was forbidden to ever enter the store again Big cousin was a giant teddy bear but if he wanted, he could kill you. He was allowed in the store.  . I had no knowledge of which one was not allowed in .Well…I was at work one night and I saw teddy bear cousin in there. A manger walked by and I said to him, “Isn’t that ‘Jim’s’ cousin?” The manager freaked! “Are you sure!? Is it?” He ran to the phone to call the cops. I tried to explain to him that I wasn’t sure which cousin was allowed in the store. He didn’t listen and called. “Are you sure that’s him? Because I am calling the police right now.” I told him I’m sure that’s his cousin. I said he had two cousins…oh well. It didn’t mean anything. Cause some time later the police arrived and met big teddy bear at the doors. I was called up front to identify him. It was a big mess. BTB (big teddy bear is too long to type but I just typed it again, so there was no point to type it like that). Well months later, I am heading home and who is walking in?? You got it! BTB! He looks at me and I look at him. “You going to call the cops on me again [censored] [censored]?” I smiled and said, “No.” So if you are ever in a situation where it involves two cousins (one good…two legs baaaaaad), make sure you know which one is the criminal. You might get to see an aluminum bat up close. I was never attacked with a bat, but I almost got ran over by one of them in a car. Wasn’t sure if it was a planned attack or just bad driving. Either way, be careful.

Where was I? A lady one day was giving me this look. She knew me somewhere. After I finished giving her the salad, she sighed and said, “Aren’t you ‘so and so’s’ son?” (I will not say my mom’s name. I would call her Pitler’s mom but that name got lame. When you see ‘so and so’, that will be my mom. So don’t forget. I will have a quiz at the end of this post. So be ready for it.) I nod. She smiles and laughs. “Your mom is a wonderful woman! It’s been so long since I have seen her. Is she still at [name removed]?” Wow. You aren’t lying. It has been a long time since you have seen her. Cause my mom hasn’t worked there in about 8 years. I don’t even know how the remember me. I then look down and see my name tag. Ah…the last name probably gave it away. She thanks me for her food and says by. Before she leaves she tells me, “Tell your mom I said hello!” Okay! Will do. She leaves, I walk away. Stop. Scratch my head then turn around. Okay…so who was she? People do this all the time! They really think I know them. I don’t. Why do you assume I do? Sometimes I will remember them but for a good laugh, I’ll pretend that I don’t know them. Once and while they will ask me if I remember them. I will but I will be “um…no. I’m sorry. Did I go to school with your son?” She’ll shake her head. “No…You went to school with Julie.” I remember Julie. I liked Julie. Her dad was a cool guy. I see him every so often. I don’t think he remembers me.

Once in school we had a mock trial to put on. He was my lawyer. We ended up losing the case. And I was the innocent one! I was an innocent man in prison! I am going off topic. Anyway, so Julia’s mom will keep trying to get me to remember her and Julie. But I will play the dumb card and just be “sorry. I don’t remember you or her.” When I see my mom, I tell her someone said hello. She’ll ask who. “Don’t know. But some lady knew us and wanted me to say hi. So, hi.”

I wish these people would give me their names. It happens a lot. I was minding my own business one day when this lady walked up to me. First of all, she was being really mean to me. She was barking out questions, demanding this and that from me. I wasn’t in any place to be a jerk to her. I did whatever she asked of me. She was looking over some stuff, then looked at me, looked back down, and then looked at me again. “Hey! You’re ‘so and so’s son!” I figured this would be my chance to win her over and maybe make her like me some. I would have joked with her but I doubt this lady was the joking type. “Yeah. She’s my mom.’ We talked for a while about her. She also praised my mother. My mother must be an amazing woman, because these people all talk so highly of her. It’s sad that I am letting her down. The lady was nice at the end. She handed me back my license and let me off with a warning. Come on! Give me a ticket! I just want to know you’re name! I should have checked out her badge to see her name but when you’re being pulled over, I didn’t even look at her badge. I just looked forward. If I didn’t see the stoplight, how the hell am I going to even see her badge? A ticket would have been great! I would have at least got her name. I could have told my mom that “Ms. I don’t know her name” pulled me over to just say hello.

It just very nerve racking when I don’t know who people are. I know a lot of people. I have met a lot of people in my day. You work at a job for 14 years, you’re bound to know a few folks. I once made a list of all the people I worked with. Not the entire store, just those in my department. How I remembered them all, I don’t know. I maybe missed a few. I came to a total of 200 names. That’s a lot of people! I think it’s funny that since I left high school, I have seen maybe 3 or 4 former classmates. Of those people, I hated them all. I hated all my classmates. Which brings me to the point of all this.

I was out driving one morning. I was hung-over that morning. I like coffee in the morning after a long night of drinking. It helps. I get to Starbucks and walk in. I don’t even know why I drink there. I really don’t like Starbucks coffee. It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. Maybe I go there because everyone else does. You see someone with a Starbucks coffee and you think, “Oh! They drink Starbucks! They must be hip! Only the hip and socially acceptable people drink there. Maybe that’s why I drink it. I know I don’t drink there for the price. It used to be the closet Starbucks to my house. We recently added one inside my store. I don’t buy coffee from there. I go to the real Starbucks. I will pass by the Starbucks in my store. I will sometimes stop and chat with them. I could easily get coffee there but no. I leave and drive to a real Starbucks. I shouldn’t really call it “the real Starbucks”. I am sure they’re both real. I just rather go to a Starbucks only place. I love KFC chicken. I really do. I love Popeye’s more but KFC is a better example for my awkwardness. There is a KFC 5 minutes from where I live. It’s one of those half and half places. You know the ones I am talking about. They put two restaurant places in one building. This one has an A&W and a KFC’s. Now I could go there and get KFC and be back home quickly but I can’t eat there. I have to drive another ten minutes to get to a real KFC. A stand alone KFC. Why? I don’t know. I think it’s better. Even the post office. I don’t use the post office stations at grocery stores or what not. I go to the real thing. Again, you ask why? Cause the mail gets delivered faster. At least I think it does. I am an awkward guy. So shut up.

I go inside the real Starbucks. I see the normal crowd there. I go there a lot. So I know the normal crowd. It seems to be the same people that go there. Outside, we got the emoish looking kids. They smoke and drink their coffee and probably talk about how much their lives suck. I don’t know. I don’t ease drop on their conversation. I am not Kelly. We got this old who sits alone. He is a really nice man. I wish he was my grandpa. I don’t want him to be just like my grandpa. If I did, he would be dead. I just wish you could like adopt old people. I’ve known him for years. He is a regular at my store. At least he was. He doesn’t come in anymore. Then there is this other guy. He is always there. Even when I don’t stop in, he’s there. My mom tells me about him when she she’s him. He wears a suit. I assume he’s a business man. He works on a laptop. That helps with my reasoning to say he’s a business man. His laptop is gray and has a few stickers on it. One is of a big yellow smiley face. The other is an Elvis Presley sticker. He’s got his hip jive going. He’s in a purple suit and just jiving away. You know how cool it would be if that sticker like really moved? I often wonder what this big guy does. He’s a really big guy. Not over weight big, but he probably does enjoy a nice Big Mac (or a Whopper, depending on his fast food choice) or three. I wonder if he is married? Is he single? I never get a chance to check him out. Even though that sounded really bad, I do check him out. I like to observe people. It’s what I do. He watches me too. Big Mac (that’s his name now) stares at me. Maybe he stares at everyone who walks in. I don’t know. But he watches me when I order my coffee. Dude…stop. Seriously. It’s really freaking me out. I don’t know. It shouldn’t really matter what he does or if he’s married or not. I will never hang out with him. There is never going to be some big “real Starbucks” pow wow between us, emoish kids and the old man. It’s not going to happen. Sorry. So yeah…Big Mac is always there. He just sips on his coffee, works on his laptop. That’s one thing I plan on figuring out. I want to know what he is working on. Is it some manifesto? Is it a book? Some TPS report? Maybe he’s play minesweeper or spider solitaire (I play SS all the time. I am up to 167 games so far). Speaking of the manifesto, there was this customer. His name was Larry. He smelled like onions. Not fresh onions but rotting onions. He always wore this plaid shirt that he probably found in the street, a ball cap and drank coffee for hours. I wonder if he made his way to “the real Starbucks”. I don’t know. We offer free refills, they don’t. So any way’s, Rotting Onions would get coffee and just write on paper. It wasn’t a notebook or even like a couple pieces of paper. It was always one sheet of paper. By his forth cup, the paper would be covered in ink. Wonder how many octopus’ he killed writing that. Well one day Rotting Onions forgot his paper on the table. One of the employees’s picked it up. We all wondered what he wrote about. That day, the mystery was solved. Turns out, he was writing some bizarre story or something. We never fully understood it. In his writings, Rotting Onions talked about how my store had a secret bunker hidden beneath the store. In this bunker, we had an arsenal of weapons. Guns, tanks, ammos, missiles, etc…WMA’s. (Saddam didn’t have them, we did.). Turns out our company was planning a hostile take over of the city. I can kind of understand him. I mean, they always saw how if a war was to break out, the Midwest would be the first to go. Since my company is Midwest based, I am sure he believes each store has a bunker. So were like working for the government. In case of an attack, we’ll be set. An attack would be bad. I hate to be the one to clean up the spill in aisle thirteen.

Like I said, this guy was weird. I wish I had that paper. I was promised it but my friend never gave it to me. If I had it, I would share it with you all. It was quite an eye opener. So Big Mac stares at me. I am in line. There are two people in front of me. The lady at the counter is another regular. I don’t know her. Maybe she’s new or maybe she comes in the times I am not there. She is all cheerful and chit chatting. She is talking about Russ. How Russ did this and did that. At first I thought she was talking about her son or her grandpa with a weak bladder, because she said how Russ went, and this is how she said it. How Russ went “pee pee” all over the couch. The gal behind the counter (btw…she is like totally hot) is all, “oh no! He did! That’s terrible!” She talked more about Russ. Turns out, Russ is her dog. I found that out when she said she hit him with a newspaper. I guess that works on dogs. Be funny as hell if she hit her kids or weak bladder gramps with it. I would pay to see that. I was getting impatient. I hate waiting in lines. It’s so annoying. Can’t you just order your coffee and leave? That’s all I do. I don’t chit chat. I just move on. I nod and smile and sometimes I say, “Long day”, when actually it hasn’t been. I just say that because I rather not talk about my day to a complete stranger. Sometimes when I go to the barber, they want to chit chat. I don’t like chatting. Cut my hair and let me get on my way. Now if it was the hot behind the counter girl, I’ll talk to her. I do…but she’s an exception. Well the pee pee chick orders her drink. I don’t even know what she ordered. I don’t even get half the drinks Starbucks sells. Double mocha latte no shot cream with dust…yada yada yada…or whatever. Order a coffee. It’s that simple. How did ordering a coffee become so time consuming? There should be only two options for coffee. Regular or Decaf. Nothing else.

She gets her crap in a cup and leaves. As she leaves, a relief comes over me. Turns out Big Mac stares at everyone or he too was amazed at the Russ the couch pisser story, which he had to get a glimpse at the animal abuser. Maybe he works ASPCA. Finally, I am closer to ordering my coffee. I love that feeling. When you get closer to the counter. You feel like you’ve been waiting for hours. You get one step closer and it gets you all excited. Then when you finally reach the front of the line, you act all superior to everyone else. It is like, “Hey! Look at me! Look where I am! Now stop and look where you are. Pretty lonely back there, huh? You have fun waiting while I pay for my merchandise and head home” It’s a great sense of accomplishment.

There is one guy in front of me. This dude is really short. He better not have some pee story to tell the hot chick behind the counter. I don’t want any stories. Just order your coffee and go. I want coffee. I got a hangover. Not really a hangover per se, I just felt icky (thanks Kelly­). I need my coffee to fell better. He didn’t order coffee. He had to order some strange brew. Add this, take that out, double this, and triple this please. Some people shouldn’t be allowed to drink coffee. The hot chick asked him for his name. He replied, “Mark.” I don’t know why but I heard that. His name got my brain ticking. Cause I know a Mark. I know a short Mark. Actually I know two short Mark’s but one is hairy and one isn’t. The one in front of me is nonhairy Mark. So Mark turns around. He did this sort of step to the side and spin thingy. I was stepping forward cause be was stepping aside. But we sort of bump into each other. “Excuse me.” I say, “Sorry.” I shouldn’t even be sorry. I didn’t’ do anything. He ran in to me. I just say Sorry a lot. It’s a bad habit. I try to break it but can’t. Sorry.

“HEY!” Mark says. He recognized me. But from where. I know short nonhairy Mark from somewhere…I just…can’t pinpoint where. It was like those times I mentioned earlier when you both know each other but just aren’t sure where. He must know me and remember me but I couldn’t. Like I said, I know a lot of people. He all, “what’s up?” I am trying to order coffee but someone wants to reminisce about old times. I obviously don’t care what’s new with you. If you could brew me a cup of coffee, then maybe we’ll chit chat about nothing. For now, leave me alone and let me get my coffee. I felt bad for being really mean. I kind of shooed him off when it was my turn in line. I mean it was either talk to short round or talk to hot chick behind the counter. It wasn’t that hard of decision. She smiled at me and asked me what I wanted. “I’ll make it easy for you.” I said I just want a black coffee.  That’s how coffee should be. Just black. I don’t even know what cream and sugar taste like in coffee. I have never tried it. I don’t know if I would even like it.

When I was little, I was dragged to church. I never liked church at all. There were only two upsides to church. I got to get an extra hour of sleep in those really comfortable wooden pews. On Sunday’s after mass, they had coffee and donuts. Why it was the highlight of Sunday mass…I don’t know. The donuts weren’t anything spectacular. They had only two kinds. They offered glazed and those plain cake donuts. Does anyone actually eat plain cake donuts? Those are disgusting. But it was free and it was sugar. You’re like 12 or 13…free donuts is a gift from God. Since I was a kid, I didn’t drink coffee. I don’t know how many kids do. I am sure more do now. Seems like kids are growing up faster than ever. But anyway, instead of coffee, the church people offered “juice” for kids. I don’t know who decided to call this stuff juice. I don’t even want to know the person who decided that, “Wow! This stuff taste great! Let’s make gallons of this stuff and ship it off to school and churches!” It’s not even juice. I can’t explain what it is. You assume it’s orange juice. I mean the bulletin says, “coffee, donuts and juice.” Juice should have pulp in it. Not powder floating on top. So we figured it wasn’t juice and it wasn’t slice. I loved Slice! It was the coolest thing. It was Sunkist, but I liked Slice. Cause saying Slice was much more fun.

So it wasn’t either of those two. What is the church trying to pass off as juice? It was the nastiest stuff ever. I can still taste it to this day. So I finally decided I am fed up with this juice scam. I figured I want to be an adult, so I went for coffee. You get this little Styrofoam cup. It was like one sip and that was to satisfy your thirst. Plus those cups were the cheapest cups ever. Every sip you take from those cups, you somehow chew off a section of it. By the time you’re done with your coffee, you got a cup the size of a Petri dish. Where is the money we put in those baskets going? Obviously it’s not going to the real juice and better cup fund. So I get my coffee. I take a sip. Wow…this stuff is hot. But I feel older already. I can’t feel my tongue but I could feel the chest hair already coming in. I look around. Why are those people putting that stuff in their coffee? Should I do that? But that looks like a lot of work. Plus, they aren’t all putting in the same amount. That’s too confusing. I will just stick with it like this.

So that’s why I drink my coffee black. I was never sure of how much to put in. I wonder if I did start putting in sugar and cream, if I would like it more. But I don’t like change or cash (I prefer debit), so doing so will ruin everything and ruin my life as I know it.

I get my coffee ordered. I slide my card and we begin some small talk. She asked how my day was going, so far. Told her, “it’s going to be a long day.” I get my coffee and try to go about my way. Mark is standing by that counter where they drop off your drinks. He gets his and starts to follow me. I really didn’t want to talk to him. I don’t even know you. I mean I do, I just can’t remember where. Was it school or was it work?

It’s always strange seeing customers outside of work. It’s like when you see your teachers outside of school. They leave school? They eat? They shop? I thought they just teach. I even hung out at the bar with a customer once. It was strange. We were talking about work and how much it sucks and all. There he is, just sitting there. He would sip on his beer and add a comment in every so often. A customer once tried to get me to meet him at a playground. A big “gepedo” light went off. I christened him “Norman Bates”. He would come in with his mother. She had to be at least 90. He was the biggest jerk to her. He would force food down here throat. Maybe he was helping her eat but when he’s using a crowbar to open her mouth and ramming a funnel down her mouth, that doesn’t look much like assistance. How him and got to the topic of writing but we did. I told him I write and what do you know? He writes too. So he was all, “why not we meet at the park and I’ll order a pizza. We can talk about our writings.” Okay…but what about your mom? You going to bungee cord her to the back of your van? True story. He drove this huge van. He would park his van and get out. He opened the back doors to the van and pulled out two 2 x 4’s then made a small ramp for his mother. He would crawl into the van; untie his mother from the bungee cord. Not her really, but her wheelchair. Then he walks backwards and wheels her down the ramp. Funny stuff. Don’t judge me. I was 16 or so when he did this. I was immature back then. Hell…I still am now.

So Norman Bates invited me to the park one day. I’m not going anywhere with you. And a park!? You serious? The park would be like eye candy to you. We never did share our stories. Too bad. So customer’s outside of work is a bad thing. Nothing good comes of it. I have spotted a few others. Sometimes I feel like I am in the hunt for Bigfoot when I spot one. “Look there’s one now!” I have another story I could tell about a customer. But I am not 100% sure if it’s true, so I’ll leave that one alone. I only write the truth.

After I thought a bit, I finally remembered where I knew nonhairy Mark from. I went to high school with him. Wow…that makes five people I have seen out of school. Let’s see…I have seen one at my job. I’ve seen another at a gas station (he was buying alcohol…so was I. we should have totally hung out), and I saw two others at a restaurant together. So I guess they still hang out. I never hung out with people from my high school. I didn’t like them. I am sure they didn’t like me either. Which is hard to believe, but not many people liked me. I mean it was your typical high school. But my class was one big clique. Everyone knew everyone. They were all friends; they all hung out and partied together. I was forced to go to Prom. That was my hard earned money thrown away. I never got invited to a party. No wait…I did. Graduation. A classmate asked me if I was going to go to her big party that night after graduation. Why did she ask me? She didn’t even like me. Maybe I was thinking too much into it. But I envisioned that at the end of the night, I would end up covered in pig’s blood and walking out of a burning gym. I had this big smile on my face. I looked like some kid on Christmas morning. “Yeah! That sounds awesome! Wow…Can you believe it? We made it.” I looked around. “I’ve had some pretty good memories here.” She gave me some piece of paper with directions on it. At the bottom it said in big bold letters, “NO ALCOHOL. ;). A wink smiley? Are you [censored] serious? Why not just say, “DON’T BRING ANY ALCOHOL. MY PARENTS ARE HIP TO OUR GENEREATION AND WILL SUPPLY US WITH THE ALL THE ALCOHOL WE NEED.” That would work a lot better. I didn’t even drink when I was in high school. Another reason why I wasn’t quote cool end quote back then. So why would I even go to this party? Why invite the uncool guy? I was tied to a chair once in class (I let them…it wasn’t like I was bullied.), I was thrown in to a brick wall, (that wasn’t my idea. I was talking smack on some guy…afterwards I had to show him what the definition of sarcasm meant), and dropped head first into a trashcan. (A teacher did that. I could have did some big lawsuit, but suing your school wasn’t cool till about 2001)

I took the directions and let her know so much enthusiasm (I sucked all the enthusiasm out of the room at that moment), “I will be there! And don’t worry. I won’t bring any alcohol. We’re minors. We obey the law.” Then I winked. I had to! The directions said to wink. She thanked me and ran about her merry cliquey way. You know…I didn’t like you when I was a freshman, a sophomore, a junior, or a senior. Why would I want to hang with you after high school? Run along little lady. Your clique is waiting.

Nonhairy Mark (which is becoming really a pain in the ass to write. I’ll call him…) and I were walking and talking. Big Mac watched us as we walked by. Maybe he wanted to ask us if us three could all go to the park together and share stories. I didn’t see a van parked out front and this guy didn’t scream taxidermist. So if we did agree to go with him, I wouldn’t fear for my life. But he didn’t ask us anything. He just sat there and watched us walk by. We took a table near the window. I had to decide which seat to take. Do I face the old man or do I face Big Mac? It was a tough choice. If I face Big Mac, he’ll stare at me the whole time. If I picked to face the old man, I wouldn’t know if Big Mac is staring at me. It would freak me out more not knowing if he was staring at me. So I took the lesser of the two evils and had my back towards the old man. Mark was all excited about seeing me. I couldn’t figure out why. He just grinned and nodded a lot. I was focusing more on Big Mac. Why does he bring a laptop in? It’s not like he uses it. He just watches people. But I do that too. At least I am not obvious about it. Mark turned around to see what was getting all my attention. He asked about Big Mac. I explained all about Big Mac to him. Mark wasn’t really interested. He just shrugged it off and began to interrogate me. We started talking about work. I told him about my job and how I am still doing it after all these years. He remembered when I first started there. He laughed and said, “I figured you would have moved on.” Nope. I haven’t. I asked him about his job. I waited. I asked again about his job. I looked at my watch. “I got places to go. You want to tell me about your great job or just sit there and look stupid?” Turns out, he was compiling a list a jobs. Did you see what I wrote? Jobs. Plural. That means more than one. Not saying having more than one job is bad. It’s actually a good thing. But when you have to borrow one of my hands to tell me all the jobs you have had, yeah…that’s bad. I just don’t like people who jump around from job to job. He’s been everything! I can’t remember them all but a few jobs he held were, waiter, he did the fast food thing, um….oh! He worked at Best Buy. He loved that. He said the discounts were the best and the only reason he took that job. He worked with a buddy mowing lawns but that fell through when they got in some tiff. They aren’t friends anymore. Now, he said he sold cars for a while, but I didn’t believe him. Right now he’s checking out his options. Checking out your options? What? McDonalds or Burger King? Go with the Arch. They have flexible hours. I worked at the Arch.

I worked there for three months. It was horrible. I called in once and played hooky. I was at my main job and a manager asked me if I wanted to go to a football game. I was shocked. Why did he ask me? No one ever asks me.  I told him I would love to but I work my other job. “Do you like that job?” I told him no. Then he tells me to call in! A manager said to call in and play sick. “What if I did that here?” He said if I did, he would fire me. Cool. So I called in. Lady got pissed. I said I had a headache or something. I come to find out the night I called in, the big boys came in and wanted the whole place scrubbed down. When I gave them my two weeks notice, I said I was sorry. “Sorry but I can’t work here anymore. My other job is taking all my time. If you ever would like me to come back, don’t call me. Because I am never coming back.” True Story. I really wrote that. I hated that place.

I wear this ring. Wait…I used to wear this ring. People would always ask me, “Are you married?” No. I am not married. Then like they are trying to prove me wrong, they shake their finger at me. “There! There! What’s that then!?” It’s a ring! What’s the big deal about it? Oh…and before you try to look smart, think about what hand it’s on. I wear it on my right hand. Not the left. I bought this ring because of a trip I went on to Vegas. I went with a girl from work. We were just friends. Notice how I said “were friends”. She hates me now. Go figure. So people thought we were going to get married there. We bought rings to have some fun with it. She ended up selling hers and I kept mine. Sorry, I tend to run off topic for no apparent reason. But this does relate to the topic. Mark notices the ring. Here we go again. No Mark. I am not married. I explained why I wear it and he looked at me like I was an ass or something. He was married. He told me that. It didn’t work out. That’s all he told me. It just didn’t work out. I sat there and wondered why. Maybe she put the cookie jar on the top shelf and he couldn’t reach it. He didn’t seem to mind that it was over. Unless he played it off but was really hurting inside cursing god for making him a staggering four foot nine. I kid. He was about five foot. I kept the conversation going. I asked about kids. It is going to hurt my mom. I am not going to carrying on the family gene. I don’t want kids. I am sure I would be a great father, unlike some people I know. I knew this customer. She/He (long story…okay. actually quite short. Some guy’s girlfriend dies and he became her. He wears women’s clothes, the whole deal)…so anyway. One day, I was talking to him. He would come in with a baby. A doll. I think it was a cabbage patch one. I don’t know. One day he came in with no baby. I thought, okay. Maybe he ended that charade. “Where’s your baby at?” I asked him/her. He replies, “In the car.” You left your baby in the car? Are you sick? If you did leave your baby in the car, I hope you at least rolled the windows down. It was summer and I was afraid that under that extreme heat, the sun would melt his baby. I would never be that bad of a father. I just rather not have kids and deal with bedtime stories, school and PTA meetings. You might be asking yourself how I know about him/hers past. A guy I worked with knew him before he became a she.

Mark has 3 kids. Three!? Are you serious? If I ever had kids, I would stop at one. Even one is pushing it. I can already see myself at the hospital.

Me: Push!

My Wife: I am!

Me: The doctor, not you.

Don’t they say the average household has like 3 ½ kids? I am still undecided on which half I would want. So Mark has three kids. The wife has the kids. He still seems them though. It’s strange to see people I knew from school and to hear they have kids? I am still a kid myself. I wonder if maybe I should set Mark up with Kelly. They would be a perfect match. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. I am not the best person to turn to when someone needs a shoulder to cry on. I wear a leather coat and can’t afford to have it ruined. He’s opening up to me about his personal problems. I mean my life compared to his, I live a great life. Big Mac was looking at us again. Why does he keep staring at us? What does he want? I got a cold chill. It was a real uneasy feeling to know that someone is watching you. I can’t go to clubs. When I did go, my friends would drag me out on the dance floor. I just couldn’t dance. I can’t even dance. But I feel like all the people are watching me. This is why I normally hide in the corner at parties.

Mark asked about my life. What I am doing, what I have done. I left out all the nasty stuff. I rather make myself look good than try to have a battle of who has the worst life. But when I thought about, even now when I think about it, my life is ten times better than his. It’s nice to know that I am better off than someone else. There has been times when I just wanted to end it all…not like end my life, just sort of give up on everything and not care. But Mark made me rethink that. He made me realize that my life could be much worse. I could be him. He talked about other issues he was having. I rather not repeat the rest. Not for his sake but for yours.

I take another sip of my coffee and felt no burning sensation. I shook the cup a bit. I peered through the lid to investigate. I was out of coffee. This isn’t good. I have no more coffee. I looked at my watch and noticed the time. Okay. I really didn’t care what time it was. It’s the universal sign that you are bored and would rather be somewhere else. It’s not that I didn’t like Mark,  I would just rather be somewhere else. Plus, I was still getting that vibe from Big Mac. I politely excused myself from the table and let Mark know that it was time for me to leave. He said he had to go too but I didn’t believe him. With both said our goodbyes. I left but before I did, I caught Big Mac looking at me. I got in my car and went back home. People always say how it’s a small world and everyone is connected in some way. I call up a friend and tell them about my wonderful reunion. I mentioned his name and you know what, she knows Mark. Mark is her neighbor. Mark left some stuff out. Turns out he was being evicted from his apartment.

Wow…that was quite the post. I tend to ramble a bit. But this all goes to show, that everyone we meet or know, or pass on the street, we’re all connected in this wacky world. Oh…by the way. This is even stranger. I was telling my sister about Big Mac. I would swear on the Bible if I wasn’t using it as stepping stool. But she works with him. Not really works with him but they work in the same building. I should ask her about him. Maybe he likes Whoppers. I would feel bad calling him Big Mac all this time and come to find out he doesn’t like them.

If you are curious as to who “Pitler” is, it is me. It’s quite a long story as to why I have that name. Maybe if I feel up to it tonight, I’ll double post the story behind Pitler and as to why this story was really written. It’s quite a story and a good one too.

Thanks for reading. Oh, and if Mark ever does stumble on to this, sorry. No hard feelings.