What follows is a brief, snot-addled recollection of three encounters I had with people in my neighborhood last week.
1) The Perfume Saleswoman
I decided to get my lady some new perfume for Valentine's Day this year. Now, I know nothing about perfume, get nauseous whenever I'm within 50 yards of a perfume counter, and get mildy panicky at malls, so this probably wasn't the wisest move. Nonetheless, I had my heart set on getting her some, and since the internet hasn't come out with a scratch-n-sniff online perfume store yet, I had no choice but to go to the mall to make this happen.
I used to think that used car salesmen were the biggest sharks in the sales industry. After last week's encounter, I'm fairly certain that female perfume saleswomen hold that title outright. When they smell blood in the water (read: see a clueless guy staring at an overwhelming wall display of gaudy bottles of stink) they descend upon their prey, faces caked in makeup, wielding tester bottles, cans of coffee beans (to “cleanse your nasal palate” after each assault of your nose holes) and every iteration of “Can I help you?” known to man. The answer to said question was “yes (but not really)” because after tester spray number two or three, it all just starts to smell like burning cilia and strippers.
Thankfully, I survived the onslaught and walked out of Macy's, (coughing, wheezing, eyes red and watering) with a nice bottle of perfume and a resolution to never shop for perfume again.
2) The Guy In The Bathroom Stall Who Thinks He's Alone
I went to a wedding last weekend. We all know that it's virtually impossible to attend a wedding without a little awkwardness, whether it be in the form of conversation, a ceremony blunder, or whatever else. It came in the form of “whatever else” at this wedding, and reared its head during a routine trip to the bathroom. I was posted up at a urinal around the corner from a single stall, unloading my tank so that it could be refilled with a little more red wine, when I heard someone burst into the bathroom, hurriedly open the bathroom stall, drop his trousers and plunk his ass down on the shitter.
He fired his opening salvo, which sounded like someone throwing a pile of wet laundry on a hardwood floor.
“Aaaaah, yeah. That's it. There we go.”
That's my sign to wrap it up and get the hell out of there, but there's a part of me that wants to see if the pep talk he's giving to his poop is over yet.
It's not. Another shot is fired. This one sounds like someone throwing a handful of coins into a fountain.
Maybe he's playing Angry Birds and just cleared a level?
And then there's round three. Like a guy with a stutter and a lisp trying to say “cheese”.
“Aw, come on goddamnit.”
I've had enough. I zip up and head to the sink, and as I turn on the faucet there's one last last audible grunt, and then…silence. His cover is blown. As is his o-ring. (I'm assuming.)
3) The Sauna Guy
Recently, I've gotten into the habit of finishing my workouts at the gym by spending about 15 minutes in the sauna (fully-clothed) to get a serious sweat going, detox, close my eyes, zone out on some post-rock and meditate a bit. There's definitely a sauna “crew” at my gym, and being “the new guy” I'm not really aware of the local sauna rules (if there are any), and my general M.O. is to find a spot on the bench, keep my eyes to the ground, keep my mouth shut, put in my fifteen minutes and get the hell outta dodge. It's seemed to work thus far.
The other morning there was a pretty packed house, and I had to take a spot that I've found is usually occupied by a rotund naked older fellow. I took the spot reluctantly, because I'm not sure if sauna seats are like seats at the bar in Cheers. Am I breaching etiquette? Am I violating the code? Am I stealing Norm's seat?
Apparently, I was. With a couple of minutes to go in my session, I looked up to see if I had a clear path to the glass door that leads to the locker room and saw “Norm”, rotund, in nothing but a pair of Crocs, seated spread-eagle on a bench in the locker room directly across from me, his nether bits on display like a handful of prunes, staring at me like I'd eaten his firstborn.
I looked down quickly and closed my eyes, searching frantically in my brain for the “unsee” button.
I don't have an “unsee” button.
“Is he really smiting me for sitting here?” I thought as I took another peek.
Whoa. Definitely smiting. Definitely hating me. Definitely still sitting on a handful of prunes.
Unsee. Please unsee. Still can't find the button. There's no button.
So I cut that sauna session short and will never sit in that seat again. I will also never get the image of a fat, naked man in Crocs and his weathered pile of hate-filled netherbits out of my head.
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