Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cell phones and SUVs. Just say no!

Last Saturday afternoon I’m walking from my car to the bistro. In one hand I’m carrying my work shirt, cleaned and pressed. In the other a steaming hot delicious Starbucks latte.

I reach the crosswalk across from my job stopping to wait for the “WALK” sign to turn green. You have to be cautious in my neck of the woods. Drivers tend to treat red lights like they’re suggestions.

The light turns green. I pause a few seconds then walk into the street.

All of a sudden I hear the skittering of tires behind me. I know what’s happening. Some idiot is blowing though the red light to make a right turn. I’m gonna get run over.

These thought processes are, of course, occurring on a pre conscious level. My sphincter puckers, the adrenaline jolt hits my leg muscles, and, like a Jedi guided by the Force, I leap several feet backwards. My latte flies into the gutter.

Brooooom! A large SUV flashes past my eyes along with my life history. It’s that close people.

But what happened next really pissed me off.

The SUV stops in the middle of the street. The passenger side window lowers and a Yuppie matron sticks her head out saying, “Excuse me could you help us?”

I walk over to the window. I notice the truck is a Lincoln Navigator.

“Where can you park around here?” the matron asks.

“Lady you almost ran me over back there.” I say angrily but politely.

“Whaaaat?” the matron whines uncomprehendingly.

I stick my head in the window. The woman’s husband, a porcine gold chain sporting artificially tanned bald guy, is busy talking on his cell phone. “No that price is too high too high” he rants animatedly into his handset.

“Hey buddy,” I say, my temper rising, “While you were blabbing on your cell phone you almost ran me over back there.”

“Hang on,” the man says. He looks at me. “Hey where can you park around here?”

“Didn’t you hear what I just said? You almost ran me over” I repeat.

Gold Chain blinks. He’s confused. Car horns are blaring. He’s stopped in the middle of a busy street.

“I’m looking for a parking spot.” he continues petulantly.

When I get scared I get angry. When I am angry and ignored I blow up.

“IF YOU DON”T GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE I’M GONNA PARK THAT CELLPHONE SO FAR UP YOUR ASS IT WILL BE COMING OUT YOUR MOUTH YOU FAT DUMB FUCK!” is my calm measured reply.

“EEEEK he’s crazy!” the wife shrieks.

Gold Chain drops the phone and throws the truck into gear taking off. I pull my head out of car to avoid decapitation. The SUV roars down the street barreling around a corner out of sight.

I take a deep breath and continue across the street. Several onlookers stare open mouthed. I notice my shirt is splattered with coffee. Perfect

Inside the bistro I discover the lunch waiter forgot his shirt and used my backup. Things are getting better and better.

I clean my shirt with seltzer to the point where it’s almost presentable. I make an espresso and get the specials from the chef. I call the other waiters over to review the night’s festivities.

“Nice shirt.” says one of the waiters giggling.

Without looking up I flip him the bird.

The hostess interrupts my review of the specials. “You have a table.”

“Already?” I say looking at the clock, “We don’t open for half an hour.”

“They sat down anyway,” she says shrugging.

“Fine.” I cinch up my tie, plaster on the happy face, and walk over to the window seats.

My first table is Gold Chain and his wife.

I groan inwardly. This can’t be happening to me.

“What happened to your shirt?” Gold Chain asks.

“Excuse me?” I reply a tad indignantly.

“Your shirt is dirty.” he says simply.

Holy shit. The dumb bastard doesn’t recognize me. Hey - he only saw me for a second, I was wearing an overcoat, and my face was, how shall put it? - contorted in rage. It stands to reason.

I’ve caught a break.

“Just an accident sir,” I reply.

He harrumphs and asks what the specials are. His wife stares glumly at the menu.

Everything proceeds normally. They order. They eat. Gold Chain makes a dozen calls on his cell phone. I act like a total professional. They never recognize me. They pay the bill and leave.

I go over to the table. The tip is 12%. Why am I not surprised.

Then I notice Gold Chain’s cell phone lying on the table. He forgot it. My face breaks into a smile. I grab the phone and go outside.

I spy them halfway down the block. “Sir you forgot your phone!” I yell.

The man walks back towards me sheepishly. While I’m waiting I calculate how much force it will take to jam the phone up his rectum.

“Thanks.” he says stretching out his pudgy hand to take the phone.

I don’t give it to him. I look him dead in the eye and say,“Remember sir, talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in New York State.”

His eyes widen with the shock of recognition. Now it's his turn to have his sphinter pucker.

I hand him the phone. “Have a NICE day sir.”

He takes the phone and waddles away - looking over his shoulder several times.

I go back inside.

I fucking hate cell phones.

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