Thursday, August 18, 2011

stranger danger.

i am the master of the bitchface. if you're going to spend half of your adult life commuting on buses and trains in a city full of assholes, you have to learn to perfect the "no bitch, i do NOT know where you get off to go to water tower" scowl. i wear sunglasses and headphones and glare at anyone who looks like he might even think about asking me what time it is or which connecting train is the one that goes out to o'hare. i know you're thinking, "man, what a jerk." and i am, but it's really a measure of self-protection more than it is unrepentant assholishness. more than once i have kindly removed my earbuds to answer the question of a seemingly innocuous fellow passenger, only to have my ears assaulted by some asshole who wanted to yell at me about jesus or say something lewd about ass-fucking my dead corpse or whatever. not anymore.

last weekend my friend tuesday and i decided to see the new planet of the apes, because i 100% enjoy shitting ten dollars down movie theater toilets. tuesday is my main platonic male jam. anyway, while i am never on time for anything else in my real life, i am totally that crazy person who gets to the movie theater forty-five minutes before the show starts. i like to pee, wash my hands, get a fountain coke (extra ice), and be the first one through the door to make sure i can sit on the end of the top row. i like to get myself situated: movie sweater draped over the arm of the chair in case i get cold, snacks firmly set up in the empty seat next to mine, the whole thing. i like to be prepared. and yes, i am your grandmother. but fridays are a total shitshow at the hospital and i knew i wouldn't be out in time to properly set up camp at the movies, so i dispatched tuesday to the theater in my stead so he could get our act together before i got there.

here's the thing: i don't want to be that asshole standing in the aisles of a packed theater trying to orchestrate the seating arrangement of strangers who are glaring hate beams through the side of my face because i came late and still think i have the right to sit next to the nine goddamned people who came with me. YOU KNOW WHO I'M TALKING ABOUT, the dickballs who stands over you dropping buttered popcorn in your lap while he tries to convince two bitches halfway across the room to move over a seat so that he and his wife can sit next to each other. who wants to be that piece of shit, stepping all over everyone's goddamned toes while inching toward the middle seat and trying not to spill your tray of nachos, king-sized hot dog, tub of buttery popcorn, pretzel bites, giant cherry coke, and sno-caps?! I HATE THAT GUY. and i don't ever want to be him, so i get there with goddamned time to spare.

tuesday is one of these boisterous, friendly people that i typically avoid at all costs. he'll talk to fucking ANYONE, which would be fine if he weren't introducing himself to regular boring people with nothing interesting to say. if i leave that dude alone for even a second he's doing the used car salesman on the nearest unsuspecting stranger, so i was not at all surprised when i found him sitting in the nearly empty movie theater chatting with a relatively good-looking dude a few seats over. "hey sam, this is my new friend, julius!" he said, and i stood there for a minute trying to gauge if julius was a dude he knew in real life and had decided to surprise me with at the last minute or whether he'd just made his acquaintance in the five minutes that had elapsed between texting me "i'm here" and my arrival at our seats. i noted tuesday's new BFF's massive amount of manjewelry and wearing of a baseball cap while indoors, then fixed my eyes on his jorts. come on, son. DO BETTER.

"hey julius, i'm sam," i said politely, and he responded to my breasts, "i'm really bad with names." OH, BLARF. why not just introduce yourself by saying, "you are insignificant to me, please die?" because that is how my brain translates that shit, you asshole. "i hate this dude," i whispered to tuesday as i got my sweater ready. they resumed their in-depth analytical conversation about some shit i don't give a fuck about, and then i decided i wanted popcorn. tuesday is a gentleman, and he offered to go get it. well, i might have said, "why the fuck don't you act like a gentleman and go get me some motherfucking popcorn?!" but that is beside the goddamned point.

i knew from 1 the way dude sized me up when i first got there and 2 the way his multiple silver rings glittered under the movie theater lights that at some point in the evening we were going to be engaged in a who is the more alternative black person? BATTLE ROYALE. i was exhausted at the thought. first of all, i usually slaughter the competition before it even begins. i have all of these death skull tattoos and natural hair, and i own three pantera records. winner and still champion, people. this makes some black dudes crazy, because they want to be the only ones who've ever heard of richard linklater. and second of all, you may as well just ask, "which of us is the bigger oreo?" and that is so GROSS. we need a secret handshake or something, some way to let others of us know that they're not going to be accused of "talking like a white person" or whatever. maybe we could just trade ipods upon meeting? "you have the new grizzly bear record?! OMG I'M ONE OF THOSE BLACK PEOPLE, TOO," and then you don't have to worry about a surprise BET pop quiz later on in your relationship.

so dude turns to me and says, apropos of nothing, "i'm the most eclectic dude in my group of friends." ECLECTIC, for those of you who don't know, is often code for "you're safe with me. i, too, listen to bjork." in other words, your diction is telling me you've got a lot of white friends. what the fuck was i supposed to say to that? so i just cartoon blinked at him and waited for him to say something else. "see, i listen to rock music and wear a lot of jewelry and stuff," he's holding up his arms and shaking his many bracelets while saying this, "i don't have a problem seeing movies by myself and, just so you know, I'M NOT A HOMOSEXUAL, I JUST LIKE BRACELETS." um, WUT.

"i can appreciate a dude who throws a good arm party," i said, because what the fuck is an appropriate response to "i'm not gay, i just like bracelets?" GODDAMN IT, did tuesday go to china to get the goddamned popcorn? WHY HAS HE BEEN GONE FOR SO LONG AND WHY DID HE LEAVE ME HERE WITH THIS WEIRDO NOT-GAY DUDE?! "what does that mean?" he asked, confused. "what does what mean?" i was speaking english and hadn't used any big words. "what is an ARM PARTY?" oh, sigh. even if you'd never heard that phrase before (thank you, manrepeller!), weren't there enough context clues to put one and one together?! jangling bracelets + your arm = arm party. was that so hard?

"do you like movies?" came next, but before i could point out that we were SITTING IN A MOVIE THEATER he decided on his own to give me a brief yet exhaustive history of modern cinema. arm party was talking so fast his tongue was smoking, all while i sat there mentally calculating how much cooler than him i happen to be. he told me about his childhood in texas, the plot of all three bourne identity movies, being recently divorced, and how much he HATES people who talk and text through movies, and just as i was fashioning a noose out of twizzlers, tuesday returned with a bucket of thank god i don't have to talk to this dude anymore. i know you girls are always blathering on and on about how you want a man to TALK to you and COMMUNICATE his FEELINGS and TELL YOU what's ON HIS MIND, and that begs the question: have you ever really talked to a dude? i mean really sat through a discourse of what some dude thinks is interesting and important? because i feel like if you really had, the LAST THING YOU WOULD EVER WANT TO DO is have a neverending conversation with some dude's penis.

this is why i love lesbians. because the minute some hot lady starts droning on about what her horoscope said and how she went over her weight watchers points and how she's really stressed out that her book club pick isn't good enough i can be all, "hey girl, i saved last week's episode of law and order SVU on the tivo. let's get our hargitay on," and she'll zip that noise right on up and go fix me some tv-watching pajama snacks. talkative dudes are so enamored of their own voices that unless you're coming at him with an open butthole, chances are he will NEVER STOP TALKING OF HIS OWN VOLITION. i clutched my dots to my chest, terrified that arm party's big mouth was going to ruin my monkey movie.

i like to sit in the last row mostly because i hate listening to the inane conversations other people tend to have during movies. they're either incorrectly predicting the plot or fighting over who has to drive the babysitter home later, and those things are irritating. i like to sit in dead silence staring at the screen until the movie is over, and while arm party worked the shit out of my last nerve, he'd at least salvaged some of my good cheer toward my fellow man with his disdain for theater talking. and for the first hour of the movie, he deserved it. AND THEN. a woman in the row directly in front of ours decided to sext her boyfriend or whatever.

i saw it, because how could you not see it, and ignored her. but arm party, who had obviously been itching for a reason to let more hot air out of his balloon, decided to comment loudly about her inappropriate moviephone. and then the floodgates crashed open. BECAUSE HE ISN'T GAY he'd left two seats between himself and tuesday, which meant he had to whisper-shout over them every time he wanted to point something out in the movie. WHICH WAS COMICALLY OFTEN, especially for a dude who felt it necessary to yell at some lady who just wanted to glance at her emailz. tuesday spent forty-five fucking minutes leaning over the empty chair next to him, nodding politely while i hissed, "that's what you get for talking to strangers," in his other ear. seriously?! that's some shit i expect to see on seinfeld, the nice gesture of making uncomfortable pleasantries with a dude because he just happened to be sitting alone near you coming back to bite you in your polite ass for the rest of your goddamned night. blarf.

the minute the lights came on i gave tuesday my most stern LET'S GO face, but arm party immediately started comparing this movie to the old ones, and my homeboy totally obliged him and got sucked into yet another endless conversation. is that a white thing, this unfaltering patience? holy damned dirty ape. so we sat there until the credits finished rolling, because tuesday doesn't have the get the fuck out of my face gene. as we left the theater my heart started racing. arm party wasn't going to let us leave without a phone number exchange, and tuesday is too nice to say, "i'm amish, i'm forbidden to use a telephone," which is how sam gets out of this kind of shit and we'd be stuck listening to this dude for THE REST OF OUR LIVES. just as he was about to say "facebook me," or whatever i swooped in and shouted, "i have to take a shit." visibly relieved, tuesday bid adieu to his grossed-out new bro and we ran/walked toward the bathrooms.

i cornered him as soon as arm party disappeared from my sight. "why did that popcorn take so long? were you trying to make some magic happen?" and HE WAS. even though i was tempted to teach tuesday a lesson entitled, "just because we're both black doesn't mean we want to fuck on each other," i thanked him for thinking of my vagina during this peconomic recession and reminded him that i'm not interested in people who have ideas about things and want to voice their opinions all the time. "next time, sit near a dude who grunts. or blinks once for yes and twice for no."

we waited a few minutes for the coast to clear before heading over to the parking garage. tuesday offered to go get his truck so that i could stand on the curb and text amanda (I SHOULD HAVE JUST DONE IT DURING THE MOVIE), and just as i was trying to get my autocorrect to recognize "cuntbag" as a word, i heard screeching tires and a horn blaring within the parking structure. i peeked inside hoping to see someone splattered across the pavement before the ambulances got there and instead saw tuesday running through the lower level away from an old lady car being driven by a not gay dude with sparkly finger accessories. a not gay dude who was leaning out of the window of an oldsmobile shouting, "hey! tuesday! TUESDAY!" while chasing him through a parking garage. trying to lure him into taking a bite outta crime, obviously. *crunch*