Usually harbouring great contempt for members of the human race outside my immediate family and my group of very small and carefully selected friends, I was so pleased to find myself standing next to a very polite man in a bookstore today.
As I was buying a copy of Chris Masters’ Jonestown, a man standing next to me was trying to return a copy of Neil Strauss’s The Game. And dudes, just as a side note, if anyone bought me that book there is no way I’d do something as sensible as take it back for a refund. I would probably tear all the pages out and create a small army of bald, skinny, arrogant paper voodoo dolls and arrange them in compromising positions.
Anyway the guy at the counter nervously told him the book wasn’t in a returnable condition. And everyone within a one metre radius held their breath waiting for the nuclear explosion that usually …explodes … when the customer is wrong. But this guy simply said: “Oh, okay. Fair enough.” And when the bookstore dude says: “I’m so sorry”, the customer tells him it’s not his fault and wishes him a good day. The girl serving me, who was wearing the most amazing shade of red lipstick I’ve ever seen, says: “Shit, he took that well”.
I happened to follow the customer down the escalator and I noticed him taking in his surrounds with a contented look on his face. What a pleasant fellow. Usually people in the city are puking, yelling, asking for money or handing out flyers advertising vacancies at brothels. Someone needs to put a ring on this guy’s finger because whoever does will forever be tiptoeing through the tulips, even on a shopping outing to buy three-ply. Or maybe, just maybe, I was fooled by The Game.
The reason this well-mannered man struck me so is because I spent most of my teenage years and some of my early 20s dealing with loser customers, including a notable time when I had to explain to a woman why she could not return swimwear with a strange smear and pubic hair in the crotch. I had to be stopped from hacking off my own hand and plucking out my eyeballs that afternoon, let me tell you.
But also I’ve had a strange week filled with rude, rude people. Like my taxi driver this morning who spent five minutes sounding his horn outside a park near my apartment block before dawn. He also had the hide to scold me as I got in the car. Last time I checked my address wasn’t Poor Stevie, fork of fifth tree on the right, near the leaves and kind of close to some blades of grass, and that dog poo over there, NSW, Australia.
I’ve also this week been hung up on, sworn at, mooned, called a dog and ripped off. It’s a bloody tough little city is Jonestown.