Thursday, May 15, 2008

Small Disasters In Everyday Conversation

Some may argue against this point, but I feel like most of the time, when I'm with my friends or coworkers, I act pretty cool. Not like The Fonz cool, but I don't severely embarrass myself or alienate people by saying weird things.

However, when I'm in public, in the presence of strangers, things get a little out of hand. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I say the dumbest things. And it's not just what I say, but how I say it. I think the word "corny" applies here.

To better explain myself, let me tell you about an encounter I had on Tuesday that is typical of my lunatic behavior when alone in public.

We had this printer emergency at work and so I ran out to Staples to buy a new ink cartridge. I grabbed petty cash before I left, and this is how I ended up with a crisp one hundred dollar bill. Now, I don't know what it is about a hundred dollar bill, but I get overly excited when I have one in my possession. I think this is largely because I am poor and so I rarely carry hundreds around with me. But moreover, I think my fascination comes from the criminal activity connected with the hundred. Whenever you hand one across the counter to pay for something, the cashier gives you a suspicious glance. Is this counterfeit? They hold the bill up to the light. They rub the paper between their fingers. Sometimes a manager is called over for a second opinion. It makes me feel like a spy or something.

And when they finally accept it, the hundred isn't placed in the cash drawer with the other bills. They lift up the tray and hide it underneath. It is that special.

This whole money dance doesn't happen during my usual, everyday transactions, when I hand over a crumbled up five dollar bill that I yanked out from the center of a 3 inch wide wad of receipts in my wallet.

This is why I get excited about a hundred dollar bill.

But enough about the pathetic goings-on in my head. Back to why I screw up the real world too.

So I get to Staples and grab a new ink cartridge and a few other supplies and make my way over to the cash register. The cashier is probably 19, and has the typical look of a 19 year old working at Staples: bored, doesn't give a crap.

She rings up my total and I hand over the hundred. She doesn't look as intrigued as I'd hoped she'd be. Then she takes out a marker and draws a little line on the bill. The ink is a yellowish brown.

"What's that all about?" I ask. Now I sound accusatory.

"It's to see if the bill is real or counterfeit," she answers. I'm sure no one else asks her about this step. I'm sure most customers don't engage her in awkward chatter. She tosses the bill in the cash drawer.

"I know it's real. I just got it from the bank." Now I sound like I'm crazy. "So when you draw a line, does it show a little pattern or symbol or something?" I ask.

She sighs. "No, it turns pink if it's fake."

"Oh that's really cool," I say with weird enthusiasm. I think I laughed a little. Now I sound like I'm flirting with her.

She isn't smiling back. She holds out my change. "Yeah it's how they're checking them now."

"Ah, good to know. Good to know. " And now I sound like a counterfeiter.

A rare moment of hundred dollar bill action, and I ruined it. So, I make an ass out of myself in public. But you'll never actually see this happen because it's only possible when I'm not in the company of anyone I know.


JenBun said...

I do the same stuff, too. But usually in the presence of someone I know. Or someone I sort of know (and maybe want to sleep with) will walk up behind me in line right as I hand over my library card to pay, or pull out a tampon with my pen, or have a back-up pair of underwear hanging off the corner of my wallet when I pull it out.

You know, hypothetically.

Also? I have almost the exact thoughts when I am paying with a hundred-dollar bill. "Oooh, I hope it passes, I hope it passes!" Umm, what? You just got it from the bank, and you're NOT a counterfeiter, so calm the fuck down. (I have to remind myself.)

surviving myself said...

I avoid making myself look awkward by not talking to anyone - ever.

This just ends up making me look like an asshole, which I guess isn't that far from the truth.

Katelin said...

you crack me up. that is all :)

Anonymous said...

Like JenBun, I also have the tendency to say silly things in the presence of strangers and friends alike. Oh, and hi, it's Anonymous Kristen again!

Inono said...

I feel the same way when I have a $100 bill. They are exciting things! I am also super gentle with them, like I have to be really careful, or I will rip it to shreds, and then be out $100. So lame!

Anonymous said...


"good to know, good to know"

that is priceless. i say stupid shit in public all the damn time. it's like word vomit.

Julie_Gong said...

One time I told a company I was trying to get an internship with that I was going to Canada for spring break because I wasn't old enough to drink here. I just couldn't. stop. talking.

I like to dig myself giant ass faced awk-2000 holes.

The Ex said...

This is totally unrelated but I have a cat named Sarge too!