Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Reason #57,567(b) To Hate Valentine's Day

I have a best friend. We have known each other for more than 10 years, but less than 15. There are not enough words in the universe to convey how completely fabulous she is. Which is why I can't give her a name here yet. Someone that fabulous deserves an equally fabulous name and so far....the creativity to come up with a name that is a) not pretentious, b) adequately conveys the fabulousness, and c) rocks both our socks? Is eluding us. So for now, we'll just say she's my best friend and leave it at that.

In any event, my best friend is working in a Hallmark store as she puts herself through college. (Psychology major. And she is brilliant, in addition to fabulous, so the free analysis is valuable instead of annoying. But I digress.) Best Friend was working yesterday. On Valentine's Day. I would normally have felt an enormous sense of pity for her because of this, however, it led to a priceless conversation over IM later in the evening that made me laugh out loud. So really? The payoff was worth it. The text of that conversation is below, although by posting it I realize that I am letting you in on my deepest, darkest secret: my best friend is smarter than I am, and wittier.

Her: Speaking of "babe", and yes I am using pretentious and overused quotation marks on "babe" and you will understand why once I relay my story to you...
Her: I'm at work, right?
Me: Oh, god.
Her: And it's Valentine's Day, right?
Me: Oh, god.
Me: Okay, you're taking a really long time to type and it's scaring me.
Me: No, really, I'm frightened now.
Her: And I work at a Hallmark store so it's busy as hell and people are cranky and pushy and impatient and all "oh my God I have to get something for my wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/mother/son/niece/first cousin twice removed/rottweiler and what do you mean you don't have any of those lions that were advertised on tv for THREE WEEKS and I'm only just now coming to get because I am lazy and forgetful and too stupid to realize that other smarter people came in when they first saw the commercial because hello? with the national advertisement and the selling out potential? and now they're sold out and that is so not acceptable and blah, blah, blah itsallaboutmecakes"
Me: Oh, god.
Her: (You really should be, because I'm not even near the good part yet)
Me: Oh, god.
Her: So, yeah. With the selfish, impatient idiots. But I'm okay with that. Really, I am. I've worked retail off and on for a decade; I know how people get on holidays. And there's always enough nice, friendly, sympathetic "I realize that I have no right to complain that you don't have what I want because I'm shopping on the day of and I'm a loser, so no worries" people to even things out.
Me: God bless them.
Her: But then...But then there are the ones who do something unexpected. Something so unanticipated, so unforeseen, that all you can do is sit there and go "Did that really just happen?" for like three minutes. And then turn to every co-worker who was nearby and witnessed it and say "Did that really just happen?" And then seek out all the co-workers who didn't witness it and relay the story to them and then say "I can't believe that just happened".
Me: Oh, god.
Her: Like when the person at the counter and that person's friend were being loud and obnoxious in the way that loud and obnoxious people are, and they get rung up and then they of course want to borrow your pen because they need to fill out the card now because they're in a hurry and they can't be bothered to actually own a pen, and they take up three feet of counter space and five minutes of your life you will never get back debating over what exactly to write in the card, and then when they're done they walk over to you and hand you the pen and say, in a completely cliched sleazy/snooty tone...
Her: "Here you go, babe."
Me: They. Did. Not.
Her: And really, you hear it and you get annoyed because dude, you are not any customer's babe - or their sweetheart, honey, pumpkin or any other endearment they might come up with - but you are not stunned. Because while you haven't been called babe before, you have been called all those other things and so while it still bugs the shit out of you, it doesn't surprise you and you know how to deal with it.
Her: Until you turn to take the pen from the hands of the person tossing the pen and the "babe" at you.
Me: Oh, god.
Her: And you don't see an aging, bald, gold chain bedecked gentleman with a paunch and leering grin on his face.
Me: OH, god.
Me: (I'm really scared now.)
Her: Or a preening, too handsome for his own good, suit-wearing stuffed shirt who thinks he's doing you a favor by flirting with you in the cheesiest way known to man.
Me: Oh, god.
Her: Because when you turn, you realize it's not a man at all.
Her: It's a woman.
Me: How did I know that was coming?
Her: No, it's not a woman.
Her: It's a girl.
Me: I'm sorry....that does not compute.
Her: A fifteen-year-old, too-much-makeup-wearing, too-little-clothes-wearing, vapidly-talking-to-her-equally-vapid-friend girl.
Me: Oh....Oh no.....Oh, god.....
Her: And yet, even though she is a fifteen-year-old girl, she still manages, through attitude and intonation, to be both the balding sleaze and the preening asshole at the same time.
Me: So, let me get this straight...some half-our-age little nitwit with no sense of propriety or subtlety, walked up to you and tossed a pen and a "babe" in your direction, and she....lived?
Me: You're slipping, sweetheart.
Me: And I say that with all the necessary irony.
Her: : And you watch her walk away, okay strut away in heels way too tall for any self-respecting double x chromosome endowed person, with her friend and while there's a part of you that wants to fix her with your most withering glare - which you're told is quite impressive and intimidating - and say "Excuse me?" in just THAT tone of voice, you don't say anything.
Her: Because that part of you is drowned out by that larger part, that part of you that can still, even after ten years in retail, be so shocked by something that all it can do is stare incredulously and ask "Did that really just happen? No, REALLY? Did that really happen?"
Me: Wow.....I am....without words, actually.
Her: And that part of you is still in control hours later as you're relaying this story to your best friend and even as your typing the words, you are still thinking to yourself, "Really? No, REALLY?"
Her: Fifteen.
Me: Dude, I hear you.
Her: Sixteen, max.
Her: And she's calling me, and probably many other people, "Babe". Not babe. "Babe."
Her: In quotation marks.


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