Tuesday, April 10, 2007

original doofus

I know! A month!

And you would think I had been off doing interesting things. Fun things, profitable things, babe-related things... Not even! Things were very interesting and fun for awhile. But then Seth wussed-out and moved back to Texas. You know, because Navy Seals are so tough and all of that.

Oh well. Now I have returned to my sadistic personal Proust pilgrimage. I am slowly trudging my way through In Search of Lost Time, which incidentally is the longest novel ever written ever. Don't believe me? Better check yo self. Although apparently some crazy yankee janitor wrote one that was longer, but it wasn't published, so I don't think it counts. Actually, it kinda reminds me of that dude in Se7en.

And it's back to blogging. How best to reclaim the scattered remnants of my narrative preeminence than to revisit the genre that made me famous? Of course, I could be speaking only of:

Awkward interactions with females!

So one fine Southern California day, I had to go to Origins.

Yes, Origins. And I don't even want to hear about it from you. They make a clay mask that is nothing short of fabulous. It exfoliates without over-drying. I will beat up your dad. So shut it.

So I roll up into the Origins at South Coast Plaza at 10:30 a.m. on a weekday, looking ill-groomed and unemployed. I just want to pick up my clay mask, and maybe some foaming facial cleanser, and be on my way without incident. But, it's me, and I'm at the mall, so some manner of disaster is bound to ensue.

Enter the obligatory young blond attractive sales clerk. Did I mention that roughly 11 seconds before I stepped into Origins I had spilled most of my coffee on the front of my shirt? So I look mangy, sexually ambiguous, and unemployed, and I smell like a used coffee filter. Thus, I decided not to apply any maneuvers romantic to the young lady. As if I needed any reason beyond, you know, being really bad with the ladies, but it helps to have the list, specious though it may be.

I make my selections, and proceed to purchase my clay mask and foaming facial cleanser. At this point, the girl begins a familiar process. As you know, many retail establishments have questions that sales staff are required to ask all customers on penalty of death. The standard fare: do you have such-and-such rewards card, are you a member of this-or-that, have you tried our blank-blank, do you want to save 90% today by selling your soul for a Gap card - that sort of thing. It goes down like this:

"Have you tried our Modern Friction scrub? It's great for men and women."

"No thank you."

"Are you a member of our Insider Club?"


"Would you like to be?"

Stop right there. The first two questions come out in a distanced monotone - the product of rote memory and endless repetition. The usual. They ask it nine hundred times a day and eventually they stop caring what the answers are. I can dig it. But this post is about question 3.

"Would you like to be?" This question did not come out in a distanced monotone. It did not reek of apathy. It was said in a way that can only be described as patently sexual.

Her head crooked downward ever so slightly, counterbalanced by a single eyebrow, raised knowingly. Her voice dropped an octave. Her speech slowed and her mouth caressed the curve of each syllable with gentle firmness. There was a glimpse of her tongue, dark and red like Merlot as it formed the word "like". The word hung in the air slowly, dripping like candle wax from between between glossed red lips.

To which I squawked, "Nah."

It was a reflex! My feeble reptilian brain had not yet absorbed the manner in which the question was presented! No sooner had my oh-so eloquent, "Nah" flopped from my larynx than my brain chimed in:

"Wait... What? What did we just say 'nah' to? Something about being an 'insider'? Was that one word or two? Something about friction? And how it's great for men and women? What? Why were we just verbally molested?"

That's the royal "we". You know, the editorial? Anyway, I decided it was best to just take my package and leave.

But the questions plagued me. Through the Apple Store, Macy's Home, and out to my car. Why had she asked that last question in fluent Pornese? Was she trying to hit on me? Lord no! I looked like an asexual beat writer for Highlights. To propose that I was being propositioned for any bed-related activity beyond their nighttime antioxidant moisturizer is completely absurd.

But why?

Could it be a ploy to lure unsuspecting doofi (plural form of doofus) like me into paying for some membership that they're never going to use? I don't know. But I felt cheap and used. So, as I said, I had to go to the Apple Store, where I bask in my radiant superiority to the idiots that work there.

"Hey, dude! Have you tried out iPhoto?"

"Not since I stopped sucking at photography. Now get away from me."