Friday, August 21, 2009

Beer Busted, Last Call

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Let me describe my latest visit to Cool Breeze. I am seriously not making this up.

I pull into the turn lane on the main drag, and while waiting for an opening in the oncoming traffic, I survey the layout of the Cool Breeze battlefield. You have to do these things, plan properly, or you’re at risk. We have 2 cars in the small parking lot, three in the safer side parking lot, and 2 cars at the drive-thru. Good. I might make it through this one alive.

I turn in, and barely make it on to the little entrance ramp, when one of the cars starts to swing out of the small parking lot. He’s got more than enough clearance to get past me, but instinct tells me to sit tight, even though the tail end of my car is still on the main drag. Sure enough, this guy decides he’s going to do some maneuvering to get things lined up. Translation: he’s drunk.

He pulls forward, backs up, pulls forward, backs up, but completely forgets the part about turning the steering wheel. I’m somewhat mesmerized, as his car is beyond clunker status and seems to be held together by baling wire and duct tape. Off to my right on the main road, I spy a semi barreling my way.

Oh boy. That big rig is not going to clear me and shows no signs of slowing, so I’ve got to clear the drunk and get in the parking lot.

Luckily, right then, Sanford floors it in reverse and runs over the concrete island separating the small parking lot from the drive-thru. Good. He’s not going anywhere at the moment, so I squeal up the ramp and into a slot in the safer parking section.

I get out of my car just as Sanford is trying to get his junker off the concrete island. Lots of grinding and scraping. Amazingly, he manages to get it off that thing, and even avoids hitting any of the three cars that suddenly zoom into the parking lot and head for the drive-thru lane. Mysteriously, the scraping noise continues, and I see that the right half of his back bumper is dragging the ground, sending sparks into the air as he careens out into the main road and survives getting smashed by another semi with only inches to spare.

I take a deep breath, hold it, and dash across the drive-thru lane. I slow to a more nonchalant pace in the smaller parking lot, and watch with only slight curiosity as some woman opens her car door and begins throwing empty plastic milk jugs on the ground.

As I approach the store door, it flies open and out stomps a very angry woman, who is yelling at someone still in the store that they are, indeed, a bitch. Of the mother-loving variety. Right then, somebody honks, and everybody races for the safety of the store or a car. They know the drill.

Inside, while I’m waiting for smelly, dumb-ass people to move out of the way so I can get to the beer, the woman with the plastic jugs comes clattering in. She now has a little dimwitted friend with her. Said friend points in the direction of the manager’s office door, and mutters that the bathroom is over there. Then she fondles some Slim Jim’s while Juggie heads that way.

They don’t have a public restroom in here. Just like the sign on the wall and the sign on the front door explain. I shake my head, make it past the woman with her polyester-clad butt in the air while she reviews the pork rind selection on a lower shelf, and grab a 12-pack of Michelob Ultra (the best, by the way). I turn around and head for the counter to pay.

And the day suddenly shifts toward the Apocalypse as I stand in line.

Juggie is throwing open every door in the building and then slamming it shut, unable to find the nonexistent bathroom and bitching about it the whole time. She even pauses at one point, right in front of the “no bathroom” sign, scratching her head and seeing if she can spot another door. Still clutching those jugs.

The lone girl working the counter is swamped, dealing with the craziness of the people in front of me, so she just ignores the door slammer for now. (The current customer is insisting that he wants one of those little brown bags for EVERY can in the case of beer he just bought. Dude, how many people can possibly be in your car? Just re-use the same bags, geez.)

I can hear somebody talking over near the drive-thru, so I’m assuming there’s one other employee around, but at this time of day there should be at least five. Must have been a drug bust or something. This place is always short-staffed after one of those.

There are two little kids beating and clawing the crap out of each other, apparently debating ownership of the candy bar they are both gripping, while Mom completely ignores them as she sniffs one of those grimy vials of fake designer cologne. (“Three for five dollah!”)

Juggie hooks back up with her counterpart, and there is fierce discussion on whether or not there is indeed a comfort facility in this establishment. She keeps dropping the jugs, because they’re so heavy, being empty and all.

One of the racks stuffed with hundreds of cheap, garish t-shirts crashes to the ground. I immediately suspect Polyester Crack, but she’s suddenly nowhere to be found. Maybe the rack has just had enough of ugly people touching it, and it took its own life.

Someone loudly clears their throat, so I look to the left. And there he is, one of THOSE guys. We’ve all run into their type, and none of us can stand them. They’re usually middle-aged, trying to be super cool with their walk and talk, think they are the smartest person in any room, and, here’s the kicker: everybody owes him. Everybody. Nothing is ever his fault.

You can tell this just by the look in his eye.

He’s standing at one of the obviously closed registers. Counter girl notices him as well. “That one’s closed,” she informs him (as if you can’t tell, moron). “The line’s over here.”

“I’m gonna stand right here. You can come to me, got something to talk about.”

Hoo boy. Counter girl is not up for that. “I’m stayin’ RIGHT HERE. What do you want?”

“I wanna know why I can’t use the bathroom.”

“We don’t HAVE one.” (You know the poor girl is SO tired of having this discussion with belligerent, clueless people every day.)

Juggie and Dimwit overhear this last bit and can’t believe it. Juggie actually screams across the store “YOU AIN’T GOT NO BATHROOM?!?” Her partner chimes in with “Why AIN’T you got no bathroom?”

Counter girl is over it, time for reinforcements. She yells for the manager. “Mr. Kim, man wants to talk about the bathroom!”

Dear gawd. Am I really witnessing three separate people all bent out of shape because they can’t pee in the GD store? Come ON. What does that sign say? That sign. Right. Over. There.

Mr. Kim trottles up, and AssHat starts in. “I bought this here beer. And you gotta let me use the bathroom.” (What the hell kind of logic is that? I bought a beverage and therefore I should have access to your plumbing?)

And it goes from there. It’s doesn’t matter what Mr. Kim says, AssHat is just gonna keep bitching, saying the same idiotic things over and over, like he has for his whole sorry life. (Why do stupid people repeat themselves like that? Saying the same phrase 47 times is NOT going to change anything.)

Juggie waves her jugs at the counter girl. “We need some water in these.” Counter girl gives her a look that clearly shows she is two seconds away from climbing OVER that counter and cutting the hell out of Juggie and her bonehead friend.

Luckily, another cashier wanders around the corner just in time to take the jugs and prevent any bloodshed. Because she would just have to mop the blood up later, and who has time for that? Interestingly, no one asks Thelma and Louise why this water is so crucial in their lives right now. It’s better not to know, because knowing could make you an accessory to a possible crime of some kind.

When it’s finally my turn, counter girl (we’re buds, she gets my cigs without me having to say anything) gives me a different look that says “if you would like to shoot me in the head and end all this, I’d certainly appreciate it.” I give her a look back that says “How thoughtful of you to ask. However, I’m a little pressed for time. Please ring up my beer before I pick up this enormous piece of ghetto jewelry and slit my wrists. Thank you.”

Behind me, I hear a very loud ripping noise that sounds suspiciously like cheap polyester giving up the fight to contain a very large ass. I don’t even bother to look.

I finish my business and head toward the door. To my horror, “Everybody Owes Me” is also leaving at the same time. He’s done berating Mr. Kim, but he’s still talking, apparently to ME. Great. For some reason, perfect strangers always think they can talk to me. And that I care in some way. I don’t. At all. Ever.

So we walk out, and he’s ranting away. (I avoid eye contact and try not to encourage him in any way.) He’s never gonna come here again. (Thank you.) What does a man have to do to get respect. (Uh, actually BE a man?) Why does he have to put up with this BS everywhere he goes. (Gee, I can’t even imagine why.) And I’m gonna piss in his parking lot. (Um, what?)

Surely he’s joking, but I’m not sticking around just in case. I quicken my pace and hop into my car. And as I’m backing up, he actually unzips and hauls it out. Seriously. Right there, in front of the baby Jesus and everything. And he lets it rip.

I calmly shift into Drive, and head out. For my viewing pleasure on the short trip home, there are few things lying on the roadside as mementos of today‘s adventure: an empty milk jug, several discarded cans of beer, some vaguely-familiar polyester pants, and a banged-up rear bumper.

People are just so trashy.


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