I was at The Container Store yesterday (mmmm...Container Store), and when I approached the checkout line from an odd angle, the woman who had gotten on line just ahead of me thought she might have cut me by accident. I assured her that this was not the case, but then we were trapped. It was one of those awful moments that happens in elevators and subways where you've accidentally started a conversation with someone you have no interest in talking to, but you can't physically get away from them and it suddenly it becomes awkward not to continue chatting, but no less awkward to engage in pointless small talk.
But the woman was pleasant enough. She was in her 20s, smartly dressed in a way that made me think she had some sort of upwardly mobile job in the fashion or music industry (think season two Rachel), probably from money but if not she probably had it now. Sizing up strangers like this is not something I usually do, but this one was easy -- I could have easily hated her in high school, but enjoyed getting tipsy with her at the reunion.
I picked something up from the impulse buy rack, cleverly trying to avoid conversation, only I didn't actually know what it was, and neither did she, so we spent some time trying to figure it out. This led me to ask her what she was buying, as it was unidentifiable too (they turned out to be plastic shelf liners). Then we were on to how much we loved the Container Store, but only for little stuff, as their furniture is too expensive. She made a point of mentioning her husband; I gayed it up so she wouldn't think I was hitting on her. The whole exchange took two minutes, three tops, and then she was on her way to the next available cashier.
I checked out faster than my new yuppie friend, and I passed her on the way out. I caught her eye, smiled, and said "Have a good day," mentally patting myself on the back for being cheerful and friendly and ending the awkward encounter on a positive note.
The bitch looked at me like I was covered in vomit, bleeding from the head, and had just grabbed her crotch. Apparently, idle chitchat about shelf liners and suction-cup sponge holders is okay, but wishing someone happiness is still off-limits in New York.
I actually managed to get out of bed and go to yoga today. The Y calls the class "Gentle Yoga," but I usually refer to it as "Old Lady Yoga." I don't mean that disparagingly -- I'm a relative yoga newbie and the class is just my speed, and lemme tell ya some of those broads are wicked flexible. I just tend to be both the only man in the room, and the only person besides the instructor under 50.
This morning, two of the women in the back were having a fairly loud conversation as the teacher got started and asked us all to come into Relaxation Pose. They either didn't hear or didn't care, and kept on talking. Suddenly, from more than one person in the front of the room came a terrifying sound. Not a gentle, soothing "Sssshhhh," but the angry hiss of a thousand poisonous snakes. Others picked up the rattle and soon it was louder than both the talkers and the teacher. I just didn't understand what had pissed these people off so much. I thought someone was going to get killed, and it just didn't seem like a proportionate response. And this is coming from someone with a pretty short fuse and low tolerance for cluelessness.
Clearly these people needed that yoga class even more than I did.
If I've learned anything from the last two days, it's that people suck, and I long for the day when my Roomba and Explorer 8000 Home Entertainment Server join forces to take over the world.