Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tough racket

One of the perks of the reception position I'm currently filling is fielding the barrage of sales calls this place gets by the truckload every day. Whatever job you currently pretend to do (unless you're cleaning out sewers with your bare hands in the Philippines) I am absolutely certain that it's not as psychologically damaging as a job in fucking sales. Especially when it involves cold-calling people during an economic recession. Honestly, now, in 2009, it'd be easier to convince a person to consent to butt rape than it would be to get them to buy anything. So, I'm not shocked when these sales folk are audibly stressed out on the phone.

An example (the name of the company has been changed to protect the innocent):

ME (picking up phone): LBR Inc.

WILLY LOMAN: Can I speak to the person in charge of retirement benefits?

ME: No.

WILLY LOMAN: (in a strange mock weeping voice) WHY NOT????

No, I'm not kidding. These people call disinterested parties all day and they've lost their minds. Any semblance of cordiality or professionalism is thrown out the window as soon as they know you're on to them. Today's example:

ME: LBR Inc.

SHELLEY "THE MACHINE" LEVENE: Who is the person in charge of your photo copier equipment?

ME: We're actually happy with the set-up we have now, thanks.



Indeed, that isn't what he asked me, but I'm not sure my cutting to the chase should warrant his wanting to pull my balls off with his teeth.

What I've noticed is that these poor dopes are now resigned to one of two states of being: playful nonchalance or mind-numbing rage. After you pull back the curtain on their little game, you get to see which character steps out and it's actually pretty fascinating. I mean, can you imagine being a photocopier salesman in Manhattan, walking into work every morning knowing that your livelyhood depends on your ability to sucker people into purchasing items they most likely already have and are perfectly happy with? The very fact that you don't wedge the barrel of a double-action revolver into your mouth and pull the trigger while tears of relief cascade down your face is a blessed miracle.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Knockin' me out with those American thighs

I'm not sure if it's a matter of upbringing or neurological endowment, but New York City commuters seem to be unable to sense the critical moment when their expansive, sweaty flesh gently abuts another human being. Sure, we've all experienced a lovable scamp who doesn't seem to understand that his awful body has crossed over into foreign territory, but what's even more insufferable is the moment when this cretin leans into it, as if he's discovered a magic cushion in the subway car. No sir, that's my elbow. You're sitting on my elbow.

On the newer trains, each bench is bookended by metal railings that form a sort of grating that separates those standing by the doors from those sitting at the end of the bench. On the older trains, these gratings were actually solid walls through which no flesh could pass. Now, loose skin can creep, like jelly through the tines of a fork, through the piping and rest on the shoulder of whatever unsuspecting dope is unfortunate enough to be sitting beneath it. I am, more often than not, that very dope. What I find shocking is that the owner of the flab pressing against mine rarely acknowledges we're touching. Either these folks don't have nerve endings in their asscheeks, or, to them, this is acceptable contact, a sort of agreed upon evil we all must endure. Now, if I were to jump up and kiss them tenderly on the nape of their neck, I have a strong feeling that the social contract would be rendered null and void.

What I don't understand is how anyone can be comfortable with rubbing up against a stranger. Of course, there are perverts, but most of the time I'm being molested by regular people. I can sense immediately when any part of my body is near someone else's. As a result, I rarely step on toes, I know instinctively when to move to a less intrusive position, and I most certainly know when my skin is dangerously close to alien beings. Hell, this sensation even extends to where my BAG is in space, much less my person. Do people not FEEL the presence of someone else? If so, doesn't it creep them out?

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Prospect Avenue Affair

I often feel as if I was born woefully late, as I seem to be drawn to old-timey language and entertainment. Occasionally, I'll throw on a radio serial from the 40s and bask in the "tune in next week" anticipation of it all. The show Lost is sort of like that and I suppose that's why I'm drawn to it. I guess I'm not only drawn to these serial-type dramas, but I actively seek them out. For instance, while waiting for a train at the Prospect Avenue stop, I noticed a bit of writing on one of the I-beams:

Where, indeed. At first I thought this was an isolated chunk of graffito, and, in fact, it was painted over a few days later. The truth, however, is that this was episode one in what may be an interesting tale of pornography, crime, and butt sex. The next week, I documented this brash offer:

Forgetting for a moment that this gentleman's slogan sounds dangerously close to a hotdog advertisement, I think it's really interesting that there may really be a pornographic program, most likely of the internet variety, that is shot on this platform on the R train. Throughout the ensuing week, I saw new graffiti on the wall that poked fun at a transit cop who reportedly got in on the action and was admonished for having "a small dick." Bear in mind that ALL of this is painted over within a few days of its being written, so it's almost as if there is a string of dialogue between this aspiring porn producer and an MTA employee, who must surely have read the messages before he/she paints over them. Speculation, you say? Well, in response to seemingly nothing (as there were no previous offers written in someone else's hand), I found this tidbit this morning:

The plot thickens. As does this dude's member.

I know this is all probably some tweener thinking he's being cute, but I would love for it to be real and for real trouble to befall both the anonymous poster and the MTA. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Secret eating!

Last night saw your intrepid reporter at a bar dangerously close to where he used to work (I noticed all of the shelving is still up...weren't we supposed to be out of there four months ago?). After several rounds of what midtown Manhattan tries to pass off as a happy hour, my former colleagues suggested we go to a somewhat hidden Japanese restaurant. Now, this mystic eatery was something of a myth where I used to work, a place few had been to and practically no one spoke of. So, I was not surprised when my pal, after we'd walked a few blocks, herded us toward a simple, nondescript door sandwiched between a hotel and a flashy fast food joint.

ME: Wait. Wait, this is it?

HE: Yes.

ME: This is a restaurant?

HE: Yes.

ME (thinking): Do we need a password?

I can honestly say I didn't know what to expect. I wouldn't have been shocked if all three of us were promptly gutted with sushi knives and left to bleed out in an alley. However, the small room into which we were led was as understated as the door and it was filled with Japanese men in business attire chatting away and ignoring the fact that three American dudes just seemingly stumbled upon their hideaway. My friend, a frequent customer, was warmly greeted and we all sat down to enjoy dinner which, like the place itself, was a complete mystery as there is no set menu. You're asked how hungry you are, a little or a lot, and whatever Japanese delight the chef has concocted that evening is brought to your table until you tell them to stop. We were treated to noodles in caviar, cucumbers served with a rich Japanese mayonnaise, shaved bits of fried fish, and an unbelievable Japanese curry.

The meal ended the way it began, in a sort of dreamy dissipation. We all parted ways, promising to see each other more regularly. But we didn't speak about going back to the restaurant. It was a secret place. I'm not sure if I could ever find it again.