Thursday, November 24, 2005

7 Minutes of Hell

I waited until 8:12pm on Black Friday to venture out into the shopping mecca known as the Costco Shopping Center to commence my Christmas shopping.

For myself.

Three months ago I lost a dear friend that had been with me during my entire broadcasting career here in Sonoma County.

My Sony headphones died.

I asked the engineer if he could fix the problem. The sound kept cutting out so I couldn't tell what was going over the air when the microphone was open.

I had bought these less than standard headphones at Radio Shack to replace them for the time being.

"Radio Shack" translated to proper English amounts to:

"I bought this piece of crap until I could afford something namebrand that will last longer than it takes me to walk back to my car."


The problem with those, since the actual earphones were smaller than my ears, every time I would open the mic and a song was fading out, I'd get feedback.

Even if I lowered the volume on the headphones, the problem still existed.

My boss would have brought it up, but he never listens to the station.

After a lackluster on-air shift where I spoke of six foot turkeys threatening the entire human population, and made several illicit references to sundresses, I had had enough.

I threw the Radio Shack knockoffs to the aged and stained carpet and then proceeded to jump up and down upon them again and again until all the frustration of the day was spent.

Then I laughed hysterically as the Radio Shack Knockoffs tried desperately to reach up and input their audio jack into the studio board, hoping to produce sound and live for one last moment.

The scissors pretty much took care of that final endeavor.

But this isn't why I'm blogging today.

I'm blogging because I remember why I despise Christmas so very, very much.

People are frickin' sheepish idiots.

Allow me to explain...

I waited until after 8pm because I figured most of the shoppers would have gone home and devoured some more turkey.

Dopey me.

If I had parked any farther from the entrance to Best Buy, I would have been home.

Before the sliding glass doors even parted I could feel the bass burrow itself under my skin.

This was not going to be pleasant.

I knew exactly what I was looking for, so I headed straight for the headphone section. I've been purchasing the same headphones from Sony since I began my radio career in the mid-90's, so I was hoping to find them, purchase them and get the hell out of there.

Not so simple.

Fortunately I'm thin, so I can weave in and out of human traffic with a few simple "excuse me's" and "pardon me's" and I'm home free.

Except today.

--- Two six year olds carrying what looked to be CD door's to portable stereo system's sped by underfoot laughing and giggling.

--- A rather sweaty obese man wearing a wife beater t-shirt wondered aloud to no one in particular where the DVD porn section was.

--- A rather frazzled soccer Mom was nearly in tears because her sons wouldn't listen as she insisted they stop playing Killey Willey 3.

I made it nearly unscathed until I reached the headphone section. This is when I was introduced to Bad Ass Gang Member #37.

Bad Ass Gang Member #37 was looking over the stereo receivers as I tried to find my new headphones. He started to walk away, passing me as he started to exit the aisle.

"Yo bro, you bumped me."

"Excuse me."

"You bumped me bro. You gonna fuckin' apologize?"

He got right up in my face as he said this. He smelled of cigarettes and cheap beer.

This is where my years of growing up in Stockton, the Official Armpit of California, comes in handy.

I locked eyes with him, but I didn't get angry or upset.

Looking away denotes fear. Fear equals weakness. Weakness will get you whacked.

"Listen man, I was over here looking at headphones. You walked by. That's all that happened."

I tilted my head forward slightly, but kept his gaze.

This usually makes me more imposing, even though I'm tipping the scales at 122 these days.

"Hey puto, don't you know who I am? I'm trouble with a capital fuck."

As he approached the phrase "...fuck with me" he lifted the front of his shirt to expose his piece.

The following are what I WANTED to say:

"I didn't know they sold those here."

"You wouldn't be a Coddingtown peep would you? You look familiar."

"Mine's bigger."

"I'm a dialysis patient. You'd be doing me a favor."

My Internal Censor was working overdrive pulling on the back of my tongue to prohibit it from uttering any of the above phrases.

Fortunately I'm in radio, because my Internal Censor is well developed.

That probably saved me from a good pistol whipping.

Eventually he started to relax his shoulders and backed away from my face a few inches.

"I thought so motherfucker."

He walked away using his Bad Ass Gang Member #37 walk.

As I stepped from the doors with my brand new headphones, I realized that Dialysis has given me a gift I didn't even realize I had opened.

I have no fear.

That's a very satisfying, yet very dangerous place to be.

But I'm ok with that.

1 comment:

  1. Did that really happen? Fuck, that's awful. I must admit though, much as I loathe homies and believe they should all be sterilized and exiled together on the same island, I admire a person who brings a gun to Costco and doesn't actually fire it. He was a stronger person that I would have been. Anyway, sorry I can't read your blog much anymore, I still read it whenever I have more than a second online. I miss you!

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