Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's my birthday

After this post, Classic Brian will be a blog consisting of 620 published posts, 100 of which are tagged with my name, Eliot.

While it is unknown as to whether Nick or I have accumulated more blog posts over CB's existence (it's certainly turned into a two-man game of late), let's just pretend that I own the lion's share. If you were wondering whether I would mention this being Eliot post No. 100, I'm sorry to potentially disappoint you.

Today, just now in fact, I was at an ATM. The ATM has become a depressing place for me recently, as my lack of employment rings in louder and louder harmony to my dwindling funds. But I was taking out money today so that I could go to St. Louis and see The Dark Knight Rises in OMNImax, which I feel is the best way to format that word. As 6 o' clock approached and the store wherein I made my withdrawal reached its close, I staggered up to the ATM behind a middle-aged black lady.

She was sensibly dressed, wearing something of a gray and maroon full-length floral outfit. She was even wearing a sunhat. It suited her. As I stood behind her in line, she turned around and met my gaze for just nearly a brief second before turning back to the ATM, whether she bore a stern face or not, I did not know.

ATM etiquette is one of the most nominal and silly social norms of today. It's right up there with male bathroom etiquette in terms of unnecessary caution. But I am not fully educated on ATM etiquette, and began to question myself as to my standing position — was I too close? Did she distrust me? I don't know how to take advantage of a PIN number, unless I follow that person around until they inadvertently lose their debit card where I can easily retrieve it. Even then, she's a woman. Someone somewhere would probably track me down before too long if I was using a card belonging to Linda Johnson. Just like in the bathroom, if some guy sees your penis, keep in mind, he is still miles away from sucking that thing. You don't have to file assault charges quite yet.

Anyway, I was unsure if our gaze had been a infinitesimal signal of "back off" or merely an intersection of two careless people taking money out of their accounts to spend it and bring their net worth to a new, regrettable low. I stood back, and pretended to focus on a bronze floorpiece that commemorated the University of Illinois on "Agriculture and Science." The two subjects were imprinted in the circle on opposite pages of an open book. Agriculture was hyphenated, because it would be unrealistic if the word went across both pages. There were symbols surrounding the book, one a spade tucked into the earth, another a microscope, and a third appeared to be a agricultural AND scientific object, but I could make no mental connection as to what the piece actually was. I decided the bit of bronze floor was a shabby artifact, not vital to the University.

As I came to this conclusion, the black lady in front of me pulled away from the ATM muttering utterances I could not understand. Whether she was condemning me in a foreign language or rapping Lil Wayne lyrics under her breath, I could not tell. Then I looked at her hands, she had a lot of cash, and was organizing it. One of her bills had an approximate third of it torn off. She was talking about it, but again, I didn't know if she was inviting conversation or if she was ticked off at my intrusion. If she was mad, I feared, she would present me with of some of that patented black-lady sass (patented black-lady sass is preferable to stereotypical black-lady sass, I am hoping).

I resorted to my only plausibly safe recourse: the nervous but entirely audible laugh. She looked at me and, in agreement, shook her head. We were on the same team, I was almost sure of it.

"What?" I said, realizing that I hadn't heard her legitimately.
"One of my bills is torn in half," she said, content to have her complaint heard.

And there it had went, by far the most efforted social interaction I had all day.  For some reason, this felt like enough. Like just talking to that alone, middle-aged black lady was satisfactory to think "I talked to someone at the ATM today." For what it's worth, I think her 20 was still usable. I didn't mention that, however, because now she got to go inside the store and talk to a clerk about it, and that would be two conversations on this ever-wilder ATM quest. Tired, hot and full of a Buffalo Chicken footlong from Subway, I stepped up to the ATM, when it hit me.

I turned my head in her direction as she faded into the store.

"That's quite literally a rip-off," I said.
She stopped. "What?"
"I said, 'That's quite literally a rip-off.'"
"Ha ha ye-es," she replied with on-the-go humored enthusiasm.

I grinned alone in that lobby even as I threw away my receipt with depressing figure-based reality imprinted upon it. Out the door with $30 I went, and headed toward my still un-air-conditioned apartment. To tell the world of my brave adventure.

This glamorous life I have.

Here's to going for it when there's no reason not to, and in return receiving modest-but-positive results;  the very essence of Classic Brian itself.

--Eliot Sill

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nick - Wait, I Can Explain

Dear guy who works at the bank I work at (but never directly interacts with me),

Wait, no, that look wasn't for you. You have to understand that you just so happened to walk by right after my scanner jammed and I looked the universe in the eye and gave it my most intimidating death glare. You just happened to be standing right in front of the universe at that particular moment. I would have followed it with a reassuring smile, but you quickly scuttled away from me as if afraid for your life. Listen though, I don't want this to be a thing between us because we are coworkers (who never directly interact) and we should be able to get along in the workplace (without any actual verbal communication).

Dear tiny slut at the Springfield Mall,

Hey now, don't give me that look, this totally isn't what it looks like. I was definitely not checking out your body, being like, "man, I want to bang this clearly underage chick who has no boobs," I was just thinking to myself how crazy it is that you are so young and also dressed so slutty. I was trying, in my head, to guess your age, which, I'll admit, is sort of similar to checking you out, but the difference is in the intentions. Also, and this is tangential, but I think that I'm young looking enough that I should be able to look at you without getting a pedophile look because I'm not even old enough to be a pedophile really, probably.

Dear snobby rich neighbors of my rich uncle,

Listen you guys, I know that your first impulse when looking over a fence into my uncle's yard while he is out of town and seeing a teenager wandering around aimlessly is to think that I am casing the joint, or something, but I promise that that is the opposite of what I was doing. See, I'm supposed to be watering their garden, but I like to sort of wander through it and check out the flowers sometimes. And while I guess it's kind of weird that you're playing D on my uncle's house, what's really weird is that you seemed to think it was some sort of elaborate ruse when I actually started watering the flowers. Like that was just my cover story, or something. I thought about entering their garage door code to show you that I do, in fact, belong here, but I was afraid that might be the point at which you actually call the police.

Until my next awkward and totally-not-my-fault interaction,