Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Person 1) Hi! I heard you had an awkward conversation earlier with someone who wasn't very sure of themselves.

Person 2) Ah yes, I remember not feeling that a follow-up was necessary, but I will pretend to not remember anything about it so we can have something to talk about.

Person 1) I would like to have a more in-depth and specific awkward conversation based on the awkward conversation you had earlier.

Person 2) For whatever reason, I am ok with this. Please continue!

Person 1) Right! So you know that minutial aspect of the complicated thing you were talking about in a broad general way during the awkward conversation from earlier, the cost of which is most likely forwarded on directly to your customer? How would you like to discuss that in a little more detail and possibly save $.50 on the unit cost?

Person 2) That isn't terribly exciting of an offer at all, but I'm too polite to abruptly end this conversation.

Person 1) Wonderful! Also! Do you like receiving impersonal form letters merged into emails with generic high-def images, large file attachments, and other thinks that will take even your high-speed connection a few extra seconds to open?

Person 2) Sure! My email address is first initial, last name at company

Person 1) Great! One more thing: Rather than just say "good bye", can we end the conversation with a volley of roundabout pleasantries to make it seem like this conversation wasn't tedious and annoying to both of us?

Person 2) You read my mind!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Most Unappealing Conversations in History Part 4: Canned Fruit & Other Secret Agendas

Scene: Subway train. Enough space so that people can have one empty seat to each side, but not much more. It helps to imagine Person 1 with the voice of Coach McGirk from Home Movies.

Person 1) "What ever happened to canned fruit cocktail, anyway?"

Person 2) "Excuse me?"

P1) "Sorry, I know I'm being that guy who just starts talking without considering your agenda. God forbid you have your own thoughts. I know, I hate it when people do that too. Whatever. I just noticed the Del Monte can through your plastic bag there and felt nostalgic for a second, that's all. I'll let you alone."

P2) "Oh no that's alright, I was just startled, that's all. You aroused me unexpectedly from my public transit coma, I suppose."

P1) "Yeah"

P2) "You said you'll 'let' me alone instead of 'leave'... my grandmother used to say that."

P1) "I mean, it's probably not even fruit cocktail, right?"

P2) "Huh?"

P1) "In your bag. We don't have to talk about it if you don't want. I can read a little bit of the label, is it mandarin orange slices?"

P2) "Uh, peaches."

P1) "Ahhh yeah... they were part of it, though. The fruit cocktail, I mean. Let's see, it was... peaches, pears, pineapple, green grapes, and cherries."

P2) "Yeah... and syrup."

P1) "What was your favorite?"

P2) "My favorite? The pears, I guess..."

P1) "Really? Not the cherries?"

P2) "Well everybody chooses the cherries."

P1) "Look, we're not talking about your hypothetical 'rooting for the underdog' opinion here. You're not a social worker for neglected canned goods, are you? Which do you actually like?"

P2) "Alright, cherries, obviously. What are you getting at?"

P1) "Nothing! I'm not getting at anything! Does there have to be something to get at? I just noticed your fruit can and it reminded me of my childhood, that's all. We don't have to talk about it if you don't want to."

P2) "I don't mind talking about it at all. I'm bored and honestly I wish there were more spontaneous conversations like this on the subway... but I feel like there's like an inside joke I'm missing or something. Does "canned fruit cocktail with cherries" have another meaning I'm unaware of?"

P1) "Nope. At least not as far as this conversation is concerned."

P2) "Well supposing that is true... it is just an especially random topic. I know that subway conversation is generally about unexpected and unlikely topics, but this just doesn't strike me as-"

P1) "Doesn't having a 'list' of unexpected topics kinda defeat the purpose? Fruit cups are exactly something that would be subway discussion."

P2) "I was thinking more like why do books still have quotes from articles written about the book printed on the cover when everybody assumes the quotes are taken out of context or are from a questionable source... or old video game systems perhaps. Something other than this subway ride that we all have in common."

P1) "Yeah, I haven't read any books in a while..."

P2) "I haven't read as much as I'd like to. I always say that with all this time taking public transit, I should read more than I do. When I first moved into the city, I easily was reading a book every week, but I've slowed down in the past year or two."

P1) "My younger brother used to steal the cherries. I mean, whatever, he was only like 6 or 7, but y'know... if habits like that aren't ever confronted it could snowball into some pretty serious stuff."

P2) "I know what you mean, I live with my brother and we get in each other's hair sometimes. He's the one who recommended I try this short series of thrillers by this Swedish author, and I think that maybe a little honesty on the back cover about how slowly the story progresses in the beginning wouldn't deter anybody, as long as we know there's a payoff."

P1) "My brother is very successful and I'm proud of him."

P2) "Oh that's good. I wonder why they can't just tell us that sometimes the amount of detail the author gives is discouraging. I mean, I would still buy it!"

P1) "My roommate reminds me of my brother when he sneaks into my leftovers in the fridge at night and takes out the best parts of my food. I don't know how he guesses that the broccoli is my favorite part of any dish I make. I mean, I guess it's pretty obvious that I like broccoli, I always have it around, you think he'd guess that I like it and just leave it alone."

P2) "Maybe he just thinks that because you have so much of it, you wouldn't mind sparing some."

P1) "What? ... ... No."

P2)"This is my stop"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lorimer's Reality

Lorimer was innocently preparing for work when a spirit with no sense of purpose possessed his mind and body. In order to differentiate this new being from old Lorimer, we will call him Lorimer Prime, or LP for short. All that LP is guided by are the primal urges of Lorimer's body, tempered by what he was able to understand of a philosophical conversation he overheard on the subway about the concept of "want" and "self" in the context of Buddhism and Freud's psychoanalyic theory. All he heard was the most basic principles, that the goal of Buddhism is to experience no feelings of want, and that according to Freud, our lives are an ongoing cycle of pain caused by want, mostly spurred by the desire to procreate, and eventually you die and stop wanting. This is what LP has to work with as he wandered through the city following his first natural urge: procreation. In these socially liberated times this is not a challenge at all, especially for an someone capable of possessing the minds and bodies of others. Once LP had his fill of sex, he felt a sense of equilibrium, which he interpreted as the cue to end his life. So he hopped into a cab and went to the nearest bridge... he left the cab and approached the bridge in full stride, but when he caught a whiff of a nearby pizzeria, he discovered a new shade of want. He devoured one slice of every topping configuration available behind the authentic Italian plexiglass, unsure of when his hunger impulse would subside. Once he finished vomiting in the alley, he found himself once again without want, so he picked up a long shard of glass with intent to plunge it into his neck. While searching for a place to sit down and efficiently off himself, he noticed how uncomfortable his pants were. Why would somebody wear such tight pants? He decided this qualified as a want and began a new mission: to find a pair of pants that fit. Once this want was satisfied, he decided to find an office building in the financial district to jump off of, so there would be no food or anything else desirable nearby to distract him. As he entered the cab, a girl tapped his back. Apparently she recognizes him from a "relationship" she must have had with Lorimer. Her name is Trish. LP decides to play along, as his sexual want had returned. Several weeks passed in this manner and LP was still active. Trish is talking to mutual friends and asks, "You guys notice anything different about Lorimer lately?" Sherry, another one of Lorimer's exes said, "Yeah... he got new pants."