I had a very pleasant "Internet shut-in" moment this afternoon, as I spent my lunch hour alone, quietly scrutinizing a group of men seated next to me at a Thai restaurant. The men were all computer sales slouchy, groomed with dockers, loafers, TJ MAXX dress socks, and blousy short sleeved button-downs in mellow khaki shades – a style that effortlessly breezes between situations of varying business importance, from on-site calls to club med retreats to Saturday nights in Atlantic City. And on each man, the entire ensemble was accented at the waistline with a clip-on Blackberry device, cinched there like a pink satin ribbon around a Yorkie's neck.
When I see guys like this, all huddled together, my instinct is to ask them which gentleman's club has the best lunch buffet. I consider this very specific niche of wisdom to be the province of men like this. I just suspect they've (collectively and separately) eaten a lot of room temperature ziti in a lot of strip clubs. You have to ask these questions – when you have them – of the correct people, to really gain the staff of knowledge. For instance, if I wanted to know Dracula's middle name, I would pop my head into Hot Topic and give a holler.
When they arrived at their table, the Blackberry Bunch™ made certain to arrange seating with the greatest possible sensitivity to their aggregate left- or right-handedness. ("Who's a lefty here? Yeah, well, make sure you're seated to my left side. Otherwise, we'll have a logistical nightmare on our hands.") This elegantly segued into a story about elementary school desks and how remember the way they were designed for right-handed kids and hey it was kind of a struggle for the left-handed….The story mysteriously trailed off, as did any other stories that weren’t about data loads or iced tea. (The man to my immediate left was disappointed in the iced tea options at the restaurant – Thai-style with condensed milk & oolong – because they did not include, in his own words, "Lipton." It struck me as funny, since I couldn't think of the last time I heard someone request Lipton tea by name, or even use the word "Lipton" in a sentence that didn't begin with "James" and end with "is a pompous, long-winded, ass-kissing penis cozy.")
As the lunch wore on, and I sipped at my Thai iced coffee in the direction of the Blackberry Bunch with deliberate condescension – rolling my eyes with each pull on the straw – one of them must have noticed me, because this is what happened next:
Blackberry Alpha Leader One: Are you eavesdropping, pal?
Me: Uh...(dripping with disgust) no. I'm just enjoying my lunch. Or, I was.
HERE, I HIGH-FIVE A PASSING WAITER, CAUSING HIM TO DROP THREE PLATES OF GAI PRIK NAM. IT WAS WORTH IT, HIS TEARS SAY.
BBALO: Listen, I'm not trying to start trouble. It's just that –
Me: (dripping with forced ennui) Yesssss?
BBALO: Well, it's just that a second ago, when I ordered Pad Thai, I distinctly heard you say, "typical stupid fucking American."
BBALO: And then when Ron (points to another typical stupid fucking American) asked for a Lipton Iced Tea, you yelled out, "Oh my God! I'm totally blogging that!"
Me: Totally unrelated. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to finish my (dripping with I-am-the-only-smart-clever-hero-in-my-stories juice) cold noodles.
BBALO: Yes, sure, of course. But there's just one more thing.
Me: (big sigh) Whaattt?
BBALO: Can you stop holding that tape recorder up to my face? I'm trying to eat.
So, here's my question: Do you find that people totally won't leave you alone while you're judging them?