As may be apparent, this will be dedicated to people who are sitting next to me. People sit next to me, sometimes I sit next to them. Sometimes we are even standing. They are strange strangers that probably make sense with context, luckily though I don't ever have to know that context. Instead, I just assume I'm next to a never ending roster of delightful crazies, and here is where I'll share them with you.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Person I am Next to Trusts his Puppy Too Much

I am next to this man. He is tall and slender. He has on a white t-shirt, and some bright blue jeans, obviously new. He is wearing a floppy brimmed hat, which looks kinda weird, and wrap around shades that also look kinda weird. Both articles of clothing could be considered practical, but both are for keeping the sun out of the eyes. Seems an odd choice, but it could be his sense of style, and that's cool. What's not cool is this whole puppy situation.

Head's up dudes, I am not really a dog person. I respect the little land sharks, but I am always half convinced they are going to eat me. What follows is not about that. In fact if you bear with some bluntness you will see that today I have found myself a hound sympathizer.

I'm going to lay down a premise: dogs are kinda dumb. I don't mean that as a put down, I just mean that they aren't equipped to informed choices that humans arguably have the capacity to make. So assuming my premise is accepted, a logical next step might be to assume that puppies are also dumb, arguably dumber, given they haven't seen the shit that older, more mature dogs have.

Floppy Hat does not agree with me.

I am on a patio, on a busy street. Cars are flying by, I glance over and see a tiny dog, and Floppy Hat strolling by. No big deal, except this adorable beast is loose. Free, and wild, it's experiencing a leash free existence. Floppy Hat trailing along behind smug in his munificence, he has granted this freedom. He is not longer the owner, simply a friend.
This months old creature can make its own decisions. It can run to that tree, it can smell that person, it can dart out and be wedged under the tire of the magic human chariots motoring by at speeds that are inconceivable this inbred wolf.

It's a damn busy street, and that's a damn dumb animal. Tie it up Floppy Hat, or take it to a park, or a side street. You aren't being kind to that thing, you are basically just flattening it.

Also your hat looks stupid.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Person I am Next Escaped the Long Arm of the Law

I’m next to this guy. He is a bigger guy with unruly bright red hair, and what I believe is referred to as a neck beard, also unruly. He has a blue Hawaiian shirt, unbuttoned over a bright blue t-shirt with the Linux penguin on it. He has cargo shorts, high grey socks, and some worn out but comfy looking sneakers on. He is pale. Not a cool, mysterious, and possibly a child of the night pale, but a pasty, works too much, and definitely child of the neon office light pale.

This guy looks annoying. I don’t like to be general while being pejorative, I prefer a pointed barb. But a wide shot is what’s going on today. He has some undefinable aura that oozes from him that almost physically pushes me back. Pure annoyance. But I persevere, surely this (probably) human repulsion dynamo will give me something, and he does. This man-thing is a criminal!

“Fucking five oh, keep pulling me over.”

While blithely ignoring how silly it sounds when he says ‘five-o’, he relates to some buddies that has been pulled over 5 times in the past month. Running red lights, stop signs, possibly people over. The last time he was doing 75 in a 25. Triple speed.

Then he complains about it. The phrases, “What right does he have” and “I was being targeted,” exit him.

This chump is trying to lump his traffic ticket in with some grandiose statement about the police state. What right does the officer have to target this white dude careening down the road at triple murder speed willfully never stopping? A goddamn reasonable one. This isn’t a social justice issue, this is a “you are going fast enough to kill people with tons of metal’ issue.

He carries on in this fashion, ranting about fairness and such, until one of his friends ask how much the ticket cost him. “Oh, I didn’t get one, the guy gave me a warning.”

At this point I died, that’s it goodbye forever.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Person I am Next to is Another Victim of Big Yoga

I am next to this lady. She has on kelly green sneakers, bright white glasses, and a maroon hat. She is maybe in her early or mid-40s, and she has excellent posture.

If I am being straight with you, I don’t really know what excellent posture looks like, but I do know how to eavesdrop. In this case my creepy listening skills have informed me that she has been a yoga instructor for around a decade, so I assume that the posture she is posturing is, in fact, good posture.

It also informs me that there is trouble in yoga land. She is chatting with a former student, who mentions not seeing her class on some listing or other, and is curious about, “What’s up with that?”

Our instructor relates that she had been working for this company for a while, and was informed that they were moving away from her brand of yoga. So, she won't be teaching there anymore. She is pretty chill about the whole affair, “Oh I’m doing fine, I found another place to teach, and all.”

And that’s it. The two women part ways, and the world keeps turning.

But shouldn’t there be more?

Are we so beaten down by corporate yoga deciding how we should bend? These fat cat gurus stepping all over this lady. Someone should start a petition, organize a boycott, fucking burn this thousand dollar industry down and put the postures back in the hands of the people! Let’s do it, let’s stand up to these Asana Barons, these two bit stretch bandits. This is god damn America, no one tells us how to Om.

I’m just kidding, it was a slow news day and I thought the phrase, ‘fat cat gurus’ was funny.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Person I'm Next to is the Pinnacle of Enlightenment or maybe has a Bad Knee

I'm next to this gentleman. He has a suit on, it's well fitted, showcasing a stocky, but not overweight form. His jacket is a grey herring bone, and his pants are a charcoal that matches some of the detailing on the jacket. He has on a lavender shirt, and a pink and purple tie. The tie is undone. His hair has long since abandoned him, but he carries the baldness well. I'd place him anywhere between late 50s and late 60s. Aside from being particularly fashionable, he would not have stood out to me, if it weren't for the rain.

It's raining. It's one of those consistent sort of downpours. I feel like it's pacing itself. This isn't a drizzle that might blow over, or a storm that will wear itself out in a burst, but a solid few hours’ worth of rain. This rain is here and isn't concerned with being anywhere else in a hurry.

Our gentleman is loading things into his car from a store with aid of a few underlings in rain coats. His helpers scurry back and forth, shielding cardboard boxes, stowing them in the car and running back for the next. The gentleman does not scurry. He matches the rain in a steady determined pace. His jacket is noticeably wet at the shoulders, his pants are dripping at the ankles, and water streams down his bare head, presumably into his face and down the back of his shirt. All of this he ignores, casually placing a box into his car and stepping out of the way of the mad rush of the rain coated loaders.

Maybe he doesn't ignore it though. Maybe he takes it all in. This guy isn't ancient, but he has been around. He knows things, maybe one of those things is that the rain is just the rain and that's ok. His jacket will dry off, his head too. Sometimes things are wet, then eventually they aren't.

His (non)reaction to the downpour is strangely cool to me. I want to be more like this guy. I want to be zen and practical all at once. I want to wander through the worlds shrugging off the fury of nature with a calm indifference. I want to be one with existence, and I want my super enlightened nature to be evident to people staring at me as I do something mundane as load my car with a cardboard box.

Although maybe he just has hip problems, and can't really rush.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Person I am Next to is Being Reasonable, but I am Still Scared

I'm next to this guy. He is wearing a heathered maroon button down, and grey jeans. He has on these oxford shoes that have seen better days, and bright blue socks that peek out when he crosses his legs. He is sitting at a table in this coffee shop with an unwieldy looking laptop in front of him. While I have, on several occasions, tried to covertly glance at his screen, I can't quite figure out what he is doing. Aside from endangering us all.

In some strange quirk of architecture the plug nearest Grey Jeans Guy is located some six feet up the wall. Rather than run his laptop plug directly up the wall, Grey Jeans Guy has, in some misguided attempt at politeness, plugged a power strip with a 3 foot cord into the plug, and then plugged in his own laptop. This results in a pendulum of electric danger lightly swaying above a strangely flammable business. I am hypnotized, not only by the back and forth motion of the strip, but also the tiny blue sparks that occasionally surge into the plugs that are just hanging on.

The imminent conflagration which threatens to slowly devour everyone in this coffee shop is not entirely Grey Jeans Guy's fault. Other contributing factors include; a bundle (passel, gross, ream?) of napkins that seemingly have gone untouched this year (and look like they would crumble at a the merest touch), a potted plant who was last watered when the napkins were placed out and has a similar level of desiccation, and a can of kerosene with a rag sticking out of the top port.

One of those I made up.

Why? Because logically I get that this is hyperbole. I know that those sparks won't jump a foot through the air onto any of the (real) combustibles I mentioned. But, I can't help feeling nervous about this. Part of me wants to say something. How would I even do that? Excuse me sir, I have a vivid imagination so could you please plug in your laptop differently? I bet he would do it too. This is the mid-west, we are a polite people. But, I guess asking him to move because I am neurotic wouldn't be polite. I will just have to make my peace with the very unlikely case that I will become a statistic.

The worst part? My battery is running low, and he holds the closest plug.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Person I'm Next To Has a Crappy Mustache and a Living Necklace

I'm next to this absolutely amazing guy. Our time near each other is short, too short. He is a little overweight and is wearing an baggy T-shirt with what I think is a Insane Clown Posse logo on it. His shirt is complimented, as ICP shirts often are, by gross and skimpy mustache. Based on his musical taste, and his facial hair I would put him around 16 or 17. He is enjoying a warm afternoon on his BMX bike, out for a ride with a 4 foot snake wrapped around his neck.


I have little interest in herpetology so I can't identify the type of snake, except to say it was big, green, and currently not strangling this magical man child. Although I can only assume that it could have done so easily, especially wrapped so luxuriously around his ample throat meat. Mind you I'm not questioning this transcendent jugalo's methodology, obvious he knows his shit. I'm merely expressing a layman's concern for his perfect neck, the world can not lose a person as amazing as this guy.


The People I'm Next To Are All Ready To Start Necking Each Other

I'm next to these people. Nine people to be precise, all of us morning patrons in a modestly busy coffee house. It's an almost eerily regular morning. For ease of reading, I'll make a roster: a dude in flannel shirt ordering and chatting with a pair of baristas, two folks just sitting and sipping on a couch, an older gentleman doing the crossword, two hip looking folks on their laptops, and some manic pixie lady with spiked hair and tattoos reading fucking Atlas Shrugged in a comfy chair.

Its kind of like this place is full of extras on a movie set pretending to be how people are supposed to be at a coffee shop, all just waiting for the protagonists of the film to pop in a stir things up with some drama. That said, I'm not complaining, the oddly trope-ish surroundings make for a weirdly familiar and cozy backdrop for my morning. Although after a little bit I realize there might be a driving narrative here that I missed, a few of them in fact.

To put is shortly, everyone in here is on the verge of making out. It's around nine am, and after a little bit I start to notice that most of the people here are wooing and being wooed. 'Most of the people' is an understatement, outside of me and the crossword geriatric, every person here is in physical contact with each other.

The pair of the laptop youths in the corner have had their knees glued together under their table. To clarify, they aren't actually glued, they are love glued. Oh, that sounds gross, forget I said that.

The a two baristas keep touching each others waists, and elbows as they fill mugs and steam milk. In between customers they keep brushing fingers and telling softly spoken jokes to each other, grabbing each other shoulders while they chuckle.

I have to choke back my own chuckle when I realize one of the couch couples are actually reading god damn poetry to each other. I thought they were studying, but I then I catch a few snippets of conversation that go something like, "Keats is so beautiful let me read you this one too." I guess they aren't really touching, but this counts in my book.

Atlas Shrugged and Flannel have stuck up a conversation and she keeps touching his chest. I can only assume that she is unabashedly quirky and he is about to be ensnared in a life changing and unexpected relationship ripped from any number of rom-coms that I secretly like, but never admit to liking.

I'm not certain if I should give the old guy a hickey or something to keep things in balance, but I'll hold off for now.

So yay, I guess its spring, but I'm kind of kicking myself for missing all of these at first. Normally spotting dates is my favorite creepy hiding in plain sight voyeurism, and that's from a fairly long list of creepy hiding in plain sight voyeurisms that I enjoy. I'll admit that not immediately noticing this pandemic undercurrent of lust is at least in part due to me being a bit rusty. I took an extended vacation from being next to people, but I'm back to privately eyeing the public.

Also, sorry again for love glued.