It was a typical Sunday when Howard and I were having our usual coffee session in the deli. Absent for a while, Howard and his ex girlfriend who things are complicated with operate an air B and B downtown. As usual, the Yemeni counter guy and his Mexican employee were cracking jokes with the plethora of characters that drift in and out. Some of the guys are blue collar dudes, changing shifts and calling the counter guy a terrorist. The counter guy tells them he will blow up their house and steal their woman. We all laugh.
Then some other blue collar guy calls the Mexican dude a board jumper. Of course the Mexican dude says not only is this true but he will steal his woman as well. As I stated, we all laugh. It’s irreverent, politically incorrect, but we are all friends. In a way, it is like if Roseanne or Cheers came to New York, and their safe place was not The Lunchbox or the Cheers Bar. Rather, it is this deli and the glass window and the door are what protects our safe place from the outside world.
Yokels like my friend Howard and myself are ever present. We drink our coffee, have some breakfast, and read the paper. Howard and I found ourselves discussing the Bill Cosby controversy. Personally, after what I have heard I would hesitate to take a pudding pop from the man. Then again, it all pointed to rapist when he worked as a baby doctor on his television show. And anyone who has that much of a moral high ground and is that conservative, watch out. Still, it was fascinating.
As we had this conversation, Howard and I saw this bulldog walk by. This fella was strutting, puffing his chest out. By the way his teeth jutted as well as his distinct walk you knew this pup had personality. As the dog passed, I pointed this out to Howard. Then the dog passed again and Howard concurred. It was amazing how this pooch could have so much personality. As a matter of fact, I have nicknamed that bulldog Sir Winston Churchill. He has officially become Prime Minister of Hell’s Kitchen.
Winston’s strutting was short lived. He was overthrown by a miserable looking, displaced sheep dog with a white shag that looked like it hadn’t been washed in forever. With him was an owner who looked like a text book loser. With a cigarillo cigarette, he errantly blew smoke thus helping to further ruin the ozone. His annoyed dog pooped in one place, and then decided he wasn’t done and popped in another. It wasn’t because the sheep dog’s colon had a problem, rather he wanted to screw with his owner and get under the dude’s skin for not giving him a bath. He sheep dog succeeded. As this was happening, we felt the vibe from the dog that said, “Yes, I am with this loser but I am pretending to be adopted and not to know him.”
The owner did not get the memo, and continued to blow his smoke risking lung cancer to himself and pollution to those around him. His canine companion hung his head in a mix of teen angst and shame. The two continued onward. Howard agreed with me. The dog hated it’s owner. We hated it’s owner. Nobody liked this guy. I named the sheep dog Bernie.
As we looked out the window, Howard and I both agreed one could tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wore. This dude waltzed by wearing shorts despite the warm but not so warm weather. On his feet, he was sporting orange sneakers. “He is just trying to be cooler than he is, and he isn’t that cool.” Howard observed. “That is usually the case for people who wear colored sneakers.”
Howard was correct. I had an ex who wore both orange and red sneakers. Isaac was ever the wannabe and rubbed many a person the wrong way. I was willing to bet this same idiot with the colored sneakers probably had a band in high school and one that probably barely performed now. Either way, this was the guy at the party trying way to hard. Somehow, this dude always had a girlfriend and she had entered the most cheat free situation ever. Oh, and she constantly let him know she could do better. Then his mother probably regularly called him a mistake. Sigh, to the man with the brightly colored sneakers.
Seconds later, our next victim appeared. This gentlemen wore wool socks and sandals. Howard and I observed this was a fella that could commit to no season and would probably be a lousy boyfriend because he couldn’t plan a date. Not to mention someone that you wouldn’t want to hire to work for your company.
Then after him came the girl who was all out in the snow boots. Howard and I surmised this was a chick with a plan. Completely neurotic and no fun, she was ready for any and all emergencies. Walking with her was a chick who had on simple rain boots. She was also a chick with a plan, but much more fun than her uber neurotic friend.
After her came a teenage girl who was wearing a trendy multi-purpose sneaker boot that many of the kids wear these days. With her she was grudgingly walking a dog, and had a disgusted look on her face like someone forced to pick up droppings from her four legged companion who looked less than thrilled to be with her. “She looks like she has a plan, but doesn’t know what it is. But she’s got one.” I told Howard looking at the young woman’s foot wear.
“Oh, she is coming up with a plan, and her plan is to ditch that dog.” Howard observed. I agreed. My friend was correct.
Following her was a girl with nice flats on, clearly not rain appropriate shoes though. Howard and I both agreed that if we were to meet her in real life we would probably like her best. She looked vaguely like Lisa Turtle from Saved By the Bell. The girl seemed pleasant, and there was no way she could ever know that she got off easy under our gavel. Still, if she knew it might make her day while she gave us an ear full for being such jerk offs. But we were behind the glass. She could hear us just about as well as Helen Keller. Not to mention she might be judging us as two losers with no other friends hanging out on a Sunday afternoon.
As I sat there judging strangers, I thought about those I knew and barely liked and what their shoes said about them. Yes, I am talking ex-boyfriends. Sean always wore Velcro shoes, which said he was an idiot trying to be smart and cool but failed like an alcoholic at a field sobriety test. Scott always wore lace up black boots or high top shoes. Both say would be punk rocker, but emphasis on would be because his hair line was diminishing quickly, so he merely looked like a lost old man. Holden always wore work boots, which was appropriate because he always had transient jobs and hitch hiked quite a bit during his sprees of homelessness. Hell No, Joe always wore sneakers he barely tied, which means idiot jackass all the way. So there you have it. The shoes do make a man.
Howard told me this was to be my latest blog. It’s the least I could do for my pal. He hasn’t been around because his internet has been down. Plus he always gives me good material. Here I am hoping church saves my blackened soul. Once I exit the building, there is Howard waiting, eager to bring out the demon in me again. Alas, there is no hope all ye who enter our corner store.
When we die, that is in the event one of our people we are watching hears us and stabs us both, check Howard and I out in hell. The way this planet is going and knowing my fans it is possible anyone reading this blog will be joining us as well. If you do see us, we will be giving color commentary on the new arrivals giving them a crappy start to their eternal roasting. No worries, Satan scouted us for the gig ahead of time.
However, Howard and I don’t get off entirely scot free. He will be forced to spend an hour a week in church, and I will be forced to spend an hour a week with one of my old boyfriends.
And Bill Cosby will have pudding pop for all the unsuspecting pretty ladies.
Oh what tangled webs we weave