Buying Milk

Shit, he saw someone coming towards him in his apartment hallway that he knew, or at least knew enough to know that he’d have to say hi, and that meant taking one of his carefully placed earphones out incase the other person said something important…’FUCK’. ‘It’s always so awkward to spot someone you know walking towards you, you never know when to make eye contact. You do it too early and you have to awkwardly look at each other while you’re too far away to talk. That’s like keeping eye contact with someone while they’re having a root canal.’ So he went through the process of pretending to inspect his immediate environment while staying aware of how close this other person was, ready to look up at exactly the right time. A few seconds of inspecting the wall later he looked up, made eye contact, smiled and said “hey”, or at least he meant to say hey. It was one of those times when you haven’t spoken for a while and when you do it comes out all screwed up. But it was alright, the other person offered up an equally inspired “how’s it going?”, a wonderfully rhetorical greeting. Maybe in time other questions will degrade to the point of rhetoricalness and instead of actually having a conversation people will just speak in disjointed rhetorical ponderings:
P1 How are you?
P2 How are the kids?
P1 Good Weekend?
P2 Great weather eh?
P1 Seeya later!
P2 Bye!
Well anyway, the greeting crisis having been handled expertly and the person having passed him by he lowered his smile a bit, but not all the way. He didn’t want to completely get rid of his smile after he’d passed the person, he wasn’t some kind of jackass. So he kept a grin on his face, as if that brief encounter had just ligthened his day, he felt consolation in the fact that his acquaintance probably looked equally moronic. He’d always been amused by that, how people say hi to one another and then keep smiling afterward, like they’d just read some clever joke. They always stand out, because no matter where you are in public, people look like they’re on their way to be turned into glue.

The elevator door opened and he got in, relieved to be in private once again, so relieved that he let out a big fart. ‘Shit, shit, shit; PLEASE don’t let the door open.’ What was it about farts that is so socially unacceptable anyway, just a normal bodily function, getting rid of waste gasses, people don’t get offended when you exhale. Was it the loud noise? ‘No you moron it’s the fact that they smell like shit.’ The elevator stopped. ‘Oh well, it’s been nice living here, been a great nine years’. He straightened up and tried to look as professional and classy as possible, like someone who would never fart. ‘What expression to wear…what kind of expression would someone who never farts have…probably like someone who is in a lot of pain. Should I pretend like I smell it too? Like I’m annoyed that someone had just farted in the elevator before I came in? No I’ll never pull that off… I’ll just try and look smart.’ He put his hand on his chin and tried to look like he was thinking about something.

An older lady walked in with a dog, he gave her the half-smile/nod, and went back to contemplating. After a few seconds she said “bandit!” Bandit? Was he a bandit for farting in an elevator? He looked over and saw that she was looking down at the dog, “sorry about that” she said.

“Oh, no problem!” he responded. ‘Phew!’, this day was looking up! Speaking of looking up, people in elevators look at those numbers like there’s a laser light show going on up there, ‘they’re not THAT interesting’. But he knew that people just looked at them because they thought that that would let them get to their floor, and out of that 5′ by 5′ chamber of awkwardness faster. ‘Really what do you talk about in an elevator? Ooh you can tell they greased those clamps! I’d rather watch the number show.’

They got to the bottom floor and the lady and Bandit got out first. He made eye contact with the two people waiting to get in and pointed at the dog with a disgruntled look on his face. The building having been navigated Roger opened the front door and let out a sigh. He put his previously perfectly placed earphone back in, and went out into the world to face whatever other disasters lay in wait.


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