Nothing's quite as annoying as being on the west coast* and seeing homophobic twenty-somethings with fauxhawks and fitted clothing and good shoes, listening to oontz-oontz dance music and drinking cosmos. It's rude to hate the minority you're emulating.
Equally annoying are wiggers — is that term PC? Like I give a fuck.
Wiggers. You know. Racist white boys wearing gold chains, crooked baseball caps, baggy pants with the crotch at their knees, and driving tricked-out cars with spinning rims, black lights under the chassis, and sub-woofers in the trunk, the sole purpose of the latter being to set off car alarms.
The Saint, the bar I toil at for a grueling four hours a week, was established ten years ago as a Lower Garden District locals' rock-n-roll divey hangout. The reason I have kept a finger in the pie and held on to my little shift all these years is because A) it's important to pay homage to your roots, and B) the phenomenon and aura of a locals' divebar is my comfort zone. (Oh yeah, and C) I'm fucking broke.)
The Saint's clientele has changed dramatically since my halcyon days there. Around 11:30pm, my neighborhood regulars whom I love and serve with reverence depart and are replaced by hoards of Tulane and Loyola children who come for whatever band or DJ we have scheduled. I can hardly bring myself to bitch about this—the bar's a business, and my friend Benji who owns it has not only every right, but every imperative to make his business a financially successful one. However, these children are not my people, and do not constitute a sufficient draw for me to keep my job. Luckily, my shift ends at midnight, so when the place turns into Romper Room, I'm Audi 5000, baby!
Why aren't these kids "my people"? Several reasons. First and most obvious, there's the generational gap. I just don't know what to say to a 22 year old. "How was the circus this year?" or, "Have you had your tonsils out?"
I am also a Grumpy Old Man (GOM) who, if he had a lawn, and descried a passel of this species loitering upon it, would vociferate his wishes that they promptly quit the premises, said delivery being accompanied by frantic gestures with a shaking cane, most likely. So I have neither the knowledge, nor the inclination to interact with them, though I wish them no ill. (Well, except the ones who tip 8%, which is almost all of them, so I guess I do wish a mild case of cancy-wancy upon most of them.)
On my last shift as I was winding down and the kids were winding up, one boy in particular rubbed me the wrong way, and I decided to play a little game with him, because if you're not amused by the company in your proximity, then it behooves you to amuse yourself.
This plucky white boy was wearing a benumbered basketball jersey, très décollété, some humorously thick gold-plated chains, pants so baggy he seemed to be wearing diapers under them (and with a full load, judging by the lowered crotch), and an over-sized baseball cap perched at an angle neither jaunty nor rakish, but simply stupid and derivative of a culture and minority that he most likely fears and avoids.
"Yo, yo," quod the wee bairn by way of introduction, "ahkahavah pink frothy-tini with whipped cream, butterscotch drizzles, rainbow jimmies and two cherries?"**
So repellent and amusing was the specter of this child, I replied, "Sure. But, c'mere for a sec. Let me just fix something…" He leaned over the bar per my bidding, and I adjusted his askew cap. "There ya go, Scooter. Much better."
"Yo, yo!" quoth the lad in confusion and outrage, "Whazzupwiddat?"
"Sorry. I just had to fix your hat. You probably bumped into something and it was a little … off. God, how embarrassing for you! Aren't you glad I caught the problem before people saw it and perceived you as a total idiot, ha ha!"
"Yo, yo," gesticulated the boy with accompanying signing for the hearing impaired, "What the fuck, man!?"
"Well, you know," I beamed at him and assumed a conspiratorial whisper, "if my fly was down or I had spinach in my teeth, I'd hope you'd tell me. You look like an upstanding, helpful guy. I was just trying to save you from having egg of your face … by way of your hat."
"Yo, that's on purpose dawg!" wailed the boy, torn between anger and sulkiness, re-maligning his hat.
"Well then I'd say you've had enough!" I cajoled him with a chummy punch to his shoulder. "I better fix you a glass of water and sober you up, ha ha! To think, going about with a crooked cap is a good idea! Talk about impaired judgment! Oh you'll thank me in the morning, yes you will!"
"Look, I can have my drink now please?"
I erased my veneer of false cheer and gazed at him stonily, playtime over. "I'll make your girly drink if you straighten your damn hat."
A beat. Two beats. "Wait. So," the confusion scrunched up his face, "you're saying … if I don't straighten my hat … I … can't have a drink? … Is that … that right?" he asked, incredulous.
"That is exactly correct," I said.
Three beats. "Aw, nevermind dawg," he said and stomped off.
I shouted after him into the noisy din of the bar, "And get the fuck off my lawn, ya whipperschnäpper! Next?"
* This anathema is by no means indigenous to the west coast, but seems most prevalent there for some reason, especially in L.A. and L.V., though NYC certainly boasts its fair share, but without the hate.
** This may not have been exactly what he ordered. I'm trying to capture the spirit of the thing, not the cumbersome details.