Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is Killing Time A Capital Offense?

The word “waste” is often used as a euphemism for the word “kill,” as in, “The boss says we should waste the guy.”
Yesterday, once again, I learned that while I’m good at wasting time in the conventional sense of the word, I’m not very good at wasting it in the other sense.
Yesterday was, as was mentioned, Scott’s birthday. It was also new comic day.
As it turned out, I was meeting up with Scott and crew for a birthday dinner at a restaurant across the street from the comic shop. Convenient, no?
Dinner wasn’t until 6:30. I get off work at 4, and it generally takes me 35-40 minutes to get to the comic shop from work. While there are a lot of little shops in the area around the comic shop, there’s really nothing there that would make it easy to kill an hour and a half.
I considered multiple options for dealing with the time problem. The obvious one, as suggested by my mother, was to simply skip going to the comic shop on my way home and just go home, then head back out at the appropriate time.
This had obvious advantages, but one disadvantage: once I get home, I have a hard time forcing myself to leave.
I also considered going in to work later than usual, meaning I could leave later than usual and have less time to kill. The problem with that, though, is that traffic is bad enough at 7:30 in the morning; I shudder to think what it’s like later than that.
Instead I decided that on the way to the comic shop I would stop at some other places like Wal-Mart and Best Buy to kill some time, and then head towards the comic shop, counting on the increase in traffic to delay me further.
Unfortunately, The Universe saw fit to counteract the dilatory effect of traffic by making sure that I didn’t hit any red lights along the way. If I had wanted to hit only green lights there’s no way in hell it would have happened, but because I didn’t…
So I got to the comic shop earlier than expected. I killed time there by wandering around looking for a birthday present for Scott. I’d actually offered to buy him Neil Gaiman’s latest The Graveyard Book when we go to the National Book Festival, as I did with Anansi Boys when we went back in 2005, and I’m still going to, but I decided that I couldn’t show up for dinner empty-handed.
Oh sure, my gift for the evening could have simply been my presence, but what kind of shitty gift is that? That’s worse than getting some homemade gift that your kid made for you out glitter and pipe cleaners.
I ended up buying him an Emma Frost action figure.
After engaging one of the comic shop employees in some nerd speak, it was around 6:15, so I wandered around outside for about 5 minutes before finally taking a seat in the waiting area at the restaurant.
In addition to Scott and Stacy and myself, Jamie and Casey also joined us, as did another friend of Scott and Stacy’s.
Apparently I was witty and clever at some point in the course of the dinner, which led Stacy to turn to their friend and say, “See? I told you that he’s funny,” which led Scott to point out that “he” was sitting right there and could hear them, which I actually thought was funny.
I don’t really recall what I said. Personally, I think my best moment was when Casey said, “I know you’re not a big sports guy…” and I responded with “I’m not even a little sports guy.”
As for the assertion that I’m funny, it made me think that if my dad, from whom I inherited my sense of humor, had been there he would have said something like “Well, he’s funny looking anyway.”
As for dinner, I had the mustard-crusted chicken, which was excellent as always, and a pineapple-orange-strawberry smoothie, which, towards the end, was giving me some major brain freeze.
After dinner and after we’d all said our goodbyes I headed to my car to find that there were ten or so teenagers – and a dog – congregating around it. I just ignored them and got into the car assuming that they’d have enough sense to get out of the way once I started moving.
Amazingly – teenagers, especially the kind who hang out in parking lots, tend to not be terribly bright – they did have enough sense, though it did take them a while to figure out that maybe they should move the dog out from behind my rear wheel.
And with that I was on my way home, and that was pretty much my day.
Today wasn’t especially eventful, though it was kind of odd. For one thing, on my way in to work on the Greenway, traffic was backed up for a mile from the toll plaza, and the whole pointlessly snarled mess added an extra twenty minutes to my commute.
However, when I got to work I found that in addition to my 10:00 call being canceled – which I already knew yesterday – my 2:00 call was also canceled. I was sitting there thinking, “It would be nice if my 4:00 call would also get canceled,” when my phone rang. It was the person I have the 4:00 call with calling to tell me that she needed to cancel it today.
Clearly The Universes is up to something, and is trying to throw my off the scent by first hitting me with a lot of aggravation, then making nice.
When I told him about my suspicions via IM, Scott asked if I felt an ominous cloud of doom hovering near. I said that I did.
Well, nearer.

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