Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lazy things are afoot at the 7-11

Most crack heads love two things, smoking crack and finding more crack to smoke. But I have noticed in my limited travels on my nightly dog walks within a few blocks from my apartment that a crack enthusiast will always take time out from his busy crack scavenger hunts to stop whatever he is doing (i.e. muttering to the woman behind the counter at the bodega while she has her back turned that she should stock up on Dr Pepper and string cheese) and point out to you how cute your dog is with childlike innocence. I guess sometimes crack isn't always whack.

Sometimes, for a brief moment it can aid in reaffirming your belief in humanity and remind you of the love you have for a pet that gives you unconditional affection. This is the kind of drug that Huey Lewis sang about, the kind that makes a man without a home find momentary solace in the cuteness of a Daschund’s seemingly soulful eyes.

Of course after such an encounter with a crack head you’ll want to wait at least three minutes after he leaves the store you're in before you exit it, because he'll probably toss a dead pigeon at you and steal your wallet and your cute ass dog so he can trade them for more crack.

Tonight I ventured into a 7-11 near me and even though there has been 7-11s in Manhattan for around six years or so, I had my first 7-11 suburban/ college town moment. As I waited on line to buy my late night essentials (paper towels, contact lens solution and a Naked Green Machine smoothie) I noticed a college age Asian stoner with long hair and a tie-die shirt (looked like he was an extra in the movie PCU) behind me who offered to give my dog a bite of the half-eaten breaded chicken cutlet that he was holding in his hand.

He wasn’t on line behind me. He was just standing behind me eating a breaded chicken cutlet with a wrapper nowhere in sight that I could only hope he bought at the store (only a college stoner would bring his own food to a 7-11 just to use their microwave.) After I kindly explained to the dude (if you’re a member of the male gender hanging out in a 7-11 at 3 am eating a chicken cutlet that looks like it came from a vending machine in your dorm, dude is the only term that can be used to describe you; as opposed to man or gentleman or aristocrat) that my dog is on a low protein-high kibble diet. I nodded to the dude and then to the dog and rushed home to satisfy my own smoothie addiction( or as close as you can get to rushing while walking a dog that needs to stop every five feet to check its mental Blackberry to decide if the spot needs to be peed on or not.)

Now that close encounter of the idiotic kind would never happen at my local bodega, as the Koreans who run the place would not stand for a stoner loitering in their store. I respect that though. Those men work so many hours, I’m sure they sleep standing up at the register. They always recognize me and other regulars in the neighborhood and are nowhere near cold or constantly leery of being robbed like they are portrayed in black gangster movies of the 90s. On the flip side, a homeless crack head would never linger in a 7-11 too long.

The ridiculously bright florescent lighting that’s about as aesthetically pleasing as the inside of a high school class room bothers their eyes much the same way it would affect a vampire or a magwai (When was the last time you saw a vampire in a movie or a TV show eating beef jerky?) When it comes to awkward interactions with the general public that I can’t avoid while walking the dog, I’ll take a homeless crack head any day of the week over an NYU college stoner. It is dudes like that who give the majority of the civilized, occasional marijuana smoking population a bad name. I can’t think of anything more whack than eating a chicken cutlet out of a 7-11 microwave. For Christ’s sake those microwaves only have one setting. Hot Pocket.

If you had told me in 1994, that I would one day pay $3.99 for a beverage that contained blended fruit, broccoli, spinach and blue green algae, I would ask you to pack the pipe with more green algae so we could smoke the rest of it. You know you’re over 35, if you’re only addiction in life is a smoothie. To put this in perspective, the only reason I might watch porn more often than I drink these Green Machine smoothies is that porn is free and the Green Machine Smoothies are $3.99 for a 15 ounce bottle. I don’t know what kind of hidden ingredient (probably sugar and caramel) they add to the Green Machine smoothies to make them so good and I don’t care. It’s also an added bonus that they are named after the greatest present I have ever or will ever receive.

The Green machines were to Big Wheels in the late 70s what BMW’s were to Buicks. Sure they both had a seat that you sat on and two big wheels that you manipulated by peddling, but there was something cooler about the Green Machine. You felt like you knew what it was like to be the Six Million Dollar Man on a Green Machine. On a Big Wheel, you felt like you were Richie Cunningham.

For most of my childhood and into my adult life I have been more of the Richie Cunningham /Herman’s Head/Chandler/Whiny Doctor on Scrubs who amazingly found the time from working in a hospital, pining over a cute but neurotic doctor and seeking the approval of his boss and cool, black best friend to date beautiful women /Ted from How I Met your Mother type. But when I was on my Green Machine, I was the Steve Austin/Fonzie/Jim Rockford/Burt Reynolds type, even though I was 7 and ran home for dinner whenever my mom shouted my name out the front door. As I made sharp turns with my friends on the cul-de-sac and I gripped the handles, I could imagine myself moving in slow-motion while wearing a red jump suit as Jamie Summers waited for me on my driveway with lemonade and a frozen Charleston Chew. As Archie Bunker used to sing on TV when I was a kid “Those were the days.”

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