The night began with much excitement and fanfare, as at the intersection a parked car began to smolder and smoke. The block was quickly evacuated as the smoke turned into a billow of flames and the pitch black smoke filled the space between the buildings. Since the traffic disappeared, we were able to stand in the street and watch the car dribble and sputter drops of flame onto the pavement. Just when the flames began to really grow tall, a firetruck flew up alongside the car and took all of the excitement out of the situation. Soon the firemen and the fire-women, hopped out and took turns swinging axes to release the hood. The flames were quickly dowsed and the car towed away. Another exciting moment ruined by so-called heroes.
We have a podium out front where we keep our time-sheets and personal effects, such as soda, food, coin tipage, and other assorted nonsense. The thing that has always perplexed me, is when that curious animal known as human, decides that it is completely acceptable to open up and dig in something that is clearly none of said humans business. This happened tonight while I was helping customers. As I rounded the corner, an ugly fullback of a woman had the drawer of the podium open and was digging through it. I walked over and slammed the drawer shut as she quickly pulled her hands out. “Excuse me?” I said in an authoritarian and annoyed way. She stood there like a child that knew it had done something bad. Then she scrunched down into herself like a frightened animal, turned and faced the wall so she didn’t have to look at me. A moment later, she scooted out of there.
When it’s cold outside, we stand in the entryway to keep warm. When there are other annoying people in the entryway, we stand outside so that we don’t have to interact with them. There was a women who was half standing, half sitting against the wall. She had come out of the restaurant, and held the back of her hand over her forehead, in that Victorian swoonish pose that always means trouble. Eventually she collapsed into a full sitting position, and later when I looked back, she was in the no-shame, fetal position that drunk people get in when they are lying on the sidewalk downtown after bar close. While I watched her, she sat up again, and as a couple next to her glanced over to see if she was ok, she vomited all over the floor. It looked like a strawberry smoothie. She vomited several more times, then wandered off into the building, leaving a puddle less than three feet from a garbage receptacle that she could have easily spewed into. Lazy Vomiter.
At one point, a goofy looking guy in a Trans am with T-tops, asked me for directions to the Convention Center. The man had an old-time smokey and the bandit mustache and was wearing a Dale Earnhardt jacket. He asked me in an awkward and mushy voice, “Can you tell me how to get to the Convention Center for the car show, I’m deaf.” I gave him directions, with what I am sure was a ridiculous amount of annunciation so that he could understand me. He left me wondering what type of invention could replace the car horn for deaf people, or if they ever accidentally just lean against it, oblivious to the annoying sound they are creating. I’m sure some type of seat shocker triggered by another drivers horn would be inhumane, but how else could you get a deaf persons attention if they were driving poorly?
After work we usually go to a nearby bar where we know all of the bartenders. They hook us up with free drinks, we tip well. It is a win-win for everyone. Tonight we wandered in to a bizarre crowd that outnumbered us. It turns out that the guy who needed directions was in town for a deaf convention, and they all ended up wandering into the bar we usually go to. We were surrounded by the silent majority. Two Hundred and fifty deaf people, all signing and smiling and getting drunk. There were no seats in the bar, we had to go sit in a section that’s usually closed down this late at night. The bartenders were having a time of it. People were trying to sign their drink orders, and the bartenders tried to let them know that they didn’t understand sign language.
Another thing that I learned was, that deaf people are horrible tippers. I watched several people slide quarters onto the bar after their drinks were made. I was told that it had been like that all night. Every server and bar tender in the joint were at their wits end. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen drunk deaf people, but they lose all coordination and run into things. I had one drunk deaf woman walk right into me while I was sitting at a table. “What the hell” I said, almost spilling my drink and forgetting about the situation. A friend of hers, mouthed “Sorry” and shrugged.
I had the terrible luck as a child to go and visit my father at work and need to use the restroom. While I was in there, sitting in my stall, the stall next to me echoed with what can only be described as strangely orgasmic and pleasurable grunts. I told my father about the weird guy in the bathroom. He smiled and told me, “Oh, that must have been Raymond. He’s deaf. He doesn’t know he sounds like that.” Along the same line of thinking, someone in the bar decided to turn off the overhead music at one point. It was the quietest scene you can imagine. 250 people in deep conversation, but like Raymond, they didn’t know what they sounded like. There was no shouting or jostling for top voice in the conversation, but if you can imagine a small chorus of cats and dogs being stepped on, and the accompanying yelps and squeaks that would go along with it, you’d have an exact approximation of the sound of a deaf crowd six drinks deep. Thankfully they put the music back on, because only a psycho in the line of Jeffrey Dahmer could enjoy a beer and a meal to the sounds of squished animals. We left at bar close, just as a waitress was walking around with a hand printed sign that read: We are now closed, thank you for coming.