Keychains. Scented candles. Bumper stickers. Floor mats. Assorted cheap tools in vacuformed plastic hanging cards.
The coffee pot has been left on all day for years at a time. The burnt layer of bake on coffee crust is an inch thick, but no one seems to care as they refill their styrofoam cups from the pot one after another. Sugar. Powdered creamer. Plastic straw.
There are no shortage of snack for weary patrons, available for purchase of course. Most hilarious of which is the rack of ENERGY CLUB QUALITY SNACKS! THE SMART ALTERNATIVE! All graphics suggest this is the healthy stuff. The rest of the shop is filled with junk food but if you want a smart alternative while you wait, this is it. The gummy bears are flavored with “real fruit” – the glo-worms have 0g fat – the trail mix is “natural” though my definition of natural doesn’t include brightly colored candy coated m&m’s. This is why we can’t have nice things.
Every chair is full. Every eye is glassed over. It’s the usual suspects.
There’s the lady 3 sizes too large for the armchair she’s sitting in, wearing sweat pants that have been printed to look like denim and a black and white leopard print scarf that’s the size of a table cloth draped around her neck blending almost seemlessly with krinly product filled mountain of hair. She hasn’t looked up from her blackberry once. Continually clicking its surface with her lee press on purple sparkle nails.
Next to her is the older asian guy, white hair and spotted skin, who is using a vons grocery store plastic bag as a tote, filled with paperwork and folders, maybe some keys and an old style brick of a garage door opener. This isn’t the first day he’s used this bag for this purpose judging by the wear and holes in the corners. His hiking boots are less than apropriate for sitting in a tiled waiting room for hours on end and he knows it. Keeps looking at his watch. Has some place else to be. He’s sitting directly across from the TV but in the hour I’ve been been here he hasn’t looked at it once. Something distant off in space has his attention.
Don’t worry though, the tv isn’t being ignored. The bald man shaped like a giant eggplant wearing a too small leather jacket hasn’t taken his eyes of it once. Even when the phone clutched tightly in his meaty had started ringing he wouldn’t be distracted from TMZ celebrity news. It rang for a minute at least and he never once even looked at it. He’s flush and sweating, but the room is chilly enough that no one has removed their jackets, including him. He’s got a thick sweater under the jacket, wooly and scratchy from the look of it. He doesn’t care.
Crossword guy is next to him and has come prepared with a month supply of puzzles and a well used Bic pen that he keeps licking. I can’t see from this angle but I wouldn’t be surprised to find his tongue a solid ink soaked royal blue. He keeps licking the pen and staring at the puzzles but he hasn’t filled in a single word. I’m amazed the flattened baseball cap that is resting on top of his head hasn’t fallen off, and can’t figure out what physics is keeping it attached. Double sided tape?
It’s not excessively bright here, old fluorescent lights of which several have burned out and never been replaced. The Morphious looking guy with the shaved head and mirrored black sunglasses doesn’t care though. He’s not taking them off for anything. He’s sizing everyone in the room up as of each person is a potential challenger to his throne. He stares at me. I return the favor. Hi there guy. I wave. He just stares. Douche.
I can’t tell what color the woman next to me tried to dye her hair. Reddish purple? Purplish orange? Rusty brown? Blue? Maybe all of the above. She looks like she could be in her 40’s but aged beyond her 60’s. Like she already has great grand kids. Her black fleece jacket has a company logo embroidered on it which screams schwag. And her high viz safety yellow jogging shoes make it clear that she is convinced she’s still young and active, even if her posture and body shape tell a different story.
It must have taken the petite Korean girl in the corner hours to do her hair and make up. And either she stopped by to get her car serviced on the way to the airport or just brings everything she owns with her anywhere she goes. She has three shoulder bags, a purse and a briefcase. All designer brands but not matching. At all. Murakami YSL and a poo brown Hermes. She’s very important, I know this because she wants me to know it. She wants to make sure everyone knows it, and hasn’t stopped telling people on her cell phone how busy she is. She’s very busy an important. Noted.
There is a guy in the corner who is asleep. He might have been here for days.
The air smells like a medley of 1,000 cheap air fresheners. I can taste the sticky vanilla honey berry new car smell. I don’t want to, but I have no choice. I’ll be lucky if I can smell anything else for a week. The room is filled with limited time “today only” special deals advertised by handwritten signs on paper taped to walls and display cases. Signs that have obviously been there for months. Yellowed tape and faded ink. There’s not a single employee in this place that gives a crap.
I check my watch. Fuck.