Record 4: Pasadena, Thursday, July 5th, 2014. Day.
I’m at the Pie ‘n Burger again. I’m drinking coffee at the bar. I’m thinking about Shia LaBeouf. I’m thinking about how I really used to love Even Stevens when I was a kid.
I was a kid before I was an unemployed 27-year-old vagabond-dude who still wears jeans that aren’t too-tight.
Then I wonder what it’d be like to wear a brown paper bag on my head with a cool statement penned in Sharpie.
I could be like new-Shia, circa this past February, I think.
And then I think: “Why am I thinking about old February things?”
So then I wonder, if I wore a brown paper bag on my head, would anyone be like: “Hey that guy’s pretty rad like Shia LaBeouf he probably used to watch the Disney channel a lot,” and then surreptitiously take a photo of me and add some filters and shit and put it on Instagram?
Maybe, I think. Maybe I could be internet-famous by the weekend.
That’d be dope. I think about being dope and sip my coffee and feel like normal high-fives are underrated for a second and consider paying ten cents for a brown paper bag at Ralph’s. I would seriously only buy a fucking brown paper bag.
No clerks would look at me because I’d do the self-checkout and if anyone did look at me I’d glare at them hard, like “Yeah. There are no items going in that bag. That fucking bag? That shit’s for my motherfucking head. Soy milk’s on aisle I-don’t-give-a-fuck.”
You and I both know it: that would be chill. And I wouldn’t even wear a jacket.
The waitress refills my coffee, and I thank her. The refills are free.
She smiles at me and I ask her this: “How famous do you think I could be? Without any bag for my head, of course.” She laughs and asks me if I’m an actor and I think: “That’s what my bag will say. It will say: ARE YOU AN ACTOR?”
The waitress and I high-five and I do the Fresh-Prince thing that he does when he high-fives Jazz, snapping and being all like: “Psshh.”
The waitress laughed.
It was G.
I secretly knew I could bring high-fives back.
So now I’m really sipping coffee. Like a boss. I’m sipping. Slurping. Chilling.
And then it happens.
An old man with a wrinkly face and a red, white, and blue trucker cap strides in like he fucking owns the place. I think, first: “Maybe this old man does own the place.” And then, “Fuck. He’s carrying two brown paper bags.”
I do not lose my cool.
Not even when he SITS NEXT TO ME.
I have to pee. No. I have to send a text message. No. I have to have something to do. Shit. Sip coffee. No. Wait. Gulp that fucking coffee. Do not stare at his bags.
Think. This. Through.
(drink complimentary wine and pretend like you’re not overly concerned with parking validation)
I finish my cup and slam it on the table and it cracks and breaks everywhere.
Now I’ll never be famous.
“Whoa there.” The old man says.
He stands up and gathers the shards of glass into his hand.
He is G.
“I’m sorry.” I say. And I am. I even offer to pay for the broken cup, but the waitress says not to worry about it and I think for a second that she’s so nice and I want to hug her about it.
“Do you want another cup of coffee?” The waitress asks.
The old man looks at me and I think about Clint Eastwood.
“Okay.” I say to the waitress.
She pours me another cup. She asks if I’m sure I don’t want any pie.
“Not now, thank you.” I say.
Now is no time for pie.
The old man sits back down and advises me with a gravel voice to be careful with my new cup.
I don’t know why, but I say: “Yes sir.” And he laughs in my face.
I blush some because I’m pale. Then I look down and see that the old man’s brown paper bags are filled with groceries. I see juice. I see grapes. And so I wonder: “Why is this old man not in a hurry to get home? These items, they need a home fridge.”
I don’t say any of this. Instead I think of saying something else, and so I do: “You own this place?”
The old man looks at me, all confused and hangdog-stoic. Then he chuckles some and says: “That’s a strange question, you kid.”
I say nothing. I’m not really sure why. So he goes: “No, kid. I don’t own this place. Don’t even eat burgers, matter of fact.”
No but it’s true, the old man says. He’s a vegan. Vegans eat foods like this.
Don’t be fucking stupid.
Then the old man orders some food and I drink my coffee and we talk and I think I like this old man. I keep thinking this when he says he runs a lighting rental company.
Then he’s all saying that he rents out lights to cool entertainment producers that make videos for Miley Cyrus so she can dress like a stick figure doll and stick her tongue out. I sip and listen because I want this man’s brown paper bags. I want his cool diet. I want his America-trucking cap and drooping face skin so I can be like: “Yeah I’m an American who likes apple pie and baseball too, and I don’t need every Michael Bay movie ever to remind me that all this shit’s even more rad and dramatic when the sun is setting.”
Michael Bay is G.
I still don’t want to be an actor.
I’m out of coffee.
The old man is still saying things.
Maybe I could be internet-famous by the weekend.
“More coffee?” The nice waitress asks.
“Okay. Thank you.” I say.
She pours. The refills are free.
Miley Cyrus should be in the next Michael Bay movie with a brown paper bag on her head that says: “Old February Things.”
I would see that. And so would everyone everywhere in the world. Like you and like me.
And then I blink and everything’s in Technicolor again. The old man is looking into my face. He’s curious about something, I think.
I should have been listening.
“I’m sorry. What did you say?” I ask the old man, and he chuckles.
Again with the chuckling.
“Are you one of those hip kids?” He asks me.
“I’m not sure. My pants fit fine.”
“Because I know a lot of the hip kids. Uh huh. Lots of em rent lights from me.”
“Sir, I’m sorry, I’m very worried about your juice and grapes.” I say.
This is my chance.
“Why’s-at?” The old man asks. And so I tell him that they need to be refrigerated.
I’m learning that this old man might enjoy juice and grapes that are warm and I think: “Who am I to judge?”
So I just, like, I get very true and honest with the old man, and say: “Look man. I’m really thinking, right now, that it would be a good idea for me to get internet-famous.”
I sip some coffee.
“I don’t have a job, but I think about jobs a lot. Maybe I could work for you? But, right now, that’s not the point. Sorry man.”
I’ll never be famous.
The old man is listening to me, and I think: “Why?”
I go on: “For me to get internet-famous, I need some brown paper bags that I can’t afford. I mean, I could, but like I’d rather save ten cents for a parking meter or something, you know?”
He nods like he gets me.
“So. Like. Can I have one of your brown paper bags, man?”
Then he asks: “Are you an actor?”