Sunday, November 9, 2008

Customers: Part 02 - Alphabet Lessons

   "You're not the motocross guy."
   "Nooo," I stalled, "I'm not."
   "No matter. I had a classical question. Well, a couple, actually."
   She had light brown hair and wire rim glasses. As she spoke, she crept into my personal space.
   "Is the motocross guy working tonight?"
   "Who's the motocross guy?" I asked, stumped.
   "The cute guy with the blonde hair. On his neck," she tapped.
   "You mean Greg? I didn't know he raced motocross."
   "Well, I don't know that," she stressed. "But he has the face of a motocross racer, don't you think? Freestyle motocross."
   There was no proper answer for that. I couldn't edge back any further. I was cornered between the cassette wall and the opera box sets.
   "Oh, my name's Natalie." And she stepped back into my space.

   "I always seem to get lost in this section. Could you show me how it's organized?"
   "Of course," I slid past her, putting some distance between us. "Everything is alphabetical -- "
   "I don't understand."
   "From A to Z. By composer. Then you have compilations. Various composers or samplers. Then individual artists. Again, alphabetical. Ashkenazy, Heifitz, Williams," I gestured. "Finally vocalists. Arranged alphabetically."
   "I don't understand," she repeated, and moved in again. Natalie now stood eight inches from me.
   "What don"t you understand?" I asked.
   "That alphabet thing."
   I turned away and rolled my eyes. A colleague, listening over in Video, began to giggle.
   "Alphabet," I said. "As in A ... B ... C."
   "Pardon me?"
   "First comes Albinoni, then Bach, then Chopin, then Debussy, then Elgar."
   "This seems so terribly complicated," she sighed.
   "It's called spelling. What you learned in the first grade. Hopefully." I tried to sound polite. Honest.
   She sighed again and gazed down at the floor. Natalie was a pretty girl, but I felt like I was talking with one of my cats. Her logical patterns were different from mine, from humanity. Plus, she kept inching forward. Was she nearsighted? She couldn't be interested in me. I looked about. Over in Country, there was the Motocross King himself. Greg.
   "Oh, the motocross guy is -- "
   "And I need music to compliment my power animal."
   "Power? You need -- What?"
   "Power animal. Our spirit guide through Life. Everyone has one. Mine is the Bear." Natalie reached up and placed her palm on my chest. "Yours is ... a Tiger."
   "I don't ... Is this like ... Sorry, we don't have a Power Animal section."
   Brilliant, I thought to myself.
   "What would you recommend for a bear?"
   I was getting dizzy. This was sheer nonsense. The Tiger wasn't even my astrological sign, to reference a question from the Disco era. It wasn't even specific to astrology. On the other hand, my girl, Zelda, was a Leo. Moreover, she was a Tiger in Chinese years. I certainly wasn't revealing this to Natalie, however.
   Worst of all, she was in my space. In My Space. I was increasingly uncomfortable.
   The Bear didn't like heavy music. None of those loud Germans or melodramatic Russians. Also didn't like "noodling" music that never went anywhere or made no sense. Modern music was out. Baroque music deemed too shallow. Eventually, we selected Debussy and Mozart.
   Choices made, I successfully launched Natalie towards Greg.
   A minute later, they were in Dance, and she was moving closer and closer.
   Greg finally bumped into the bin.
   I felt his pain
   I walked into Video, popped in a cassette by the rewind unit, and fast forwarded to the episode of Violent Is The Word For Curly. Then I watched Moe, Larry and Curly teach "Swinging The Alphabet."
   Don't understand A-B-C's, indeed.


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