Friday, February 02, 2007

Method 21

Sometimes I find myself being accidentally creepy. To wit:

Last weekend, I had time to kill before heading to a friend's birthday celebration at a local Hooter's restaurant. That's not supposed to be the creepy part, people, so try not to get ahead of the story. It just so happens that Hooter's offers a fine selection of quality food at fair prices. Sure, this food is served by women wearing jogging shorts and panty hose with socks, but it's important to realize that our waitresses genuinely like spending time with us. We're not anything like the losers that normally go to Hooter's.

Hmmm. I'm starting to see your point. Let's move on.

Anyway, I had an hour to kill before the party at Hooters. Some part of me instinctively realized that the only thing sadder than a group of middle-aged men at Hooters is one middle-aged guy sitting at Hooters, so I headed to a nearby Target store to look around. Mostly, I read magazines without paying for them. I read golf magazines. I read video game magazines. I even read Cosmopolitan magazine because apparently there are 20 different ways you can satisfy a man and I only knew three of them. Coincidentally, none of the 20 ways involves a Hooters.

After about 20 minutes, I noticed that I wasn't the only person killing time at Target. There was an elderly woman in the magazine aisle with me. Apparently, she had also run out of reading material because she held a Maxim magazine and was definitely eyeing my Cosmo. No dice. I was only on method 11.

There was also a couple goofing around with the home theater systems in the electronics section. In the 30 minutes I was in the store, I bumped into the couple at least three times. Like me, they didn't appear to be buying anything. After reading about method 20, I decided to leave Target and kill time elsewhere. I drove toward the Hooters.

Now, you can cue the creepy music.

On the way, I spotted an adult novelty store that I've heard advertised on the radio. It's supposed to be classy place and I suddenly felt insanely curious about what the store looked like inside. All the usual things went through my mind. What if someone I know sees me going inside? What if someone sees me looking at some strange device and assumes that I'm interested in it? How sad is it to see a middle-aged guy by himself in an adult novelty store?

I calmed myself by saying the usual things. I'm an adult. I'm not doing anything illegal. Besides, the chances of running into someone I know are astronomically low.

This thought turned out to be weirdly prescient.

My first impulse was to park in front of one of the other stores, but I fought this cowardly impulse and parked right in front of the store. I boldly stepped out of my vehicle and entered the door. Everyone looked up when I entered the bright store. I quickly registered two things: first, this place wasn't classy. It had the high checkout counters and hand written signs you only see in adult stores. Second, the couple that I saw at Target had decided to come here, too.

All three of us went beet red with embarrassment. A second later, I got a horrific feeling in my gut. What are the chances that two separate parties would waste time by first going to a Target store and then independently follow that up by going to the same adult novelty store within minutes? That would be an astronomical long shot. Were they following me?

Then it hit me. They were here first. Omigod, I thought. I look like a creepy stalker. I looked like some dude who had easily skated through methods 1 through 20 and was now busily trying to invent method 21. The only thing that could have made the moment stranger was if I had walked in with the elderly, Maxim-reading woman.

For a moment, I had the urge to talk to the couple. I wanted to explain how I was just this regular guy who was spending the night innocently reading Cosmo and hanging out at adult novelty stores before joining his friends at Hooters...

I decided to leave instead.

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