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FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND

FALLING INTO DISGRACELAND

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I think perhaps I am going mad. Or maybe everyone else is. It's hard to tell. This was my week. Thursday night, I went to the Peabody. There was a Sunset Serenade going on, which I'm sure would have been fun had I been on my way there. As it was, I was just meeting a friend, happened to go up to the rooftop to see if she was there, saw multiple throngs of people heading every which way including toward me in a stampede-like formation, got scared, ducked into the ladies' room, happened on some woman complaining very loudly about men while smoking a cigarette and fixing her pantyhose, and quickly ducked back into the elevator. Downstairs I found my friend, sat down at a table and began a discussion when a man asked if anyone was using the extra chair at our table. We quickly said no and waited for him to take the chair away so we could continue our conversation when said man plopped heavily down in said chair still sitting at said table. Despite the lack of another chair, his friend joined us, and I'm pretty sure I caught him looking at my breasts when he had a perfectly good set of his own he could have gawked at instead. Without going into too much detail -- I'd rather not relive it if it's all the same to you -- we started out talking about industrial soap and by the end of the 10 minutes, one of those guys was practically accusing us of being narcs. Okay, so on Friday, my friend and I went to see a delightful little bit of cinema called Josie and the Pussycats. This is in no means a review, but I really enjoyed it. Only, once in line at the Malco theater for tickets, we were told that they didn't take credit cards. And their cash machine was broken. And no, they didn't know of another one in the area. So we go outside, ask a security guard if he knows of a nearby ATM, he doesn't, then teenage boys make loud, (I guess) sexually suggestive, slurping noises at us, we find a bank (with an ATM) right next door, go back inside, buy our tickets with cash, get coke icees from the concession stand and then head toward the guy who rips the tickets. At any rate, one of us was holding both tickets, the other had both drinks. For expediency, we had each gone through a line. Anyway, the ticket guy looks at us and says, "Oh, a girl can't carry her own soda?" I'm not sure how well this is conveyed without tone or the smell of buttered popcorn in the air, but the way he said it, it sounded like there was only one girl there. As in, the other one of us wasn't a girl. But I'm here to tell you both of us were girls, and I would even go so far to say that both of us look like girls (for partial evidence, see below). After the movie, we went to eat at an East Memphis theme restaurant where our "tour guide" really wanted us to get the Cuban bread. I don't know why; he just kept talking about it. For 10 minutes, he went on about what it was made with, how it tasted; whatever he could have said about it, he did. I tuned it out after a while, but he just kept talking. Finally we got our food. You'd think that would have been the end of our static cling waiter, but no. Every few minutes, it was like, "How is your pasta with chicken? Does it fully satisfied you?" Of course he was just trying to do his job, which I totally respect, but then we wanted to pay separately. Luckily, the restaurant, unlike the movie theater, did take the plastic, so we handed them over and just as our waiter was scampering away, I said, "Just so you know, I'm Mary, and this is Rita." That way he could put the right check with the right person. "Oh," he said as he came back to the table and extended his hand, "I'm Alan." Um .... nice to meet you. I shook his hand, Rita shook his hand, and I suddenly got the feeling he thought we were trying to hit on him. Not that I have a problem with flirting with the waitstaff. I like flirting with waitstaff. Why do you think I go to restaurants? For the food? No. Because mostly young (and thus, hot) people work there. But this person, whom my friend deemed "our waitron" because of his rather robot-like delivery and social skills, I did not want to date. I just wanted to leave. Saturday seemed to be a little more sane, except I was at the zoo for their first "It's a jungle out there" party and there were two people dressed as gorillas that kept running around. Cricket Wireless' lime green couch was also there, and you could take a picture on the couch, and the people/person with the best pictures won ... something. I don't know what. At any rate, my friend had this idea that we would win if we both did handstands on the couch. Unfortunately she didn't realize that I cannot do a handstand. Nor did she realize that she can't really do a handstand, either. This is how it went down. I devised a plan where I would just kick up my legs in a handstand-like motion and the camera would catch me in mid-air. She would actually do a handstand. So we're standing next to the couch and the camera man asked us if we were ready. We said yes, he raised the camera, I kicked up, she kicked up, the couch tipped on two feet, I came down and pulled my back, she flipped over and knocked down the Cricket backdrop. When we came to, we asked the cameraman if he had gotten it. Apparently it had all happened a little too fast for him. The hecklers in the crowd thought it was funny, though. And then the camera man told us to hurry up -- there were other people in line -- so we just sat down on the couch for our picture, although I did do my best impression of heroin chic. Afterwards, as we were hanging around the booth, trying to figure out if we could enter again, and trying to figure out if we had an idea that could win, a girl walked over to us and asked, "Would either of you be open to doing something slightly pornographic on the couch with me?" We both politely declined. So what do huge crowds of young professionals, a duo of doofuses, a movie theater still operating in medieval times, theme restaurants, possibly mistaken gender, slurping schoolboys, and a slightly pornographic invitation have in common? I have no idea. I was perplexed by each of these events individually. I certainly can't make any more sense of them when they're all together. Maybe this is just the world we live in today, where everyone is half-off their rocker and completely unapologetic about it. Or maybe not. I just thought I'd share. ( Mary Cashiola writes about life every Friday @ memphisflyer.com. You're invited to come along.)

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