I was at our local Borders bookstore the other night rediscovering how crummy it is even for a Borders. It’s also right on the east-west divide of town, where the haves meet the have-nots and a few of the latter live in desperate circumstances in motels.
Surrounded by soccer moms, clip-art cute college students, and red-faced businessmen, I looked through the map section. Next to me an undergrad-aged East Asian-American guy was thumbing through a Parisian travel book, and next to the computer books a nerd of some kind with a shoulder bag and headphones was peering at an ASP howto book.
Suddenly the bathroom door next to us burst open and out lurched the other Costa Mesa: a 35ish tweaker with long dirty blond hair, sweaty t-shirt, bad acid-washed jeans, and a wild 1000-yard stare. He looked around with that bus crazy bugeyed face that says “look me in the eyes and I own you,” so I studied a map of Turkey carefully. Without a particular victim to address, Motel Guy emitted this statement to the bookstore in general:
GOD DAMN, I HATE THE SMELL OF ASS!
He left, so he couldn’t see me giggling helplessly into the maps, or the soccer moms blanching.