I hope you don’t mind that I’ve decided you’re my favorite person to write letters to. I think it’s because you don’t interact with me regularly in person, or in person at all for that matter, so you can’t possibly be irritated with me yet.
Right now I’m sitting in my room having a cup of coffee.
See that cup? It’s my favorite one. Diana is my alias whenever I order Mexican take-out. I love hearing the name “Diana” with a Mexican accent. There’s a restaurant here in town that calls your name out over an intercom when your food is ready and the whole of downtown Carrboro can hear it, it’s so fucking loud.
“DI-AHNAH YOU FOOD EEZ REDEE!”
It thrills me.
The restaurant is called Armadillo Grill but most people here call it the DildoGrill. I don’t mind this.
I work in a Tex-Mex burrito place in Carrboro called, cleverly enough, Carrburritos. There are no abbreviations for this, trust me, I know, because I try to shorten it when I text people with my whereabouts and it is impossible to text that word quickly. Anyway, it is my job to show up there in the morning and make a pot of coffee and open the restaurant, and I always bring my Diana cup with me because it’s a Mexican place.
There are four foreign dishwashers and prep cooks. They like me. They think I am funny and I don’t know why because I don’t exactly make jokes all the time. The rest of the staff consists of precious dirty-ish boys in heavy metal tee-shirts and matching tattoos who compete for the title of “Drunker Last Night” while they make people’s food. The other day we listened to King Diamond for six hours straight because we can listen to whatever we want on the CD player. The boys are funny and loud and obnoxious and my favorite is a beautiful mute twenty-year-old named Lackey, who is neither loud nor obnoxious, or dirty-ish, for that matter. He’s unassuming and non-competitive and he’s got a foot-high full-color tattoo of Eddie, Iron Maiden’s perennial album mascot, on his leg. The only thing we ever really talk about is 80s hair metal.
I have to go to work in like five minutes but after work I’m going to Chapel HIll Comics. In the comic shop I will blow at least sixty dollars on graphic novels and McSweeney’s box sets. I want every single thing they sell at Chapel Hill Comics. It’s one of those tiny little stores that you walk into, pass the friendly proprietor at the cash register, and browse in silence while his hungry eyes Jedi Mind Trick you into to spending money, any amount of money. Pocky, for God’s Sake. “Just buy some pocky,” his eyes say. “It’s two dollars, and I have a dog at home to feed.”
I sincerely believe that’s where most of my money goes. . .to guilt purchases. I have bought ugly shirts and cards for no occasion and food I don’t normally eat. I have ordered margaritas when I really fucking hate margaritas, just because the bartender was proud of his new creation, and it was on special for ONLY FOURTEEN DOLLARS.
I one time went to Huddle House and I had this waitress named Peaches. She sat next to me in my booth and held my hand and beseeched me, for six minutes, to try a slice of apple pie because it was her favorite. She was so cute, I could not say no. I hate apple pie. So unpatriotic.
Sales, also. I’m a sucker for the 2-4-1 at HaHa shoes, a shoe store I shouldn’t even enter. I have seven pairs of HaHas. I only wear three of them because the other ones with their narrow toe bed (shout out to my roommate, Dave, who recently learned from Jane magazine while he was taking a dump in my PERSONAL bathroom, that a wide toe bed is the secret to comfortable heels) are very uncomfortable. And my favorite pair broke.
So in order to avoid this obligation to purchase things I wantbutdon’tneed, I might just go next door into Mediterranean Deli and order my moussaka and my spanikopita and sweet tea, and marvel at how incredibly phonetic all the items in the deli case are. Greek words are so straightforward. It’s what syllables to accent. . .now that’s where they fuck you up. Crafty Greeks.
Now, I know I am not from here, from Chapel Hill, and really only about five people in this town are actually from here, but the area transplants seem to feel that after two weeks of living here, it is permissible to take liberties with small business abbreviation. This is something I cannot bring myself to do. Here is a list of areacentric abbreviations:
Mediterranean Deli: Med Deli
Open Eye Café: OE (You want a paper bag with that? What is this? A package store? No.)
University Mall: U Mall
He’s Not Here: He’s Not (I hate this. “He’s Not Here” is the GREATEST bar name EVER. People are ruining it.)
Buffalo Wild Wings: BW3s (This doesn’t even make any damn sense. Maybe I’m just dumb.)
Pantana Bob’s: P-Bob’s (Oh God, I feel like I’m back in south Louisiana again. T-Joe. T-Daddy.)
Weaver Street Market: The Weav
Los Potrillos: Los Pos (Give me a break)
Top Of The Hill: Top O’ (By FAR the worst.)
Laziness. People do this in college too. PoliSci. Chem. WestCiv. EngLit. Caf. Just plain old Sci. The only class I would abbreviate out loud was Trig. Which, in some circles, will make me hypocritical. Screw it. I hated college. I never even ate at the Caf.
SO anyway. One time I was at Med Deli, and I see this Stepford Milf walk by with her two little snot-nosed Montessori brats. She’s wearing heels that are not conducive to child-rearing, and she’s got a haircut straight outta Elle. The kids are in designer Abercrombie. Milf’s talking in a coddling, condescending, over enunciated babyvoice loud enough for everybody to hear, to know she’s a great, hands-on mother. She sounds like a Pedialyte commercial.
“. . .and THEN, sweeties, we will go to the High School Performance of Bye Bye Birdie, and Then, we will go get ice cream with ANY TOPpings YOU WANT, oKAY?”
So I throw up a little in my mouth, not knowing the worst was yet to come. The little boy, who’s about 2, runs away suddenly, and the little girl, who’s about 5, runs in the opposite direction. They are obviously trying to escape this life they did not ask for. Milf is distressed. She starts calling after the one of the kids.
“Flaggerty! Flaggerty!! Come back now, sweetheart!”
I almost choke on a chunk of baklava. Flaggerty is the STUPIDEST name for a little boy I’ve ever heard. But is that it? Of course not.
I look up, and Milf is leaning down to the little boy, and she says, “Amber, stay right HERE, I am going to get your SISter, FLAGgerty. I’ll be right BACK, Amber!”
This is the part where I lose all muscle control and my fork drops to the asphalt and my little half-eaten stuffed grape leaf rolls into the shrubbery. My motor skills are slowing, and I have done gone mute. Amber was the little boy’s name. Flaggerty was the girl.
What is WRONG with people?
Okay I really gotta go. It’s Man-O-War day at Cburritos and no one else knows it yet, which means I need to get there early to hijack the stereo. Write back soon.