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Thursday, May 26, 2011


It was painful.

It's like, when a song ends on the radio, and there's way too much silence because the D.J. is taking but hasn't pushed the "Hot" button to make his microphone live and the radio audience hears absolutely nothing-- I can't stand it, I change to another station, because the silence is unbelievably embarrassing to me.


I don't know. It has nothing, really, to do with me-- I didn't do anything. I'm not the one fucking up in the booth, and yet, I cringe. Likewise, on a radio program, when a guest is talking for far too long and the interviewer keeps trying to politely cut in and the interviewee just doesn't get it, even though it's shockingly obvious to us that the reply has more than run its course-- I can't fucking stand that. And I change the station. This usually happens on BBC Newshour. It's the fault, I think, of the way the show is structured. Oftentimes, in the remaining three minutes of the program(me) they will feature an interview, and there isn't nearly enough time to actually do the interview justice, but they do it anyway. So this poor bastard professor from Leeds or wherever will be talking about the Chinese economy or the price of bananas in Ecuador, and he'll be droning on and on the way professors do, and Robin Lustig or whomever is running the show will keep trying to shut the fucker up, and finally he'll say, in that abrupt, curt, British way,

"RIGHT! Well, somuchforthatthankyouverymuch,forBBCNewshour,I'mRobinLustig,bye-bye."


For some strange reason, modern British culture has its middle-aged men end conversations/interactions with "Bye-Bye!" like they're seven year-olds, ending interviews with their mothers.

Anyway, yesterday, I got embarrassed for somebody else, and they weren't even on the radio. They were two tables away from me. A gawky, pale-faced guy of maybe seventeen was sitting at an outside table in the late afternoon with a woman who was quite obviously his grandmother. They even shared a hairline. He was wearing standard upper-class-twit garb: madras shorts, Tevas, some ironically screen-printed t-shirt, and a pair of inexplicable Ray-Bans. His two front teeth even protruded, which is mandatory upper-class-twit dentition, the world over. His gran was dressed in charcoal-gray wool slacks, black leather shoes with gold doo-daddery on them, and a black sweater, perfect for the 92-degree heat of yesterday afternoon. Her sunglasses were more fashionable than her grandson's.

As I sat two tables away from them, anxiously sipping lemonade-- which is the only way I sip-- waiting for my wife to arrive, I caught wind of their conversation.

Gran: What is "Vanty?"

Twit: Venti-- it's the size of the drink she gave us.

Gran: But it looks so big.

Twit: Yeah, because that's not what we ordered.

Gran: So why did she give it to us?

Twit: Because we ordered a Grande, but they didn't have Grande cups, so she put it in a Venti cup and charged us the Grande price.

(At this point, after all this information, I fully expected gran's hairline to explode. But it didn't.)

Gran: What?

Twit: They charged us for the drink that we ordered, but they gave it to us in a bigger cup.


Gran: So they overcharged us.

Twit: No, they charged us the same, they just gave it to us in a bigger cup.

Gran: What's 'Grand-aye'?

Twit: They're just the names of the drinks. They all mean "big", really.

Gran: What did you get?

Twit: This is a White Mocha Frappuccino.

(Long pause, during which I briefly consider killing myself.)

Twit: Do you want to go home?

Gran: Yeah, it's too hot out here.

And.... scene.

1 comment:

  1. Oof. That is a painful conversation. I get annoyed at dead air on the radio as well; my dad used to work at a radio station and his annoyance rubbed off on me.


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