I was at a Starbucks today and had the pleasure of sitting next to a couple that had me completely enthralled. I would say they were in their 50s or so. He was a complete goombah that looked like he had come straight from the set of The Sopranos and she was a tiny little Japanese woman that looked like she came straight from the cover picture of Memoirs of a Geisha.
I had a good time trying to figure out their relationship. At first I thought maybe husband/wife because I noticed he had on a wedding band. A few minutes later when I noticed the wedding band had mysteriously disappeared (he was good) I thought perhaps they were co-workers. But then I was able to figure it out. It was a small Starbucks and not very busy so it was easy to overhear their conversation, and I listened. Boy, did I listen.
Apparently they were on a first date, as I heard him compliment her that “she looked just like her online picture.” She was either new to the country or some sort of mail-order bride, because he talked down to her like she had never heard of anything (or anyone) and therefore must have been a little retarded. She had a bit of an accent but she talked so softly it was hard to make out exactly how much of an accent was there. His accent was, of course, Mafia.
They sat down. She was enjoying her tea, he his Frappacino and muffin. He began to ask her about movies and what she liked. I couldn’t hear what she said, but he then declared that romance movies were his very favorite. I knew it would have been impolite to shout out BAH-LONEY so I refrained. He then went on to declare that the greatest movie of all time was Love Story. I gagged a little. She hadn’t heard of it, so he made her get a pen and paper and write it down. He didn’t suggest she get a pen and paper and write it down. He made her.
Then, as he was making her write things down, he began talking about The Graduate. It, too, was the best movie ever made and he became a cross between Roger Ebert and a mafia guy who knew nothing about movies because he began barking out to her the spelling of The Graduate as he continued to make her write:
“”G”…it’s “G”…no, it’s a capital “G”…there’s a “the” in front of it. Dustin Heffmen.” That’s not a typo. That’s what he said. And he went on to spell it for her. “H-E-F-F-M-E-N. And Rian O’Neil. R-I-A-N-O-apostrophe-N-E-I-L.” I was dying to give him the IMdB website, but again refrained. I didn’t want to get whacked.
She then mentioned something about her son and he declared, “Oh yea, you mentioned him in your profile. I bet he’s a smart kid…” I so thought he was going to finish the sentence by saying “because he’s Asian” and he paused like he actually might, but nothing. Just a weird pause where he wanted to say “because he’s Asian” but caught himself at the last minute. He asked her what he’s studying and her answer made him ask, “Did he wanna go to MIT?” She said yes, he did, but he was very shy.
And it was at this point that his Mr. Nice-Guy facade began to melt away.
“Shy? So he’s friggin’ shy, since when does that keep you out of MIT?”
I couldn’t hear her complete response, but it was something to do with the fact that he wasn’t much of a leader.
“Listen, Karen, (so that was her name!) since when does not bein’ a leader keep you out of MIT?”
He was getting louder and angrier and I knew if I stuck around long enough I might get to see a good beating. He asked what kind of grades he got, and she said “mostly A’s.”
“They don’t give lettah grades in college, they give numbahs. You find out what his grades are. You find out what his–”
And he grabbed the pen and paper and read out loud as he wrote, like someone in a movie narrating their own writing–
“–accumalive* grade score is. You ask him that. He’ll appreciate it. Come on. It means you love him.”
*This word was pronounced “ah-KOOM-ah-liv”
And then, ladies, it came. This man said the line I know you all hope to hear on a first date. He put down the pen, and pointed at her. And as he spoke, him pointing at her turned into him shaking his finger in her face. He said, like James Caan out of The Godfather would say to someone who owes the family money, and I quote, “When I ask you somethin’ and you don’t know the answer, you can say “I dunno.” You dont make somethin’ up, you hear me?”
This guy was good.