The Adventures of New Old Grumpus Maximus

But, lord, I’m in a pissy mood today. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I fell asleep on the couch last night, and slept there the whole night long, sitting up no less, as if I were doing something sentient and useful instead of filling the room with my snores and the occasional fart or coughing fit, so that when I woke up at 7:00 this morning I still had Meyer Lansky’s biography spread open on my lap and a crick in my neck that’d put down a fucking giraffe. Plus it’s been pissing rain for thirty days and nights now, and it’s freezing outside, so when I slogged into work I was a half-hour late and immediately made some bonehead mistake which, ha ha, went out over the company intranet a second before I caught it. To relax I engaged in some restful Googling of the search-term “German Autumn”, which was okay at first (thanks mostly to this interview with the surviving pilot of the Landshut hijacking, a great read even if it’s from a website anti-Muslim enough to give Pat Buchanan pause), but it was around this time my mood really started to sour.  I even read about these fucknuts, who actually shot an entire movie before realizing their script just might have a teensy-weensy problem, which normally is the kind of thing to cheer me right up, but today it just added to the gloom.

As fate would have it, though, a co-worker showed up about that time—a guy named Michael who I share occasional smoke breaks with, and one of the few people here who gets my sense of humor, even if he sometimes acts like we’re more simpatico than we really are. I like him quite a bit, but at the moment I wouldn’t have felt like interacting with Molly Parker if she’d walked up to my desk in a Merry Widow, and when I asked Michael how he was doing, I hoped he’d say just fine and keep on moving. Instead, as if to apply the coup de grâce to my whole fucking mindframe, he gave a dramatic sigh, planted his folded arms across the top of my cubicle, and announced in a voice loud enough to carry 20 or 30 feet: “I’M PISSED!” Okay, now, anger I can relate to, so I put down my croissant and looked up at him.

TB: What’s the problem?

M (emphatically): Britney Spears!

TB: …

M: Haven’t you heard?

TB: About Britney Spears.

M (braying): YE-EAH!!!


TB: What’s she done now?

It seems that Ms. Spears was planning an outdoor concert next week (new album dropping, natch) in front of the Castro Theater, a concert that was originally slated to be both free and unpublicized, though it is going to be televised on Good Morning America. (Michael: “Robin Roberts is even going to be there!”) But then came another gloomy weather forecast, along with complaints from a merchant’s group, and of course those shitbirds at Ticketmaster, incensed as ever by the thought of people having fun without paying for it, got their foot in the door. The upshot: Britney’s still playing alright, but indoors at Bill Graham for $3 [sic] a pop, and the whole thing sold out in a fleeting half an hour. It’s a crummy deal, to be sure: there’s no way a free Britney concert would ever stay a secret, but the idea of her bopping around on Castro Street just as a lot of her biggest fans are walking out the door to start their day—well, it’d be a nice throwback in spirit to the Castro’s halcyon days.

But I had no idea Michael is such a militant Britney fan—the poor guy’s almost deranged by the whole affair. He’s already written a letter of complaint to someone (his voice was so choked with rage I couldn’t make out the name), and the fact that GMA used the weather as an excuse has him going for the throat. “Cher performed in the rain!” he pointed out. “And”—snapping his fingers here—“Diana Ross gave that concert in Central Park! It was pouring then!”

Ouch! I feel for Michael, I really do, but at least he broke up my downward spiral. There’s nothing like having your life turn into a sitcom to pull you out of a nose-dive.

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