Saturday, December 31, 2011

Birthday present to a stranger

My goal for Friday was to get the #1 ticket at Bodo’s Bagels. I went to bed early Thursday night like a n00b, missed survivor hour, and begrudgingly peeled myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. after only 2 1/2 hours of sleep (I couldn’t sleep :-/) to walk half an hour all the way to Bodo’s on the Corner. I was first! I arrived really early, so I awkwardly stood on the sidewalk so as not to disturb the employees who were unstacking and arranging chairs around the outdoor tables. But as soon as they went inside and locked the door behind them, I darted to the chair closest to the door and propped open a book to read and to busy myself while I waited until the doors were unlocked.
Ten minutes later, a frazzled mess of a girl and her less disheveled friend straggled over from Cohn’s and asked whether I was in line for Bodo’s (why else would I be sitting outside Bodo’s at that hour??). After pathetically explaining that it was her birthday and had been daydreaming about getting the #1 ticket to mark the special day (her friend concurred, noting that the birthday girl had been talking about it for hours) and that both had been up all night working on their respective architecture projects, she asked me whether I’d be willing to let her go first. She then impulsively offered to buy me OJ as an extra nudge.
I agreed.
Yea, yea, I know this makes me sound like a pansy, but the girl looked like crap. Also, I need all the good karma I can get (it was her birthday, after all. And no, she wasn’t lying; she showed me her driver’s license). It wasn’t about the promise of OJ, either. To be honest, I didn’t want any; it was early and I really wanted caffeine.
So, I chatted with her friend who repeatedly said I was “too nice.” (I agreed, but did not, naturally, say so). As soon as the birthday girl started talking again, I immediately regretted deferring the #1 spot to her because she turned out to be an incredibly obnoxious girl who blabs endlessly about nothing of particular importance and justified her ridiculous chatter merely because it was her birthday. Still basking in her impending glory, she talked selfishly as if she earned that spot. But she didn’t earn it. She was 10 minutes too late. What really bothered me, though, was that she didn’t seem like the type of person who would give up her spot if our roles were reversed. If I’d asked to cut in line, she would’ve stomped her ground, stubbornly stuck her nose in the air and looked the other way. 
Eventually, the doors opened and we all poured in. I watched the birthday girl, still swimming with happiness, repeatedly ask the cashier for the reassurance that she would receive the #1 ticket even if my order rang in first, boasting to all within earshot that it was, in fact, her birthday. I looked longingly at the excited pair and made my order, which indeed rang first. My receipt read, “#2.”
After picking up my comparably worthless bagel, I slowly made the lap of defeat to the door, still listening to the girl finish her order.
She didn’t order any OJ.

My #2 ticket.

(Originally posted July 3, 2011)

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