This Is A Screwdriver. You Can Open Things With It

September 1, 2010

Brunch on Sunday is me and Z and a little girl Z tossed around the night before. Z burps his way though brunch and blames it on the 12 beers he drank and a late-night grilled cheese. He is wearing a Sorry Is A Word For The Unmindful shirt. The little girl asks him what it means.

Z:  It means that only people who aren’t aware of their actions would ever need to say sorry. People say they’re sorry all the time, but they don’t mean it. The word is thrown around like rock candy and it’s lost all meaning. The shirt is trying to put an end to that.

Little Girl: I say sorry all the time.

Z: Yeah, but you’re, what, twenty-one? You’ll learn. Live another year in the city and you’ll see what’s what. You’re either apologizing or going about your business here. I’m the kind of guy who goes about his business. Say you’re in the subway station running down the steps to catch a train and you run into a dude. What would you say? You’d say sorry, I’m sure. But does that do anything? Does it un-do you hitting him? No. But you think it does some good so you say it anyway, but you aren’t sorry. You don’t know him and you could care less about him.

Little Girl: Maybe you don’t, but I do. I would say sorry. Well, I wouldn’t be running in the station in the first place. I guess I just think the shirt is stupid.

Z: It’s not stupid. It’s necessary. But people don’t want to think about that stuff. People don’t want to change the way they think or talk because they get so stuck in their little ruts and petty lives that they forget that the words that come out of their mouths do matter. A man is what he says, right? And if you’re saying sorry for no reason all the time then you’re talking for no reason and you’re useless.

Little Girl: You think I’m useless?

Z: I’ll make an exception for you.

Me: He is so full of shit. Little girl, he’s putting you on. He doesn’t believe anything he’s talking about.

Z: You got me. Sorry. The shirt doesn’t mean anything. I say sorry all the time. I’ve said it twice just now.

Little Girl: You are such a dick.

Me: The line actually belongs to a certain moody child star who I babysat at work. I work at a hotel called the Hudson. I apologized to him about something and he said, Sorry is a word for the unmindful. I think he stole it from one of those books on harnessing your energy or whatever.

Little Girl: You are such a dick, Z. So, who’s the child star?

Me: [whisper his name in her ear]

Little Girl: He would say something like that.

Z: I wanted to attribute the quote to him on the shirt, but wet blanket over here wouldn’t let me.

Me: Because I could get fired, and getting fired so you could make your shitty shirt somewhat less shitty would not be worth it.

Little Girl: I thought people stopped wearing shirts with a phrases like that across the front. That seems kinda over.

Z: Call it a revival then.

Little Girl: Ugh. I can’t believe I slept with the guy who’s trying to bring back T-shirts with words on them.

Z: Well, you did. And you’re probably gonna do it again.

Little Girl: Nope. Not gonna happen.

Z: Fine. Now that that’s settled, we can talk about other business. So. I’ve been seeing Georgia. I hope you don’t mind.

Me: I don’t mind.

Z: Good. So I have a funny story about her. I helped her with the video.

Me: Oh shit I said I’d help but I forgot. Did she say anything about me not being there?

Z: No. So I show up to this dude’s apartment where we’re shooting it, and Georgia’s high. Really high. Even for her. She says she needs a shower and asks the dude if she can take one, and he’s like, yeah sure. I’m sitting the living room with my laptop, right? Forty minutes later, she’s still in the shower. The dude says that someone should check on her and he nominates me. After all, I’m her boyfriend kinda. I knock on the door. No answer. I’m like, Hey Georgia, you OK in there? Nothing. I try opening it but she’d locked it. She’d locked herself in the bathroom. I turn to the dude and say, It’s locked. He’s like, This is bullshit. This is the last time I do anyone a favor. He gets an old credit card from his room and tries to jimmy open the lock. No dice. He rams his shoulder into the door but it won’t open. We’re knocking on the door and screaming her name. We’re convinced she’s fallen and crack her head and passed out or died or something. The dude starts freaking out and he calls the super. A few minutes later this Puerto Rican dude shows up with tools, and he’s pissed. I found out later he had to fix the dude’s front door after someone had broken it during a party. The super takes out a Philips head and unscrews the door knob. While he’s doing he shows the dude the screwdriver and says, This is a screwdriver. You can open things with it. You should buy one at a hardware store. There is a hardware store around the corner. Real patronizing like that; it was hilarious. Finally he opens the door. The showers running, but Georgia isn’t in the shower. Instead, she’s slumped over on the shitter asleep with headphones on. She fell asleep while taking a shit.

Me: She listens to the Beach Boys while shitting. It relaxes her.

Z: But man, she was so embarrassed. The super liked it, though. He’ll be telling that story at block parties for years now. The legend of the gringo stoner girl who fell asleep while shitting.

Me: So did you still shoot the video?

Z: Yeah. Oh, I should tell you. The video’s all about you. Clearly. She found a Tisch kid on Craigslist to play you.

Me: Really? What happens in it?

Z: It’s pretty boring. Let’s see. Georgia plays her guitar on her bed and then you come in with White Castle hamburgers. You change her guitar string and she writes lyrics to the song. You write part of the verse and then you guys make out for a while on the floor. There’s a section that takes place at a carnival. You guys are on a dinky roller coaster and she flashes boys who are waiting in line to ride it. You guys split a funnel cake. At the very end you’re back at her apartment and you spill Diet Coke in her high heels and at first she’s really mad but then she’s all like, Aw, whatever, they’re just shoes. I’d rather not be mad at boyfriend. Pretty stupid I guess but I could see it getting linked around. She’s looking good.

Me: She has a tan now. From living in LA.

Z: She’s thinner now. Since she became a pescatarian. And she’s more into having sex than she was before, she told me.

Me: That was never a problem for us.

Z: That’s just what she told me. That’s she more into sex now.

Little Girl: Are you guys talking about Georgia from Hello Surf?

Me: Yeah.

Little Girl: You used to go out with her?

Me: Yeah.

Little Girl: That’s really cool.

Me: I guess so.

Little Girl: Are you single now?

Me: No. I have a girlfriend. We live together.

Z: And he has a kid.

Little Girl: You’re a dad?

Me: I kind of have a kid. He’s not mine. He’s feral but he’s getting better.

NEXT: They Go To Michigan



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