Friday, July 07, 2006

Tales from the Arcade I: Stalking and Smoking

Far be it of me to disclose anything that goes on in a menial day, I think it's time I lived up to the promise of more regular updates for once.

I apologise if I haven't said before that the reason why I've been working the morning shifts is due to the abscence of juvenile activity at that time. Sometimes it can be at the beach, although this is beleaguered by the requirement of beach badges between 10.00am and 5.00pm, so what I do is troll the middle section of the island instead, where there's always an arcade and a line of pizza, Italian ice, ice cream, and fizz shops. The former had been opened shortly before Memorial Day and didn't have a large selection then — perhaps only ten games against the current 30 or so — and I tended to stay awa from it out of the doubt that anyone I knew from the old school would have the audacity to appear there.

The arcade, it transpired, was the complete opposite. The first day there, I realised that my friend Mike worked there, so he was always up for a game iof air hockey or OutRun 2 at his expense. The second day, Dave, his close friend, appeared there amid the crowd I knew from the old days, but it was then that Mike managed to tell a blonde about my maps and, when I neared her, who I was. I was shocked to see that she was so happy to see me although we had never met before!

But as time went on, Dave's crowd only proved to be part of the sporadic clientele. A few days in, I noticed a group of girls that aged about 14 or 15 that hanged around the sister of the girl who always takes a shot at me in the store. The girls instantly recognised me when we first saw each other — I wasn't surprised since the people at the doctor's office also recognised me for that. It was only today, though, that the lot would actually show signals that they wanted me to be part of the group, even as they knew I was sometimes hovering over their closed discussions and competitions at the Dance Dance Revolution machine (this, like my school's version, required you to move your feet to register arrows). This acceptance, though, proved to be at the expense of a boy named Christian, who would pretend to be established with one of the girls; after the acceptance phase of the day, he summoned me and pointed out the girl he was following:

Christian: Are you following her?
Me: As in stalking or overseeing their discussions?
Christian: Overseeing.
Me: Yes. But they actually have accepted me, if you must know.
Christian: I don't care for that. Stay away from her.
Me: Why? What is your point? What is your objective? It's not as if you're the pimp of the group yourself.
Christian: Forget that. Just stay away from them. They're my bitches.

Which, of course, the girls refuted. As I continued to surround them, he kept going to the girl he pointed out and pointing at me, evidently reprimanding her for talking to me. Even so, when I inquired, they assured me that he'd do that in any case; after all, he wasn't the only other boy involved in the lot.

However, that was a lesser worry. Soon after I confronted Christian, a truck pulled up, another girl and the sister of the girl that terrorised me in tow. They had left amid the possible penalty of being punished by parents so as to drop someone off at a marina, but when they came back I smelled something awful: When I next glanced at the two, they had stowed in the mouths a half-worn Newport cigarette. Having attended two Youth to Youth conferences and an Elks conference, I began to back away slowly, only looking sceptically on as the two finished the last of the drags amid arguments from the rest of the lot. The younger girl was 18, a year below the age to purchase tobacco in New Jersey, but even if my prior assumption that she was 15 was not correct, I was still disgusted. Afraid that I would get dragged into the mess surrounding it, as the girls that weren't smoking were nonchalant about the presence of Lorillard tobacco, I excused myself ten minutes after the girls popped up amid hugs from the nonsmokers.

Now I'm thinking the same thing James did, although his ideas weren't forged by youth summits and he even looked in retrospect on possible enhancement of comedy by such. Why would they do this to themselves? Why would their families (the older girl's mother would invariably order three or four Newport packs at my register) do so? It did run in the family, and cigarettes were evidently having a gradual effect on their countenances. The girl Christian pointed out had optic orifices that flapped on the top and bottom, a warning sign that she would probably trip over into smoking, the older girl emerging from the car had a lot of fat between the breasts and pelvis and had a flat face, and the 18-year-old had a splotchy red face. Even worse, though, will be the bill when they have to have the throat or lungs repaired. Of course, they could also do what my father's father did: Ignore the fact that his aorta was blocked from smoking three packs a day, downing two beers a day, and driving one block to the beach to hunt for clams — and, a month after notification of the blockage, lapse into a coma and die.

I've got a story to tell on 18 July.


Lucy said...

Oh wow...thank goodness you deciced to get away from them. Smoking and they not the legal age...what a shame. Smoking is bad anyway...when they get old, they are not going to live for very long. I can tell you that much.

Chris Chan said...

argh, smokers, and not even legal age. Exactly why I hate smoking. And my condolences to the death of your grandfather.

ShadowGX said...

Smokin' makes me sick. My friends mom smokes, an' I can't stand to be in the car with her 'cause my nose is too sensitive. Sad thing is, I may have to live with them. Damn good thing you got away while you could.

Anthony Jake La said...

There's a legal age prohibiting smoking in America? Problem is, over here there's no legal age, just a purchase age.

Psythor said...

I hope you realise that about 90% of the sentances you've used dont make any sense whatsoever?

Seriously, amongst this bizarre gibberish is only found the occaisional gem of hilarity - like the conversation with Christian which cannot be real, or the sheer bizarre degree to which you have been indoctrinated by those youth summits.

ShadowGX said...

Just 'cause he's smarter than you don't mean a thing okay? It'd do some people good to read long complicated paragraphs. Improves yur skillz.

The French said...

HAH, the idea of CW being 'smarter' than the previous commenter is pretty laughable. For example:

"They had left amid the possible penalty of being punished by parents so as to drop someone off at a marina"

Anyone care to explain this sentence? (hint: the words 'amid' and 'so as' are used in entirely the wrong context and thus make this nonsense). How about:

"a warning sign that she would probably trip over into smoking"?

His grasp of grammar is lacksadaisical, his use of unnecessarily elongated phrases preposterous ("optic orifices that flapped on the top and bottom" = eyelids?), and lets not get started on the actual content.

The pseudo-medical language is pitiful - and coming from a medical student at one of the UK's top universities, I think I can say that with some conviction.

The other commenters here aren't much better - "when they get old, they are not going to live for very long" - nice assumption, you dolt - its not like anyone ever gives up smoking, takes smoking cessation or avoids lung cancer, emphasyma or bronchitis despite smoking, is it?

Love and Kisses

Crystal Walrein said...

Not to say, The French, that you're that much more perfect. You spelt 'lackadaisical' and 'emphysema' incorrectly. Not to mention that you tend to think 'it's' and 'its' can be used interchangeably.