Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Tempe Part 2


“Are you waiting for your free personality test too?”  The girl seated next to me asked.
“You bet I am!” I chirped.
I began to pay more attention to her after she acknowledged my existence in such a vocal manner.  She was good looking with thin wrists and tiny ankles.  She also looked at least 5 months pregnant.
Her unborn baby was tightly cocooned within her belly.  Her pregnancy gave her the appearance of a boa constrictor after an unwise dinner of a large beaver or a small porpoise. 
She sat in the chair beside me with the most perfect posture I had ever seen from a pregnant woman.  Her long brown hair was parted down the middle.  It shined with the glow of hormones and pregnancy vitamins.
Her crisp blue eyes met mine for a few seconds.
“I can’t wait for my test.”  She blabbered.
“I’ve been waiting for more than month.” I told the girl. I waved my hand in the general direction of my roommate.
“I see.” She replied.
“I don’t know if you do.”  I told her.  “Something is the matter with my roommate.  I think he is the reason I am not getting my personality test.” 
“Though the more I think about it.”  I told her.  “The more I think that my roommate is the one who needs the test.  Not me.”

I imagined my roommate in the room behind the locked door where the Scientologists kept all the electrical equipment they needed to perform auditing tests.   I saw his head hooked up to wires.  I could imagine the men in plain white, short sleeve, dress shirts nodding together as they examining the readouts they got from their blood pressure machines.


As if to confirm what I told the girl, my roommate’s pacing on the library carpet grew fearsome. He was punching himself in the face, and head, and arguing with himself.  Exclaiming, “I can’t believe that!”
The pregnant girl looked over at me apprehensively and began fanning herself with a magazine.  I could see beads of sweat developing around the top of mouth.  She licked her lips to wipe the sweat away.
‘I don’t know about him.”  She said.  “I think he might be an emergency.”
I figured this was my chance to move past her on the waiting list.
“I think you're right.”  I told her.  “Could you see yourself letting my friend go first?”  I asked casually.  I tried not to let my emerging panic show.  But my heart was racing.  I was thinking that I might finally get in and get my personality test.
While I talked to the girl my roommate was tugging at the back of his gym shorts.  The tag in his shorts itched him, and my roommate struggled to scratch the itch on his buttocks without exposing anymore of himself to us.
The girl looked back and forth at me and my roommate.  She appeared confused.  Her eyes lost focus, and for a second, I thought she was going to pass out.
She let out a long sigh and said, “I don’t see a way around it.”
“Good!”  I jumped off the seat next to her and ran over to the librarian.
“The girl over there said I could move ahead in line.”
The librarian regarded my statement coldly. 
“That’s not what she said.”  The librarian was shuffling papers and looking down at a brown clip board with a pen attached to it.  The clip board had 6 or 7 names that had been scratched out and written over with white-out several times.
The librarian was tapping the pen in her mouth with her fingers.  Her nails were painted with a dull, plum colored nail polish.   
The librarian took the pen out of her mouth and said, “Let’s see.”
I stared straight down at her, tapping my foot like a crack head. “C’mon, C’mon.”  I said to myself.
“I just don’t see it.”  The librarian looked back up at me.  Then she shuffled the papers in her hand underneath the clip board, as if what she did was some kind of official review, and now there was no possible objection to be made.
I snorted a bit. 
“You’ve got to be kidding.  Right?”
“I am afraid not.” The librarian sneered back at me.  I found her response completely unreasonable.  But I refrained from telling her so.
“I guess I should just go back and wait with my friend.”  I told her trying my best to appease her without looking too much like a sap.
“That might be a good idea.”  The librarian’s co-worker added.
The co-worker seemed much nicer than the head librarian.  She beamed a smile towards me.  She wore a polo styled white t-shirt with khaki pants that were rolled up at the cuffs.  I knew from all the documentaries that I had watched on TV about Scientology that new volunteers always wore polo styled t-shirts and khaki pants.
“If I volunteered at the Reading Room I would not need to buy any new clothes.  I have several pairs of khaki pants and at least one white polo shirt. Sure,  I might have to wash the shirt every day, unless the Reading Room provided me with a free shirt, but that was okay. I thought on my walk back to waiting area.
“It’s hopeless.”  I told my roommate.
He looked up at me like I had loaded up his kitten into plastic bag and hauled the thing off to the experimentor’s lab where they paid 3 dollars a head “for live kittens.”
It wasn’t my idea to collect kittens from want ads to sell for cash.  It was my roommate’s idea.  He saw the "kitten wanted" sign posted on the wall of the laboratory that was located next to the blood bank where he donated plasma.  He made about 75 dollars a week donating plasma there.
He needed all the money he could get since he didn’t have a job, and since he spent several hundred dollars a week drinking in bars with me.  He never talked about where he got his cash out side of donating plasma.  Just like I never asked him for rent money after I read the flyer he accidentally left on the kitchen counter.
My roommate could be an intimidating fellow.  He was a dark skinned black man.  5 feet 9 inches tall, but with his afro fully picked out it looked like he stood at least 6 feet.  He weighs over 240 pounds.  His eyes were swollen shut from either high blood pressure, or gout.
My roommate's swollen eyes were scary.  But when my roommate got excited or surprised his eyes popped open, revealing large white irises free from bloodshot.  His eyes were huge.  Cartoon like.  And they made passers-by flinch whenever they caught a glimpse of them.
My roommates eyes where in just such a state when I told him that the librarian (and I pointed in her direction) was not going to allow him to move ahead of the pregnant girl.
I made sure to mention to my roommate that the girl in going ahead of him was "pregnant," because I hoped that my comment would diffuse a combustible situation.
The pregnant girl smiled meekly at my roommate and raised a tiny hand to waive at him.
“Whatever.”  My roommate responded.
The girl put her hands down and rested them on her belly like a protective device. She sat on the edge of her chair like she was ready to bolt at the sign of any trouble that me or my roommate might provide.
I tried making her at ease by sitting next to her and asking her how far along she was.
“Oh.”  She stammered.  “6 and a half months.” She finally said.
“Wow.”  I told her.  “You look really fit for six months.” I complimented her.
She looked at me sideways.  

“Thanks.”  She said hesitantly. “I guess.”

2 comments:

most haunted said...

anticlimatic AGAIN.

Romius T. said...

that's bathos for you...