Monday, 6 February 2012

the fruit roll

i know that really, this should probably be a blog about my jewellery, what i am making, what's inspiring me, what is going to go on sale etc... etc...  BUT i like stories and every now and then, through conversations, the stories come up and then i think i should write about them.

i can't remember how this one came up. i was at the restaurant having a drink after work a few weeks back and something we were talking about reminded me of this episode. please look away or stop reading if you are either easily embarrassed or disgusted!

so... many moons ago my brother jason and i were slaving away side by side at a really cool and very popular coffee house in marina del rey. one of our suppliers, a well known company in the catering world,  had their rep visit us every couple of weeks. he was, i don't know, probably mid- thirties, a long-sleeve oxford shirt and pair of slacks kind of guy who was very shy. he probably married the first girl he got to any base with not only because it was easy, but too cringey a thought for him to have ever asked anyone else out on a date after summoning up the courage once. i think he had small kids. he was quite good looking in a wholesome kind of way. he had this funny, awkward smile and seemed to be genuinely embarrassed by anything and everything. his name was doug.

so, one week, after he brought the supplies in, he handed me a couple of fruit rolls. those flat, pressed, sticky, "fruit" things stuck to cellophane and rolled up that were so popular in our lunch boxes in the 70's. it made me feel nostalgic and i was really grateful for the small gift.

a couple of weeks later, when he made his visit, i said " thank you so much for those fruit rolls doug. that was very kind of you. i really enjoyed them, thanks." he looked at me with his awkward smile and said " well, i could bring you in some more if you'd like. "
"sure" i said.
"in fact," he continued, what i was thinking was... i could bring you in TWO next time, and you could give me one back the next week."
"huh?", i said
"well... i thought i could bring you in two, but you could then give one back to me. "
he repeated this a few more times.
i was lost.

i was totally miffed by this and must have looked like an idiot trying to figure it out and make some sense of what he could possibly mean. i kept going through it wondering what obvious point i was missing here. he just stood looking at me, smiling.
i finally said " doug, i'm sorry, i have no idea what you mean... i don't get it... why would i give you one back?"
he said, "well.......i thought........ that you might like to....SEASON it for me".


"you know... SEASON it for me"

there was that WORD again.  oh my god... he couldn't have possibly just said what i thought he said. i was absolutely stunned. it couldn't mean what i had just figured out it must have meant. i think i was in shock. to be honest, i can't remember what i said to him. i was only about 19 and i didn't have the words or the confidence or the attitude at that time in my life to say what i probably should have. i think i just stood in stunned silence freaking out a bit that wholesome, kind of cute, mild-mannered, family man doug, just said something really vulgar to me!

now, with my life's experience, where i have had loads of stuff like that happen,  like guys pulling up in a car asking for "directions" with their johnsons out (why do you do it guys???) i know that there is obviously something really interesting to them sexually more to do with the reaction to the scenario more than anything else.

once, when i was working in camden at dollyrockers vintage with my friend jennifer, this... funny enough... awkward, social misfit type of guy who was maybe late 20's, came in and grabbed the first thing his hands rested on without looking at what it was. it was a pair of jeans, and he asked to try them on. we said, " yeah sure, the dressing rooms are just there" and pointed to them. the shop was absolutely enormous and he said, " i'm a bit claustrophobic, is there anywhere else i can try them on?" i said " the whole upstairs is empty, knock yourself out." he said, " and if i need assistance? " i have to say this did ring alarm bells a bit, but i said, " just call for us."

so i was in the middle of calling in the payroll on the phone and i could hear this " excuse me... EXCUSE me...!" the voice was a bit like "it's pat" from saturday night live. a bit whiney and grating. we could see his socks coming down the stairs, so jennifer started walking over and i was about to say               
"NO! don't go!" when she came running back with her hand over her mouth saying
" oh my god he's NAKED!!!" " oh my GOD he has a boner!"

we called security, as he was still upstairs. the security guard seemed to take his time getting there. when he finally did, the guy was just coming down the stairs in his clothes. the security guard said, "HIM?... he has his clothes on."
"well... he didn't a minute ago" i said.  the security guard got in his face, following him saying " why did you do it? why did you take your clothes off? why were you naked?" he said ," i diiidnnn't"
"yes you did!" i said. then jennifer said, "well, he's not totally lying, he still had his socks on."

i am so glad to this day that it wasn't me that saw that sight, to have it permanently etched into my brain. poor jennifer. but i'm sure that her shocked reaction was fuel for his fantasies probably to this day.

so... back to he was saying this really gross thing to me. i'm sure loving every minute of it.  but what he didn't realise i think was that the manager, johnnie, was my boyfriend. and he was very protective of me. after doug left, i told johnnie what he said and i don't think he was too thrilled.

johnnie was great. he had been a stand up comedian for a while and was quite brazen and funny. he seemed to have no shame. the coffee house was always heaving with people. in the mornings, we would have a line out the door for about 3 solid hours. so, the next time when doug came in, he went about his business bringing in all our supplies and johnnie just acted the way he always does. then, after it was all done, johnnie adopted an east coast accent and shouted so loudly across the packed coffee house "HEEEEYYY....HEEEYYY.... DOUGIE!!!! DOUGIE!!!!! you know... i got that FRUIT ROLL FOR YA DOUGIE!!!! and it's nice and SEEEEEAAASONED!"
the look on his face was priceless. i think he nearly died from embarrassment. i'm sure it had been his  dirty little secret and he had thought i wouldn't say anything to anyone.i couldn't even tell the story to anyone and use the word "seasoned" for about 15 years.
now, it didn't bother me anymore....every time i saw him, i just smiled because i re-lived johnnie's impression. he never spoke to me again and it totally changed the way i feel about fruit rolls ups....