Is it being in New York, with all the tough-talking characters? Is it being on my own? Is it out of necessity? Whatever the reason, I seem to be growing some balls here in New York.
I think I can both blame AND praise Sophia. She has bigger balls than me, so when I am with her in Los Angeles, I pull back. I even go the other away to counteract her, so the scales are balanced. But — I have seen how she does it, how she deals with people in an assertive manner, and wins the respect of others. Who needs therapy? I can learn from the master! When I get myself into a situation that requires some cojones, I have a model to look up to. I can ask myself, “What would Sophia do?”
Yesterday morning, I started my day with breakfast at my local Dominican-owned coffee shop. I ordered the breakfast special — a cholesterol-laden mess that comes with coffee and orange juice for — $3.99! It probably wasn’t good for my health, but — $3.99! After I gulped down my meal, I went to pay. I had a long subway ride to Coney Island to meet Sarah. I handed the owner by Mastercard.
“Your bill was $3.99. There is a $10 minimum on credit cards.”
I suddenly remembered that in these days of credit cards and Metrocards, I didn’t have any cash on me.
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “I don’t have any cash.”
He pointed to a greasy-looking ATM machine standing by the men’s room.
I told him that I didn’t have my ATYM card. I was from out of state. This was true, but even if I did have my card, I wouldn’t want to get the “service charge” from this ATM, conveniently owned by “Giovanni Brothers, Inc.”
“I don’t have my ATM card.” I said.
“You’ll have to buy something or I’m going to have to charge your card ten dollars.”
“Cause they charge me for using the credit card. The breakfast was only $3.99. It would be like giving you the meal for free.”
Although I knew this was partly bullshit, I was feeling sympathy for him. He was a hard-working restaurant owner. He probably didn’t have much money to his name.
I had a debate with myself.
“Of course, I don’t have any money either, but I bet he doesn’t even have a wii-fit. And a $3.99 breakfast special IS an amazing deal. Especially in New York. Should I just buy a tuna fish sandwich and a diet coke to go?”
I forced my brain to stop kvetching. Did I call my therapist? No. I did something better. I asked myself, “What would Sophia do?”
“Listen,” I told the owner, “You have two choices. You can charge my Mastercard the $3.99 or I can walk home — I’m just a few blocks away — and I will bring you back the $3.99.”
He caved in. He charged my card $3.99, cursing under his breath.
Before I left, I thanked him, apologized, and told him that I will bring cash the next time. I’m still polite.
At the Mermaid Parade, I met up with Sarah and a few of her friends she knows from Flickr, all of them amazing photographers. They had come to the event to get some cool shots. I’m not much of a photographer, but I felt competitive, and tried to impress Sarah with my photos. As she ran around with her cool camera, I tried to find shots that interested me. Surprising, most of them ended up being shots of women’s asses.
I came across some girls who were hardly wearing anything at all. I tried to grab a photo of them surreptitiously, but I ended up chopping their heads off in the frame.
“What would Sophia do?”
I called out to them, like I was a paparazzi photographing Paris Hilton in Hollywood.”
“Hey, ladies!” I cried out. “You look gorgeous. Can I take a photo of you? I love your smiles!”
It worked. I mean, I’ve done this before a million times with YOU on your blogs and Twitter, but NEVER in real life!”
Women DO respond to flattery in real life TOO!
On the way home from Brooklyn, I took the bus. It was crowded, so I had to stand with several other passengers. All of the seats were filled, except for one open window seat. It was part of a two seater. The outer seat was occupied by a tough-looking guy, a bald black man wearing intimidating Wesley Snipes sunglasses. He was sitting with his legs wide open, sending out the non-verbal message that “this seat next to me is NOT available.”
No one dared make a move.
For two bus stops, I thought about the rudeness of this dude. And why was everyone so scared of him? Even if this guy was someone who would kill you in the alleyway, the chances are slim that he is going to shoot you, during daylight, in the middle of a crowded city bus?
“What would Sophia do?”
Remember, Sophia is a Republican. Republicans always get a bad rap for being “racist” and “anti-minority.” Actually, I’ve never met anyone who treats everyone as equally as Sophia does. She doesn’t resort to stereotypes. She does not get pushed around by the wealthy in Beverly Hills or the aggressive-looking black guy on the city bus.
There is no way Sophia would let this asshole get away with taking up two seats.
I adjusted my crotch, and John Wayned over to him. I could feel the eyes of the other passengers burning a hole in the back of my shirt. I think they were trying to figure out their next move. Should they stop me? Should they pull the emergency cord? Should they jump out the window, women and children first?
“Excuse me, sir,” I said to him, trying to disarm him with kindness. “Can I get in there?”
“Oh yeah,” he said in a deep voice, sliding his legs over to allow me in. “Sorry about that.”
After I sat down, I also had to open my legs a little wider, since I could feel my balls growing.