Tuesday, November 10, 2009

larry, daryl, daryl, and kevin.

Listening To: Whiskey Straight by Rocky Votolato
The whole song is pretty, but this is my favorite lyric: "She was an anchor with high cheek bones. I was a soldier with broken fingers."

When I was a kid, my parents always watched a show called Newhart. I don't remember much about it, and I'm positive I didn't get the humor back then, but there was on element of the show I liked a lot. Occasionally, these three goofy looking guys would walk in the house and one of them would say, "Hi, I'm Larry. This is my brother Daryl. This is my other brother Daryl." It made me laugh so much and it still makes me laugh, especially now that I've seen a few episodes. The other day, I was thinking about Larry, Daryl, and Daryl and started thinking about the random characters who occasionally drop into the weirdness that is my life.

You'll remember Don the Chicken Man, who stuffed fresh dead chicken in my refrigerator. Don is the one who buries glass jars in his yard and asked my brother to help him move a water heater while Chase was on crutches with a cast on his leg. So Don would probably be a recurring character.

But there's also Kevin.

Kevin works at the Blockbuster closest to my house. A few summers ago, my brother and I went to Blockbuster a lot, like several times a week. Kevin was always working when we went. At that time, I think Kevin was probably a junior or senior in high school. He looked very Abercrombie - black hair with a slight curl, average height, magic smile. This is what I mean by magic smile: he smiled at girls and they instantly started playing with their hair, fidgeting back and forth, blushing, or giggling. Like many guys with the ability to make girls act this way, Kevin was aware of his gift. He mostly used his powers for good.

For reasons I still don't understand, Kevin ended up following me around the store a lot, even when I assured him I didn't need help. One time he circled twice with me trying to help me pick out a movie. By which I mean, Kevin followed me around the store with a copy of Shaun of the Dead promising it would change my life.

Another time he pulled Twilight off the shelf and said, "Have you pre-ordered this yet?"

I shook my head no and said, "I didn't like that movie."

Kevin slammed the movie back on the shelf and said, "Good. I hate that stupid movie. I hate it when girls come in here and start talking about what's his face. The dead guy. Ernest."

"Edward," I said.

"Yeah," Kevin growled. "I don't see what the big deal is. Look at that poster up there," he pointed to the poster on the wall. "He looks like he's *constipated*" (Slight edit of the language here to make it blog appropriate).

Kevin is hilarious, is what I'm getting at. Don is funny only when you aren't his next door neighbor and can laugh at his antics from afar. But you would like Kevin. He's a sweet guy. I assumed, outside the blue aisles of Blockbuster world, Kevin was a popular high school student who dressed like an American Eagle display.

I was so wrong.

Slight tangent for necessary backstory: A couple of years ago, my brother and I were in a car accident. I was fine, but Chase was not. My brother has rods attached to all the major bones of his leg and his left wrist has a solar plate or something (airports with him are a blast). Seriously though, he was in the hospital for a long time then he came home to start the rehab process (during which metal bars were literally sticking out of his legs. It was wild!). One night I was at Blockbuster, by myself, looking for a movie when I heard this:

"Hey girl! Whatchu doin?!"

I did not turn my head, because I assumed whoever said that was obviously talking to somebody else. Then I heard:

"You frontin' like you don't know me or what?"

I shifted my eyes toward the voice. Lo and behold, Kevin was standing beside me. A baseball hat was cocked sideways on his head. He was wearing baggy jeans and a baggy t-shirt bearing some kind of skateboard insignia. Abercrombie Kevin's civilian clothes were way different than I thought they would be. I thought, Huh. It must be Halloween. Then I did a quick mental calendar check and realized, no, it was still June.

I said, "Hey, Kevin." And smiled and tried not to stare at his clothes. Which matched the clothes the guys around him were wearing.

Kevin turned to the guys behind him, nodded, and said, "See."


Then he turned back to me. "So where's your brother?" he asked.

"We were in a pretty bad wreck. Chase can't walk for awhile."

Kevin dropped a very loud effenheimer that caused everybody in the store to turn around and stare. Then he lowered his voice and said. "That sucks, yo." And he swatted his arms like rappers do.

It was like I had fallen into a rabbit hole somewhere on the new releases aisle and ended up in an alternate universe. That persona, that weird Abercrombie Jekyll vs. Rapper circa 1994 Hyde, it rattled my brain. As soon as I got out of the store, I called my brother and said. "You know Blockbuster Kevin? I do not think him is what you think him is."

(You'll remember my brother and I often talk to each other in movie quotes. That one is from the Princess Bride.)

The next time I saw Kevin, he was working again, wearing his Blockbuster garb. And it was like a total personality shift. And everything went back to normal.

Over the weekend, I went to Red Robin with my parents. We managed to snag a great parking place but, as soon as we pulled in, the car across from us cranked it's bass so loud our car vibrated. Because I'm twenty-something going on seventy-something, I said, "Ugh. What do those wretched hoodlums think they're doing? That is so rude." I hopped out of the car, slammed the door behind me, and gave those rap-blasting lunatics the stink eye.

And I then I heard:

"Hey girl! S'up?"

And I squinted and realized the rap-blasting lunatic was Kevin, hanging out the car window with a big smile on his face, nodding his head back and forth to the rap song on his radio. I walked to his car and thanked him for aiding in the onset of early hearing loss. He introduced me to his friend (I don't remember his name - something harmless like Kyle). He asked about my brother. Then he said:

"You never come to Blockbuster anymore. I never see you and it makes me sad."

I nodded. "I do Netflix now."

He nodded, sadly. "That's smart. I'm glad I got to see you all the same. Take care, aight?"

And that's the last time I saw him. I'm sure Kevin will show up again though. Recurring characters always do.

Fast forward to 1:20.

So here is my question for you: any quirky coworkers, neighbors, or random people you happen to bump into all the time? Whether they're awesome in a funny way or awesome in a weird way, I would love to hear about them.


  1. Kevin makes me terribly happy and terribly sad at the same time.

    I get a lot of that working at Starbucks. Random people I'll run into recognize me, but they're not quite sure who I am until I pull my hair back (I always have my hair down on my days off). They'll usually kind of duck and half look at me and half wave, just in case I'm not who they think I am. The funniest is when I run into them at other coffee shops - they'll either ask me really loudly why I'm cheating on Starbucks or they'll completely ignore me like I can't see them patronizing a competitor.

    I do have a juicy story to share, but I'm going to be a good girl and let it wait until my Finance homework is done.

  2. I love your blog! :-) Didn't you write for Brio magazine? I loved reading your writings.


  3. Ashley, I am eagerly awaiting your juicy story. I saw one of my favorite Starbucks baristas at Target and I wanted to say hi, but didn't feel cool enough. It was like meeting a celeb. He eventually said hi first and because I could not find the words to express the joy he brought to my life, all I could manage was "Hi" back.

    Emily Anne, thanks for such a kind compliment! Glad you dropped by the blog :)

  4. There is a girl who works at American Eagle who seriously makes every visit to the store worthwhile. She is very knowledgable about jeans and she is hilarious! She followed me around, gave me comments on my jeans and talked incessantly about how good the jeans make you look. Lol. I see her from time to time and she is always wearing her fave jeans. :) She's a cool, friendly person. There's also a guy at 7 Eleven across from the street from where I work who is very nice, speedy and always checks my BIG Gulp DP out :) I love familiarity. People I get to see all the time, makes my day better. Thanks for sharing this story. It was funny. :)

  5. Hmm, I can't really thinking of any quirky recurring characters in my life, but this post fills me with all sorts of happiness. Kevin sounds hilarious and lovable. I'm sort of wishing *I* knew him...or some other Kevin.
    Does he show up in any of your novels, Natalie? Because I think he would make a fantastic cameo.

  6. I don't know if you get this crazy channel, but here in Arkansas we get a station called "My TV" and it has old shows--runs Newhart every day. (basic cable--nothing fancy) It's always so different to see a show as an adult you watched as a kid. This show is no exception.