This post is part of the continuing series of snippets from my upcoming project The Scarecrow Effect. Some of these are short and others almost chapter length. They are not in order. Other posts in this series can be located by browsing the blog or by typing the words "scarecrow effect" into the search engine field. This is not a children's novel.
"Would you like some whip cream on that?"
For several months I had been convinced that the blond girl in the white bikini at the espresso stand by the 7-11 was going to cause a multi-car pile up. Seriously.
I have to admit that acknowledging that means that I regularly cast a glance her way myself. It simply did not bother me to be at that particular red light. In fact, getting the green too quickly was a bit irritating unless a big truck was getting a coffee and blocking the view anyways.
Yes, I guess I do have a dirty old man inside me somewhere, but that is beside the point. The point of bikini baristas is to get me to look. She was doing her job very well in that sense. But, since I wasn't becoming an actual patron as a result, I felt better.
And why did I feel better?
Because being a real dirty old man would mean me driving up, lingering, and gawking while she bent down to get the milk or leaned out to hand me my change. Were I to be a regular patron - or not - was the difference in my own over-rationalizing mind.
Plus, I would have felt obligated to tip in singles.
So, I brewed my own coffee at home, saved a few bucks, and tried to feel better about things.
There were guys that were real womanizers - if that term is even used any more - when they were younger that super over-compensate and lose their sense of humor when they have daughters as if paying penance for their past sins.
The semantics of such arguments left me tired in a bad way so I started to make jokes about college cheerleaders being proof that God loves men and wants us to be happy and that bikini baristas were a cultural front in the War on Terror since our women were able to choose to exploit themselves this way.
A pretty girl in skimpy clothing lowers the average male IQ by 30 percent depending on proximity.
I could never tell for sure, but most of these guys who were super over-compensating and had lost their sense of humor must have found my dry delivery too hard to gauge and were taking me seriously so I eventually had stopped altogether and would change the subject to NASCAR whenever it would come up.
I cannot say that I actually follow auto racing enough to speak with authority on the subject, but it usually got a couple guys rolling about various issues and we could keep a lid on the super over-compensating lack of sense of humor topics.
And, it wasn't like this was just one stand with smoking hot bikini baristas in a five mile radius from home. No, at last count there were 6 just along main routes advertising hot girls and hot coffee, but most of them had the good sense to orient their windows away from traffic or major intersections, requiring that one be an actual paying customer in order to window shop. The names of the places were very clever too in many instances and because some people have entirely too much free time it had become an actual political issue with a lot of news coverage. Sometimes any publicity is good publicity. The lines seemed longer after the news coverage started, like men were starting to patronize these places to show their support for the right of hot young women to wear virtually nothing and serve them coffee.
I had made the mistake of saying to one of my super over-compensating lack of sense of humor chums that a girl in a bikini changed the entire tone of, "Would you like whip cream on that?" At that point I discovered that one of his daughter's best friends, like since they were in pre-school together, was working at the bikini barista hut near me. It also turned out that despite his own super over-compensating lack of sense of humor on the subject he was a regular patron, his daughter found out and so did the dad of the girl in question who also shared his super over-compensating lack of sense of humor perspective and was no longer speaking to him. The girl in question was a redhead and the bikini barista I admired from afar was a redhead.
Yet, I still had not patronized the local bikini barista stand and felt much better at that moment. Hooters is another story entirely, so we shan't discuss that issue right now.
It also turns out that I am cheap.
So, I kept my distance and ogled from afar until the day that I saw the white bikini girl strolling from the bikini barista stand over to the 7-11. She was in sweats, but still drew the attention of drivers. I was just pulling in to buy some milk and had parked, held the door for her, and she smiled a smile that had to get her even more tips on top of what the white bikini already helped her bring in. Coffee customers must be ATM machines for her.
She was front and center at the show with several of her very attractive friends looking at me like she could not quite place where she knew me from just a few nights later at our second show.
"I can't quite place where I know you from," she said to me after our set.
My fellow Scarecrow Effect band mates stared in awe and wonder that this girl had approached me so openly and quickly upon completing our 8 song set - this time we through in a rousing "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" sing-a-long - a song we had not actually rehearsed, but sort of just went for - in addition to our 6 originals and the Maiden cover.
"You look like a girl I held the door open for at 7-11 the other day," I remarked back, figuring just being honest and straight was the best policy - that and the tequila.
"Oh my god, that's it," she said. Her vocal tone was friendly, but her brow was beginning to furl.
"I have that kind of memory," I said. I do, actually.
She seemed to accept that answer.
Three of my co-workers were working their way over. Blond bikini barista girl noticed my eyes wander over to them and took her leave, evidently satisfied that I was not a jerk.
A couple guys collided as we watched her walk away and my co-workers approached.
"God help me, but I love the tramp stamp," Nigel whispered in my ear. By whispering, I mean to say right next to my head and screaming loud.
I had made a conscious decision to drink less tequila this time. Maybe I could get to the point where I could get on stage without it, sort of like a reversal of Kris Kristopherson's early days.
Part of me was starting to think that this whole Scarecrow Effect thing was going to build and last. That felt dangerous. Dangerous to what or to who I could not say. My kids were going to want to come to one of these shows and they weren't old enough yet, and the lyrics were sort of questionable, too. They had found the online stuff though and I knew that they had downloaded the songs and some of their friends had heard them and watched the performance clips too. Their friends and friends' parents were looking at me differently these past few weeks, not like as a rock star, but differently. My comfort level with this was varying.
I needed to do something else. Our third show was to be on a Wednesday night in a small club ten days from now. Apparently, we were going to cover " I Ran" from A Flock of Seagulls. I love the song, but was against playing it even though I knew the words.
It was hard to say which was less comfortable though; my kids' friends and their parents or my co-workers and boss. A few of both had been in attendance this evening.
People were buying, I didn't want to be rude, and wasn't driving. As I wasn't driving I did not have a car here to worry about and already had a ride lined up for getting me home.
It wasn't a school night.
I took a few people up on their drinks offers.
I am rationalizing too much.