By Larry Teren
I don’t wear a white dress shirt with a narrow tie nor is my hair combed grease-back style. I don’t stare bug-eyed and bloodshot. Still, I get no respect.
You see, I’m the guy who has to press the button on the car remote one extra time to induce that flatulence-sounding noise. You know what I mean. It does more than reaffirm that I locked the car without putting the key in the door while standing twenty or so feet away. I’m trying to let all others within earshot know not to mess with me. My car is locked and anchored to its resting place until needed again. Okay, I do it to annoy others who don’t care about me or my car. Or maybe they just went through the same ritual and flatulated their own vehicle not far from mine. You can say it is another way of marking my car’s territory in a sea of other automobiles at the mall parking lot.
Blasting away with that extra click on the remote is also a way of letting others know that I don’t care what they think about me driving a 2002 Chevy. I have feelings, too, and sometimes need to toot my own horn, okay?
Did I mention that part of this neurosis has led me to not being seen in public without that ticklish bluetooth in my ear? Alright- nobody calls me but does everyone need to know that? What a feeling of power to be able to look someone in the eye and not pay attention to anything they are saying because I’m pretending to listen to someone else.
It used to be only Secret Service men or semi-celebrities reading the news and getting instructions from the floor director who would openly put something distracting in their ear. I wish Ma would, too- I’m tired of responding to all her requests by repeatedly begging, “get a hearing aid!”
So I’ve become a member of the self-important. And every once in a while, somebody does call but I fumble and push my thumb against the wrong button. I end up either losing the call or turning off the device which requires that I turn off the cell phone and turn it back on again. They call that ‘pairing’. When I was a kid and we would go out as a group, this is how we paired- “hey, ugly- you sit with four eyes and keep your mouth shut.” That’s one reason when I go to weddings nowadays I stay only for the reception because I just know otherwise they are going to seat me at a table with someone who doesn’t want to eat and talk with me either.
Another thing I do to indulge myself in flights of fancy is to wear sunglasses outdoors even when it’s cloudy. Some people think I must be important enough that they wonder if I’ve even gotten into an argument with Tom Cruise or know exactly what it is that Paris Hilton does.
Being also adept (yeah, sure) at multiple languages gets me in trouble when searching for that elusive pat on the back. At one supermarket I frequent, I tend to expose (be careful now) my (lack of) expertise in Espanol to the checkout lady I often allow to ring up my stack of gluttony. It goes something like this:
Me- esperando para ti.
She: (ignoring what I just mumbled)- ¿Cómo va? es su madre aquí? que le hace piensa ganará la elección?
Me (thinking she just asked me if I have gonorrhea) – no, el gato es en el casa.
She (realizing I’m an idiot, dumbs it down) – tu madre aqui?
Me (grateful that I understood her) – yes, she is still shopping. So, I’ll put my stuff in the car and come back and wait.
She- you good son.
Me- de nada.
She- ¿Jamás no trabaja usted?
Me (I run out of the store)
I tell ya, no respect.