Thursday, October 09, 2008

Saying Hooters Will Get Your Attention

Last Friday, my sister Runtie and I called the Marquee Cinemas our home for twelve hours, settling into their brightly upholstered stadium seats for ten hours and watching $26 worth of movies. We had carefully planned the afternoon, tearing the schedule out of the paper and poring over it like it a treasure map that led to something other than deep vein thrombosis.

Our four-parter began with Eagle Eye, a technological thriller starring Shia LaBeowulf as a twentysomething screwup who gets 'activated' by an unseen woman who calls him on his cell phone and threatens to kill him unless he completes a number of tasks, a scenario that could've been prevented if he hadn't canceled his Sprint contract early. It was gloriously ridiculous but featured stuff gettin' blowed up and the emaciated husk of what used to be Billy Bob Thornton spitting lines like "Get back to work or I'll assign you to something that involves touching shit with your hands." I'm still not sure whether I was relieved or disappointed that it didn't include a VERY TENSE DOWNLOADING SCENE, the hallmark of the genre perfected in 1995 by Sandra "The Net" Bullock.

We skipped out on the credits, shielding our eyes from the Daystar (HOW IT BURNS US) and climbing a bramble-covered incline to reach Wal-Mart where we could stock up on provisions--a 24 pack of popcorn balls, soda, a totally unrelated jump rope--and oversized, underpriced purses we could use to smuggle it all into the theatre. We did pause briefly when Runtie crouched in the center of the breakfast aisle to remove a brier from her foot, an incident that didn't draw a second glance from any other shoppers, even the one who parked her cart atop Runtie's discarded flip flop and calmly read the nutritional information on a box of NASCAR-themed cereal. We stumbled back down the hill, giant purses crashing into our pelvises, and skidded into the theatre in time for Flick #2, How to Lose Friends and Make a Shitty Movie Alienate People. I adore Simon Pegg and would lick a variety of fruit preserves from his bare chest but my affections are contingent on him actually writing the films he stars in. Also, I was unprepared to see Kirsten Dunst's teeth come snarling out of the screen sideways like enemy fighters in Galaga.

Not pictured: Oreo Cakesters, Pop Tarts, and diabetes

After wiping the rom-com saccharine sheen off of our skin we walked to Chick-fil-A for dinner, noticing the disproportionate number of goth kids who seem to enjoy southern-style chicken sandwiches and taking a seat across from a dude with one pale eye and a tattoo of a rotting skull who scowled at us in between spoonfuls of his Ice Dream. We darted back across the parking lot in time for the opening animation of Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, which can be described as:

(Michael Cera + Hipstery Girl Who Insists on Wearing Lipstick Way Past the Natural Boundaries of Her Lips) X Juno - Pregnancy + 8,000 song soundtrack.

It was probably the best flick we saw all day but if it had been made ten years earlier, it would've relied on unfortunate amounts of Goo Goo Dolls music to carry the story.

Rounding out the day was PG-13 thriller Lakeview Terrace. "I like Samuel L. Jackson", Runtie said as we snagged the last pair of seats, approximately four feet from the screen, "But he's always so hateful. I want him to star in a movie where he plays, like, an animated panda." He was not a panda in this one, 110 minutes of cursing, racism, and fire--my favorites!--but I'll save you $7.50 and summarize it as "I've had it with these mothereffing interracial couples in my mothereffing subdivision!"

We went home exhausted, waving a fistful of ticket stubs to in our parents' faces and brushing popcorn crumbs off our shirts, insisting that we had accomplished something, if only making the cinema staff feel uncomfortable. Yes, Rebecca, we're back again. We'll need another pair of tickets and another four quarters because we'd like to play Big Buck Safari and get a Hannah Montana glitter sticker out of the vending machine before these clots in our legs break loose.
__________
On Saturday, Runtie, her boyfriend, and I went downtown for Chili Fest where we paid five bucks, got five bowls of chili, and made a mental note to drive home with the windows down. We also learned the importance of avoiding bathrooms at food festivals, since each stall at Chili Fest was an individual portal to hell. We'd discarded our last of five spoons and were sitting on the curb sharing a brownie when we started daring each other to do things because that's what grownups do. I'd already earned a buck by downing a Pixie Stick the size of Nicole Ritchie, ensuring that my evening would most likely end with a grand mal seizure when somehow our hometown's new Hooters franchise came up. The phrase "Ask for a job application" became the predicate to a sentence that began with "I dare you to", so we drove across town to a place where the beer flows like water and the mullets flow past the patrons' shoulders.

We were led to a table near the kitchen as I plotted my move. I was nervously fumbling through the menu when Whitnee our waitress--who would be hot on a scale from 1-2--flipped to a clean page on her notepad and asked what we'd like. "Just, um...the cheese sticks for me," I said chickening out and earning a plate full of batter dipped mistakes. Just when Runtie thought I was going to owe her a crisp Washington, Whitnee made her final lap past our table to see if we needed refills or a complimentary defibrillator and I finally spoke up.

"Actually, Whitnee, could I get a job application?" I said, bracing myself for the peals of laughter that would follow since my chest is less Hooters and more Hootwelveyearoldboy. I was ready to spill a rich backstory about having worked nights at the Hooters in Tacoma as I pursued a degree in Archeology with a minor in Mini-Burgers, but "sure," was all she said, her penciled on eyebrows curving themselves into over-plucked parentheses. "Would you like to fill it out here or just bring it back?"

Not pictured: Actual Hooters

"The latter," I told her, noting that the application was less concerned with prior employment experience than it was with prior felony convictions. "What ladder?" she asked, stacking our empty plates onto her tray and tugging at the hem of her orange sateen shorts. When we said nothing, she offered me a pen and minced back toward the kitchen. Before she rounded the corner, I saw the slogan on the back of her shirt. It read "Delightfully tacky yet unrefined."

Yes, Hooters. Yes, you are.
_________
Any time we're at home, there's no way Runtie and I can leave the premises without getting at least one Dad Lecture (TM) from our serious-sounding father, who always writes out talking points for these seemingly off-the-cuff conversations. This time we had to talk about the economy and the fact that my Dad is concerned about this made my sphincter tighten a little. "Things aren't easy out there," he began. "A lot of people are going to lose their jobs and even more are going to lose money."

What I should've said was nothing. What I did say was "I'm already unemployed and broke so look at me, being a trendsetter!" He paused to give me a hard stare before taking a bite of biscotti and continuing. I listened but he knows I've always been awful with money. When our grandparents would give us crisp fifties for our birthdays, Runtie would tuck hers away in her ballerina-shaped bank while I invested heavily in Ninja Turtle futures. It's no better now. She has a budget and a financial plan while I have a stack of unpaid bills and a brand new jump rope.

Anyway, our father sent us out the door with the warning that we needed to cut back and curb unnecessary spending habits, a phrase that was both repeated and directed at me as I happily circled fun things in the Toys R Us catalog. What's interesting and TOTALLY TERRIFYING is that I don't know what I can possibly 'cut back' on since my life has already been nibbled to the cuticles. It was a lot to think about on the drive back so when I got home, I made an urgent offering to Pencilqoatl, the Aztec God of Freelance Writing that perhaps a job offer will come my way soon. I just hope he liked those popcorn balls.

36 comments:

The Imaginary Reviewer said...

This is an absolute joy to read. The Galaga reference is icing on an already jam-packed-with-deliciosity cake. Superb.

Dexter Colt said...

Are they still paying for plasma? I remember doing that 2x a week my junior year of college (you got more money the second time around). It was me, a couple of friends, and a whole lot of homeless people.

I for one am thankful that I had no investments. Now everyone gets knocked down to my day-by-day lifestyle. There's a chance I could come out on top after all!

belle said...

did you whip out the job app and tell your dad you've got it under control, you're getting a job at hooters?

Robbie said...

Good luck with the job application! :D

UrbanVox said...

seriously... u getting a job at hooters???

That is something I would HAVE to see!!
lol!

Jack said...

The upshot is that Hooters doesn't require you to touch a customer's feet and the handbook probably warns against just such a scenario.

*~*Lis*~* said...

I was starting to think you lived in my state - how many other states have an Apple store and had a Chili Fest this weekend! Apparently more than one 'cuz all our Hooters shut down last year - not enough boob jobs up here I guess,

Beth said...

How sad, an unsatisfying Simon Pegg experience.

Though I sat through "Run, Fat Boy, Run" just to see his cute face again. But for sure, "Hot Fuzz" and "Shaun of the Dead" are much more masterpiece-y.

Meanwhile, I now realize that my freelance career has not been fulfilling because I've failed to make offerings to Pencilqoatl. Since you've cornered the market on popcorn-ball sacrifices, I will proffer coconut-raspberry Zingers.

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I have to know what the sign says behind the man whose eyes are glued to the TV. "We are highly trained professionals, please....WHAT?" I can't figure out the last word. I don't know why it matters. But it does.

Bogart in P Towne said...

Not sure about the popcorn balls, but any post with a Goo-Goo Dolls reference has my vote!

Sandi said...

"on a scale of 1-2"

I wish I had thought of that.

We have a Hooters near me in the white trashiest town in my state.

My brother and his friends went there once and had a similar explanation of the waitresses.

Movie Maven said...

I love the cinema camp-out (and have done it on occasion with my very own little sister), but we never paid for more tickets, citing high prices and lack of quality (I seem to remember The Da Vinci Code being one of our tacked-on viewings).

And as for The Net, well, I can't get enough of those icons they use while chatting. DOWNLOAD! FASTER! FASTER!

Bill said...

Freelance writing, hmmm, interesting concept . . . can you really make money that way, or do you just do it for the luv?

JustinS said...

All that AND you got to sit in front of Bobby Baccalieri at Hooters. My life is nothing in comparison.

Elizabeth Marie said...

Unfortunately the writing market is getting even more pinched as of late. I'm fairly worried as to what I'll be doing income-wise as well. Us writers seem to have the short end of the stick in this economy. Also. Please tell me that you actually filled out/returned your Hooters application. That would make my day.

verybadcat said...

I <3 popcorn balls!

RainbowEclipse said...

A) *high five* for the fact that you didn't vomit on the Hootress after 5 bowls of chili an a plate of fried cheese...

B) another for the photographer capturing that girl behind you attempting to devour an entire slice of pizza in one mouthful...


Entertaining, as always --- have a fantastic weekend!

Andy said...

I just met someone at church who works for Hooters. She's evidently at midlevel management now. And is not well endowed. So there's hope!

Vanilla said...

Just think of all the stories you'd have for this blog if you worked at Hooters. Holy crap it would be a crock pot of white trash stories stewed with some college douchbaggery just for flavor.

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

ME. "I like Samuel L. Jackson", Runtie said as we snagged the last pair of seats, approximately four feet from the screen, "But he's always so hateful. I want him to star in a movie where he plays, like, an animated panda." He was not a panda in this one, 110 minutes of cursing, racism, and fire--my favorites!--but I'll save you $7.50 and summarize it as "I've had it with these mothereffing interracial couples in my mothereffing subdivision!"
ANNA. hahaha
ANNA. when she started that post, i thought they were doing a 4-movie SNEAK
ME. ME TOO
ANNA. WHY would you pay again????
ME. well
ME. because they needed to see the light of day
ANNA. no, that is not part of a movie marathon
ME. hahahahah
ANNA. i refuse your answer
ME. light of day not included
ANNA. although i can kind of feel them on the chik-fil-a

Mermanda said...

An uptight, ultra-conservative, family friend (who teaches cotillion classes in her free time) has a daughter who works at a Hooters-type joint. I'm pretty sure her mom sees nothing wrong with this. And THAT is why life is awesome.

Cinnkitty said...

Good lord, the only thing you could have seen to round out that miasma of cinematographic drivel would have been "Igor" (oh Mr. Cusack..how COULD YOU?)

Hmmm...popcorn balls... hmmm.... ;)

lfar said...

You look so much like Kristen Bell in that photo (and I think she's beautiful!)

Katherine said...

You are a GREAT writer! I love the way you turn a phrase, and that you make me laugh out loud. I hope your offering works--you deserve those freelance opportunities.

P.S. I agree that working at Hooters would give you a treasure trove of things to blog about.

Michael said...

BRILLIANT.

Brilliant beyond my ability to quantify brilliant.

Excellent, excellent post.

It is family lore that my sister in law (who is second in gorgeousity only to my very own goodladywife) applied to Hooters and was turned down.

I've actually never been inside one. I was coming home after a job interview once at lunchtime and passed by one. I thought of going in, didn't, and have regretted it ever since. Sort of.

Eric (Extra P.) said...

Two things -

I love the expression of the guy in Hooters behind you.

When you're easily amused and like junk food (like I do) being poor ain't so bad.

Eric (Extra P.) said...

And, to all of the writers -

Doesn't it seem odd that freelancers would have a hard time? I mean, we're like the temp workers of the writing world. You can underpay us, fire us at will, and don't have to offer us any kind of benefits. I'd think we'd be MORE in demand.

heidi said...

My hubby insists it would be a great place to work, because they have the best fish sandwich.

Elisse said...

This post was hilarious! I don't know if I've mentioned before, but you are wonderfully funny and incredibly refreshing. I'm sure you'll get freelance jobs.

I think you've told me you are in NC? I am too, and a writer, and job-hunting as well! Coincidences abound. Best of luck to you!

G+D said...

Hi! Just discovered your blog, and I have to say--this post owns me. Absolutely hilarious! Thanks for the laugh!

panajane said...

You deserve a million job offers!

Xenia said...

Hey, I majored in archaeology. But my minors were 'would you like some fries with that?' and 'tall or venti?'.

You and Runtie sound a lot like my sister and. Marathon movie days, dad lectures and all. :)

cassette45 said...

Good luck on the jobness! Something is bound to come along soon.

The conversation with your Dad sounds erierly familar. Except I was more like your sister... still short on cash tho. argh

secretlyfree said...

Love the post...Hooters - always an interesting place.

Miss Burb said...

I tagged you :)
http://littlemamabear.blogspot.com/2008/10/6-quirks.html

Sarah Elizabeth said...

I'm proud/surprised you didn't just jump from movie to movie without paying! I thought for sure that was the direction of the story...