5.14.2014

THE ONE ABOUT THE DUDES

*photo unrelated entirely to anything, as though you expected anything less.

file this one under: "life mysteries, solved!" 

so. some evenings, unpredictably, when huck and i are coming home from who knows wherever we've been that day, we'll happen to walk home through this whole huge horde of dudes. i am talking dude-dudes. all twenty-something, all wearing scuffed work boots and baggy trousers, a lot of hoodies. occasionally there's a token female there but not usually. a lot of the time they've formed a long line at the hot dog guy up at the corner. when this happens, this phenomenon, it renders any trip to duane reade completely impossible. all these guys swarming all up in the joint, buying up all the chips, it's crazy. once, when we were walking home, we watched as an entire city bus stopped at the corner, opened its doors, and then! unleash the dudes! guys started pouring out of the thing, dude after dude, sooo many dudes, like a dude clown car, like a dude factory shaped like a bus. sometimes we see them and they're all milling about all over the place, not really doing anything, these funny random patches of dudes, and we weave around them on our scooter and sometimes we get stuck behind one or two (they walk so slow, and with such a wide stance... being a guy must feel really weird), and other times we get there and they've all formed a line, one long, snaking line of really rather large guys, guys who look like sports fans, all down the side of one building. sometimes when we pass they're actually going into this building, one at a time, through one little blue door. bloop!bloop!bloop! is the sound i like to imagine they make when they go in.

what on earth are they doing here? is it some kind of convention? it's all mysterious, all the time we talk about it. we can never predict when we're going to see them, which lends this weird, magical quality to the whole thing. sometimes they'd be gone for whole months at a time, and i'd forget all about them. and then! there they were again! are they working the night shift? are they sweat shop workers? are they taking tap dance lessons?

sometimes i liked to imagine we were witnessing some cosmic, earthly event. you know, testosterone being the crucial element here. maybe it had something to do with the migratory patterns of dudes in the wild. maybe it was beer-related. or construction-related? (see: scuffed boots. all of them! scuffed boots!) was it like a guy bermuda triangle? like these guys were being drawn here, ooh like that scene in hocus pocus! all in a trance, they don't know why, they only know, THEY MUST GET TO THAT BUILDING. AND STAND IN A LINE TO GET IN. OOH BUT FIRST I WANT A HOT DOG. i mean, you can see how this was getting out of hand for us. 

anyway. we were needing popcorn. special popcorn, this is how this all went down. we'd ran out of popcorn--i'm talking breakfast lunch and dinner some days, this popcorn--and i'd been to all the duane reades in the area to find more (not surprisingly there are at least 7 duane reades in this one 10 block radius), but none had any any in stock! it was super frustrating. kind of like when we go into the starbucks to get a two-pack of black and white cookies to share and there aren't any left, because we've already bought them all. 

so we're pulling into our last duane reade of the day before i come to my senses and realize it's just popcorn and i'll get on with life, and it's one of those nights where the dude population is soaring mysteriously, when suddenly, there they are! the popcorns! it was a very serendipitous moment for me. i get on the line to buy my six bags of popcorn (i don't know, is that overkill?), and there are about five dudes in front of me and five dudes behind me, and i finally think to myself: ok. this has gone on long enough. matters, own hands, blammo. so i asked one of the guys what the hell they were doing here and why the hell there are so many of them. nicely, though! i'm pretty nice. and the guy goes, "oh, it's trade school! electrician stuff. every night, 5pm." and then i thought about it and, yep, it was at about 5:00 every night that we'd see these guys, and somehow i hadn't noticed that bit before. and then he looked at all the popcorn bags in my hands, but look, they never have the popcorn i like so when i saw it and it was on sale two-for-one, my brain sort of blitzed and i stopped making rational decisions. 

so then he said something about how the term was almost up and there aren't any classes over the summer, and he ended with this: "yeah, somebody should blog about it." this struck me as sort of an odd thing to say. doesn't it? but then i thought, hey! turns out that's something i can do! 

so... i did.

anyway, mystery of the universe: solved.

38 comments :

  1. Okay, "THEY MUST GET TO THAT BUILDING. AND STAND IN A LINE TO GET IN. OOH BUT FIRST I WANT A HOT DOG" might just be the most awesome sentence in the history of ever!

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  2. I feel like New York has an endless supplies of mysteries such as this. When I was in college there was a man who used to run up and down third avenue wearing women's lingerie. You know, running like anyone would go for a run, and he'd have sneakers and a sweatband, and a red lacy negligee. WHY? The world may never know. I am super excited for you to have solved the mystery of the dudes.

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  3. I was laughing so hard while reading this i actually spit teddy grahams onto my computer screen... tmi? probably. but truthfully one of the funniest things I've read in a while! Thanks!
    Sally
    thedupaixproject.blogspot.com

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  4. Haha this made me laugh so hard. Thanks for brightening my evening!

    thewordthief.com

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  5. You are the greatest, Natalie Jean!

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  6. This is pure, unadulterated blogging gold! So thanks given to you, Natalie Jean, for making my already somewhat fab day even more awesome!

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  7. I have a similar phenomenon happening down the street from my daughter's school bus stop. Every so often there is a crowd waiting at the door of an otherwise never busy business. They are not all dudes dressed similarly, although that could be fun, rather they are all ages. Men and women, sometimes with children, and all appearing to be of the same ethnicity. I'm not sure what the business is, as the sign is in a foreign language, but every couple months at 8:00am there is a crowd waiting to get into this place.

    Why are they all there on the same day? Does this business only open four times a year? Why isn't there a normal slow trickle of business daily? Why did they all get there so early if the place clearly isn't going to be open for a while? The customers are there for a reason. They didn't just happen by. It's a business smack dab in the middle of a residential area.

    One of these days I will slow down the car and ask one of them. What if it's something fabulous and I need to be part of it?

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  8. I love your stories, Natalie! You have such a wonderful voice. I love the rest of your posts as well (especially the ones where you talk about clothes and your home because you do both of those things so well), but your anecdotes are really fantastic! I'm so looking forward to reading your book! xx

    The What's In Between

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  9. "Someone should blog about this?" Did he recognize you? Was the universe talking to you?
    Just the best.

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  10. this is seriously the best!

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  11. OK, so you need to know this, I read your blog for many many reasons, but I also learn how to be a better writer when I read stories like these. Brilliant!

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    1. ohh, thank you! such an enormous compliment!

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  12. i love love love the way you see your world! also, i second "atinygrowinghouse" about you making me a better writer for reading your words.

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  13. I'm so curious... what kind of popcorn is it??

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    1. skinny pop! black pepper flavor!

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  14. I missed these little random types of posts! I'm having a baby in about a month, and your blog really inspired me on my path to motherhood so I decided to go back to the archives and do a little re-reading. So many gems like this! Feels like your blog (and instagram!) are "back" lately - although I'm so excited to read that book, so I'm glad you took the time to finish it up. Basically I'm saying, thanks for sharing your writing and keep it up lady - you'll always be my favorite!

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  15. hahaha great story. greater ending.

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  16. I'm thinking one of their girlfriends or wives reads your blog. The scenario for me (if I were a screen play writer) is one of their girlfriends probably super digs your shoes or a hat of yours and asked for it for her birthday, and said to the Dude while looking at the same phone/computer/iPad screen : "THIS hat! Like Natalie Jean wears! That's what I'm talking about." And now he's a regular reader and THIS was his big moment of meeting you. A meet cute, if you will. He probably texted his girlfriend or wife, or what have you before his electrician class started.

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  17. I am glad the dudes have been solved, but now I feel like I've gotta know what kind of popcorn this is that inspires such determination. And don't worry, I live in another state, so I won't be depleting your suppliers' stock :)

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    1. girl try it at your own risk, you'll never go back. it's the black pepper skinny pop. :)

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  18. hahaha this is too funny! i'm glad you asked!

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  19. He had to be regular reader here and just didn't want to admit it, so he casually mentioned 'somebody should blog about it. . .' He's probably reading this right now, eating his hotdog, and laughing at all the quippy lines up there.

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  20. I hope that popcorn was kettlecorn, I have recently become addicted!

    http://finefantasies.blogspot.com/

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  21. love this. i love your everyday observations of this hilarious, random world we all live in.

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  22. this actually made me snort-laugh. xo

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  23. Never heard anyone talk so passionately about popcorn! x

    Valentina
    Valentina Duracinsky Blog

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  24. this is so funny! i am serious about my popcorn as well! it's just something you need all the time, like toilet paper.

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  25. What is this popcorn?! Desperate to know!!

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    1. it's the black pepper from "skinny pop" (i hate that name)!! you're going to get addicted, i swear.

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  26. Love stories like this! Every summer, we'd see a massive group of people riding their bicycles at night and ringing their bells obnoxiously. It seemed to happen maybe once or twice a month in the summers. We're talking like 80 bicyclists. They would hold up traffic in order to stay together...reminded me of a funeral procession or something. We shouted out to them once from the car and found out it was a local bicycle club. Obviously. It was still very random though!

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  27. maybe he recognized you because he's a blog fan and that's why he said someone should blog about it…..

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  28. I loved this post. We live around several college campuses and I love when summer comes around as the college kids go home and you totally forget about them until you go to the bar one afternoon around August to sit at the bar for a beer (or few) and it's full of them, again!! I mean like packed! I always raise my fist and say: "Damn, college kids!" It lasts for several weeks and then it feels like normal...

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  29. I found your brilliant little piece of the internet about a month ago and have been lapping up your words ever since, frequently stalking your archives when I need a coffee/work break (that is, like now). I just moved to New York and one of the best parts has been discovering these little mysteries and marveling at the beautiful absurdity of humanity. You nailed this story in the most hilarious way. Your writing... it's just such a gift. Thanks for sharing it with the big, sometimes unkind but mostly wonderful, world.

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