I hate to park in front of the pawn shop. I’m not headed to the pawn shop, but the parking is on the street near my destination. It’s not strictly for the pawn shop. It’s not that I think I’m too good for the pawn shop either, I’m just fortunate enough to not need their services. I hate to park in front of the pawn shop because every time I park in front of the pawn shop one of the skinhead no-necks that hangs out there, parks me in. The pawn shop owner often parks me in too, but he is a nice man who will gladly move his vehicle when you ask. He always calls me Pani and smiles at me. But the skinhead no-neck, no way. He takes pleasure in the fact that I am parked in. OK, I am no princess. I don’t hide or come back later. I find the guy and tell him to move his car. And he does move his car, but he likes to move his car just enough – just enough that you could get out of your spot if you had a hovercraft or could perhaps bend the laws of physics. The last time I asked him why he didn’t move down a bit further, I mean he was still double-parked anyhow so what was the problem. He laughed and said, “I wanted to see if you could get out.” I replied that I could get out, but that his nice, shiny car had no dents or scratches yet, while mine already had a few. “The first time always hurts the most, but you’ll get over it,” I said. He moved his car.
After that I decided to park somewhere else, but I still walk past the pawn shop on the way. I have mixed feelings about pawn shops in general. I mean, if you need some fast cash and are desperate, I guess the pawn shop is a pretty cool institution. If I had to, I’d probably take my TV in. I need my computer for work, and I don’t have any tools or any other valuable stuff.
Once I watched a guy from out of town take in an ipad. He came back out, money clutched in one hand and with a dramatic gesture thanked the lord above. I believe he gave the fistful of money a kiss. It looked like a scene from a silent movie when the villain gets away with his dastardly deeds. Maybe I’m not so far off. Maybe that ipad was stolen. From my casual observation, I see the same crew coming in and out of the pawn shop. They most often have cell phones and small power tools. I find it highly improbable that these are their own possessions or that they require pawn shop services on a daily basis.
Awhile back I parked in such a place that while not parked in front of the pawn shop I still had to cross in front of the pawn shop on the way to the parking ticket machine and back. To set the scene, it was early morning and there was the usual crew of men hanging out in front of the pawn shop. They were all dressed almost identically in track suits, drinking beer and smoking.
The smallest guy of the group was clearly agitated. He was bouncing around and jumping from one foot to the other. He also had some kind of nervous tic of grabbing his crotch. He started to speak to another man, perhaps the leader of the crew who was leaning on the building, relaxed, enjoying his alpha status.
Nervous crotch grabber: No kurwa, powiedz, stary, no. Byłes w tej Anglii, nie, stary, no. No powiedz no, jak było?
Alpha Übermensch w dres: No stary, kurwa, wiesz no jak w Angli. Było ok.
Crotch grabber: No staaaary, dlugo tam byłes, nie, w tej Anglii, no?
Übermensch: Trzy lata stary. Kurwa jak najebalem sie w tej Anglii.
Crotch grabber: No stary mówisz po angielsku, nie? Mówisz, nie?
Übermensch: No stary oczywiście.
Crotch grabber: No powiedz cos po angielsku stary. No mów!
Übermensch: (pausing to make sure all eyes were on him) Wassup motha fuckaaassssss!
I to by było na tyle.
I cannot imagine how it is possible that I overheard this conversation. I think the stars and the planets must have been aligned that day. It was like a small gift from the universe, I think, just for me.Oh wondrous universe I thank you.