I was watching Star Trek The Next Generation because it was 1:00 am, and I had nothing to do. Everyone was checked in. Who doesn’t love Star Trek? Someone was near the elevator, using the vending machines. I could hear the coins dropping in the machines, then, I heard a guy say… “Shit!” Perhaps he ran out of change? Maybe his Zinger got stuck before it could fall? I would soon find out. The man approached me. He looked like he could have been 22 years old, and he was stoned. I could smell the weed in his clothing.
“How can I help you, sir?” I asked.
“Hey, uh, do you happen to want to buy some coke?”
“Pardon me?” Hotel guests have stumped me with odd questions, and strange requests, but nobody has ever asked me to buy coke. “What did you just ask me?” I said in response.
“Do you like coke? I was hoping you would buy it.” Said the man. He pointed towards the corner. I assumed he meant it was in his room.
“I’m sorry, pal, but that shit isn’t my kind of thing. Now please go away I don’t want to have to call the cops on you.” I said. He looked at me like he was confused, then he realized what I was thinking.
“Oh, shit… No! I meant, pop. Coca Cola, dude, not cocaine.” He said. Thank goodness! I was not enjoying the conversation up until that point, but it suddenly became interesting.
“Why would you ask me to buy soda?”
“Okay, this is going to sound dumb. I want a Coke, but the next bottle to buy has a girl’s name on it..”
“So?” I don’t necessarily dislike those bottles with the names on them, but it can get irritating when I have to wait behind someone because they have to search the entire cooler until they find a name they like.
“So, I can’t drink that one.” He said. He looked serious. There was no humor in his tone.
“Because it’s a girl soda.”
“Because it has a female name on it?”
“Yeah, dude. It’s a girl soda.”
“I mean…. it’s all the same soda. The name on the bottle doesn’t matter.”
“No, dude. That’s not true. It’s made for girls. That’s why it has a girl name on it.”
“I mean, yeah it has a female name on it, but it is the same soda that’s in any other bottle.”
“Actually, I have tried it, and I can tell you for certain that they are different. They put estrogen in the girl ones.”
Listen, man. It’s not like they claim in those deodorants where they say it is made specifically for women, which, by the way, I think it’s a bunch of crap. It’s all the same.”
“I’m telling you, I can taste the difference.” He believed every word he was saying.
“What the hell are you smoking?”
“I don’t smoke.”
“You smell like Woodstock…” He looked at me with a blank expression. “It was the music festival that happened in 1969… There were lots of hippies… Stay away from the brown acid… Is any of this ringing a bell? You know what? Never mind. I don’t want a Coke. If you want one that isn’t too girly you should buy both bottles, and give the girl one to a girl. How does that sound?”
“But I’m here alone.”
“That isn’t surprising.”
“So you’re not buying it?”
“I have coffee. You can take the other bottle home to your mother.”
“But it’s not her name.” He said.
“She will never know if you peel the label off, or just pour it into a glass for her.”
“I don’t live with her anymore.” I pictured him as a young child, looking into a refrigerator full of food, claiming there’s nothing to eat. Or, as a child complaining there is nothing to do after being given a long list of things to do.
“I don’t know what to tell you, guy. Go read a book, and have a banana.” I said. He walked away, scratching his head, and mumbling something about being thirsty.