Archive for September 9, 2001

Teaneck, NJ (Finish What I Started?)

September 9, 2001 Leave a comment

I’ve had a few people ask me what the deal was with the small heads remark. That’s a good question, because although I used it within my subject, I failed to actually say what I meant by that, so I guess I had better get to it.

So I believe that when I left you, I was just about to try and kill a few hours in Chapel Hill. Thanks to a couple of guys at the Video Store/Newsstand the night before, I knew a couple of things I had to check out. One was Cerebral Hobbies, a game store, and the other was Second Foundation, a comic book/science fiction store. The AAA book said the best thing in town was the Planetarium, so I decided to start there.

I parked in one of the “Permit Required” spaces because a sign said “Get Permit at Ticket Office” and since I planned to see a show, I should be able to get a permit. I went inside, inquired about the show schedule and found out they don’t run public shows during the day in the autumn as they use it for school and community groups. Autumn? It’s summer . . . well I suppose they mean during the fall semester, and school was in session. There was a bus in the parking lot, so it is possible that there was some group seeing a show. I didn’t ask that, but I did ask if I could have a parking permit. I was given one, so I could leave my car there all day. So shopping I went!

First stop was the game store, which was below the Subway in a little city mall. You go down the stairs to the mildewy floor and enter the store. The shop has some tables set up for gaming, some computers for internet gaming, a very good selection of board games, RPGs, CCGs, as well as a rack of gaming related t-shirts. I saw a couple I liked and they were even in my size! Seems like everything they carried they had in large sizes. There was one particular shirt I wanted to buy for someone (I refrain from saying what it is in case I find it later) who is quite a bit smaller than XXL, but they only had it in XXL. You see, they have learned from experience that gaming people tend to be XL and XXL. Very smart – I can’t imagine they would move too many mediums.

Picked up a couple of card games there and moved on to Second Foundation. But wait, what’s this next door? A CD store? Yes, next door is Back Door CDs, perhaps the world’s smallest CD store. Yet crammed into a space the size of most hotel bathrooms was about 6000 CDs. One or two at a time can browse unless they are three particularly slim people. Everything was $1 off, and the owner was in the mood to negotiate. I looked at this three CD Elvis boxed set and next thing I knew, the owner was trying to negotiate the price. I was trying hard to explain that I just wasn’t interested, but he wasn’t buying it. Of course neither was I, so it was time to move on.

Next stop, Second Foundation. Here is the classic comic book/science fiction/toy shop combination – no question here, of course I’m going to like the place. Right? Well, I’m not sure. The store was set up in a mildly confusing manner. There’s a certain intuitive quality to this kind of store – new comics here, back issues there, graphic novels somewhere else. But this store was really complicated – some new comics in the shelves, some on a rack, some in a box on the counter. Graphic novels in a few places – science fiction hardcovers sorted into expensive authors and not expensive authors or at least that’s how it seemed to me. Don’t get me wrong – here was a store full of the stuff I dig, but laid out in such a way that made it difficult to find what I may have wanted. Therefore I did only a small amount of browsing before picking up a couple of comics and heading out.

I thought that I should get some sort of UNC merchandise and I found that there is no shortage of places to do this along Franklin Street, the main drag next to campus. I hunted around a bit and found this baseball hat I really liked – it was dark blue with light blue NC on the front and the little tarheel footprint logo on the back. These were fitted hats, which are my favorite. However, this store only had between 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 for sizes. It’s not particularly common for stores to have my size (7 7/8), but they usually have 7 3/4 (just right but no room for shrinkage) or 8 (just way too big). Undaunted, I moved onto another store. They also had 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 and no larger. They told me they don’t think they come any bigger. Seems unlikely, so I moved onto the third and final store on this block. Same small head sizes there! What is it with Tar Heel hats and small sizes? This is the beginning of the school year, after all. You’d think they would have all the sizes available. So there you have it, why I said that Tar Heels have small heads. I hope it wasn’t TOO much of a letdown.

Unfortunately there was still about an hour and a half before I was going to pick up Ben at school. So I decided to go to Jiffy Lube. Although this was a very nice Jiffy Lube with internet terminals, a clean bathroom, nice vending machines – it was not, however, a very Jiffy Lube. So two hours later I left Jiffy Lube, already having missed the pickup time and therefore dooming Ben to ride the bus. So I went back to the apartment, and heck, I had beat Ben! Luckily I had a couple of comic books to read, so I sat on the welcome mat and read until Ben came home.

Then I wrote the last journal entry, watched the Simpsons (for the first time since I had left California and it was one of my favorite episodes – the one where we hear the tale of how Lisa got her saxamaphone), went grocery shopping, had dinner and finally returned home so that Ben could make some brownies. Then it was off to the airport to pick up Jen and her best friend Melinda, although not in that order. Melinda’s plane got in at 10:30, so we had an hour and a half or so to kill in the airport. This is a pretty boring airport at that time of the night – everything was closed. The bookstore had an actual book vending machine, though, and I really wanted to buy a book out of there, just because it was there, but there was no book in the inventory worthy of being bought by me. So we found a collection of sections of newspapers lying around and waited by Jen’s plane. Couldn’t they keep a bar open until midnight?

Next morning we went to brunch at a restaurant near campus, hung out for a bit longer and then I headed out at around 2 oclock. At around 7:30 I found myself just south of Baltimore and although I could have stopped there, I decided to finish the drive and just head all the way up here to Teaneck on Friday night. This way we would have plenty of time to get to Manhattan for Saturday’s viewing of Apocalypse Now Redux and the Yes concert at Radio City. So I arrived at Aaron’s at about 11, hung out with him and his parents (who were staying over on their way to Delaware for a wedding), then stayed up until sometime resembling 3AM playing video games.

And when the next entry hits, you’ll read about day one in New York City.

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