It’s a quarter past 5 p.m. on a Friday, “amateur hour” at Hollywood Video. Everyone’s excusing themselves, obstructing sightlines and reaching over other people’s shoulders. “Oh, The Namesake,” says one woman in a library voice, pronouncing it like a Japanese city, “I hear that’s good.”
It’s the fifth of May, Cinco de Mayo, aka “amateur hour,” at Chipotle. Anyone who’s anyone knows they murder you on the guacamole. Just bring your own in a small Tupperware container. Christ.
It’s Tuesday, 9 p.m., “amateur hour” at Wild Bill’s karaoke night. It feels like no one here has even seen Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, much less lost their virginity to Bryan Adams’ theme song.
It’s 1 p.m., “amateur hour” at Subway. The guy in front of me takes a seat near the door and tears into his Tuscan chicken. “Oh,” he says, eyes watering, “got a little overzealous on the dressing.” Us regulars roll our eyes, like, Oh, guess who watched Dawson’s Creek this morning?
It’s the 11 a.m. showing of Dawson’s Creek at my place. We have our dictionaries on our laps. My friend Rob says, “Wait a minute, Pacey ends up with Joey?” and I’m like, “What is this, ‘amateur hour’?”
It’s 8 a.m., the Monday after Memorial Day, “amateur hour” at open registration for Housatonic Community College’s summer term. This lady in front of me, leaning on her walker, has her forms all backwards and only brought a copy of her birth certificate when everyone knows you need the real deal, notarized and everything, and I’m thinking, Gail, you were my lab partner all last semester, didn’t you learn anything?
It’s Saturday night at the bar, and they forgot to put a sign out front that says FUCKING AMATEUR HOUR: ALL DRINKS WITH FUCKING ORANGE SODA HALF-PRICE.
Sunday morning at the free clinic. It’s always “amateur hour” here. Waiting in line it’s all I can do to keep from screaming, Get over yourself! Describe your discharge!
It’s Sunday afternoon at the Friendly’s down the street from the free clinic. “Amateur hour.” Obviously you go Dutch on the entrees and then the man takes care of the sundaes.
It’s the second Friday of the month, “amateur hour” at the unemployment office. The guy behind me asks me who the Whalers are and I say, “They were a fucking hockey team, are you kidding me?” I can’t help but grin later when I overhear the clerk telling him, “No, your ID number is not the same as your Social Security number.” Idiot.
Every Wednesday at 3 p.m. is without fail, “amateur hour” here at the water fountain at the Department of Parole and Probation. I’m sitting in the lobby, taking a sip from my Nalgene, thinking, You know you’re gonna have to whizz in a cup, why not save yourself the hassle and bring your own water?