Thursday, December 18, 2008

The 80's and early 90's called, and they want you to quit being so weird.

We rent a movie in Duluth!

Predictably, there are no Redboxes in Duluth, so we head to the closest local establishment. It's got one of those stupid names that tells you the owner didn't even attempt to be clever, which is why the DNB calls it variations on Bob's Movies, Bill's Movies, or Joe's Movies, always substituting a new generic, one-syllable man-name.

As we enter, we watch a woman return a movie on VHS. We look at each other.

"Oh this is going to be awesome," the DNB says. He's not being entirely sarcastic.

We browse the new releases on, thankfully, DVD, while a woman with giant 80's hair follows behind us. She has a sweatshirt tied around her waist, which is especially fetching given the fact that she is ALREADY WEARING A SWEATSHIRT. And neither have a hood, as if you had to ask.

We choose our movies and wait in line. The clerk has longish hair. He's white and doughy looking, and takes his job remarkably seriously, shouting recommendations across the store to other customers.

"Barbie?" he asks the girl in front of us, looking at her credit card. "Like the doll?"

"Yes," she replies. He's got the card in front of him, so we're all confused about why he asked.

"I had a friend whose last name was 'Barby,' with a Y. German name," he comments. "I guess her grandpa witnessed the Nuremberg hangings or something."

"Oh," the girl says, looking away.

I look at the DNB, my eyes wide. Is this happening??

"Yeah, her dad was a Nazi, and her mother was Jewish. Dude, that would totally give you self-esteem issues."

The guy doesn't know when to quit, and the girl hurries away with her movie. We step up and as the clerk rings us up, he redirects his attention to the two guys in line right behind us, who are clutching anime movies like treasures.

"Is this one any good?" one of the Anime Guys asks the clerk, holding out his prize.

The clerk peers at the title. "Oh yeah, that one's good."

"Ok, 'cause I really liked Akira, so . . ."

"Dude, you should check out Princess Mononoke. Or Kodocha. Kodocha is kind of a girly movie, but I don't care because it's really awesome. People think anime is dumb because it's like, cartoon, but it's really totally deep."

He hands me my receipt, and we walk to the car. The two Anime Guys leave the store, talking over each other about whether Yubaba could take down San.

"Don't they just LOOK like they'd like anime?" I ask. It's 2pm on a Monday.

"Nazi war hangings and Princess Mononoke," the DNB sighs happily. "Only at Rick's Movies."