Parlor People Pamphlets

Hi! Whatcha doing? Oh, studying? Cool. Well, hey — welcome to the parlor.

No, I don’t work in the building. I live in apartment 810. I just saw you here in the common room — I call it the parlor — and I thought you might be new here. You just moved in? Yeah, the parlor is nice. Free coffee, three TVs.

I hang out here all the time. I’m a big “parlor person” as I like to say. It’s cool you’re enjoying it. Huh? Yeah that’s true — it’s usually nice and quiet.

Actually you know what — I’ve got some literature in the trunk of my car that you might want to take a look at. Hold on a sec.

Ok, here it is. I had these pamphlets made up, to explain about the parlor. See, I’m kind of an expert on it— I know how to unblock the ice machine when it gets stuck and I know where they hide the extra batteries for the remote. I sort of see myself as the “Parlor Ambassador.” And I know it can be a little confusing when you first get here, so I wrote these.

Here’s one. You’ll get some handy tips and guidelines for what I like to call the “Parlor People.” That is, folks who hang around the parlor, like you and me. For example, look here:

TVs: Now, you’ve got the large one there on the wall and then these two smaller sets in the corners. The good part about that is, if you want to watch “The Bachelor” but you’re a little embarrassed about it, you can sneak down about an hour before it comes on and turn the big TV to the right channel. Then leave, and when you come back at seven — boom, it’s already on. You act like you know nothing about it. The stupid show was playing when you walked in here, might as well watch a few minutes of it.

And then if you want a little extra cover, you’ve got the other TV sets — switch one of those bad boys to a college basketball game and pretend you’re watching that. It usually works for me and I’m pretty sure nobody notices. Anyway, hardly anyone ever comes in here. What’s that? Yes, exactly, it’s perfect if you’re trying to study. Let’s see, what else is in here?

Coffee machine: This is a real bugaboo of mine. See, they have the coffee machine there. Which is good. But it doesn’t take coffee grounds, it uses these little coffee packets that fit the machine. And people can be real hogs with the coffee — I don’t know what they’re doing with it — ‘cause half the time when I come down here all the coffee packets are gone.

So I’ll let you in on a little secret: a lot of times I’ll wait till Monday morning, when I know management refills the packets, and I’ll go take most of them and hide them there in the cupboard under the microwave. And I’ll hide some others in various drawers and some others over here, see, in this Yahtzee game nobody ever uses. That way, when we Parlor People want to get a coffee, we know there will at least be one. No, nobody from the building told me to, I’m just doing it on my own.

Temperature: This one is tough. Long story short: it gets cold in here in the winter. The owners turn the heat way down, especially since hardly anyone comes in here, and with these big windows, you might as well be outside. The thermostat is protected by a locked plastic box. Once I tried to break into it but I cut my hand pretty bad. The only thing I can suggest is, bundle up. I watched an NBA game in here one night in January and I forgot my parka — I almost died. It’s some serious shit.

Smoking: Hmm. Now that is one thing that, you’ll notice, there is uh, no mention of smoking in this pamphlet. No information about smoking. None. At all. Well, there is a reason for that.

Let me show you something. C’mon, follow me to my car.

C’mon!

Relax, I’ll get you back to your studying in just a second. Ok, this is my car, the Malibu. Let me pop the trunk here. Sometimes it sticks. Alright, now here we go, you’re getting the inside look. Yeah, it’s pretty much full of parlor pamphlets. I had about 10,000 printed up in the last run. Just to make sure I don’t run out. Now all these stacks here are the same as the one you’re holding in your hand. But over here, this stack?

These are different. I had these printed up special.

Here, take one. Open it up. Looks the same, right? The section on the TVs, the coffee, the thermostat. But now look at the last page, on the back, all the way at the bottom.

You see the fine print? Read that. Here, let me help.

It says: “There is no smoking in the parlor.”

But that’s not all. Look here, further down:

“However, sometimes Parlor People smoke a cigarette outside on the back patio. It doesn’t mean we smoke, exactly. Just one or two. We’re not proud of it, but it doesn’t make us bad people. We make sure to put the butts in the ash can by the door. We don’t tell people outside the building about this, and that includes the Parlor Ambassador’s girlfriend. Also don’t tell her about the special pamphlets in the trunk of the car. Thx.”

I had these printed up in secret because I can’t have that stuff about smoking in the regular pamphlets. My girlfriend will get mad at me. So let’s keep this just between us Parlor People. Hey, keep it. You’re more than welcome.

You don’t smoke? That’s cool. Me neither.

So that’s basically the main points about the parlor. I like to think of it as a community. There’s me, the lady who watches Fox News, the guy who picks his feet. You.

As I see it, we’re like a family. So let me know if there’s ever anything I can do for you. You want a coffee? I think there’s still some Colombian Roast in the Yahtzee box.

Alright, alright. I’ll let you get back to your studying, Einstein. Take a chill pill.

It’s always good to be back in the parlor. Whoa, now what’s this? Someone watching The Bachelor in here? Huh-uh, I don’t know anything about it. I just came in to watch the game — it’s a replay of Wake Forest-UTEP from last year.

(Wink.)