The evening was going poorly. I had neither of my two sets of car keys, nor the means to connect with either holder of said keys. My ancient phone charger no longer works, so my lack of access to the car also meant a lack of access to the car charger, so my phone was down to its last few minutes of battery power. Technology had defeated me, and not even complicated technology at that.
Cut off from communication and filled with simmering rage, I still had stand-up comedy obligations. Yes, it was a waiting-room-shaped theater with 27-person capacity. Yes, the actual crowd would number between six and ten befuddled tourists, horrified by their surroundings and already regretting their ticket purchases. Their pained, non-laughing faces would tremble, as if to escape the mediocre comedy occurring far too close, their eyes whispering, "We could have seen Jersey Boys". But I am a performer, and a performer must constantly hone his craft.
I learned there is something more depressing than performing to a silent audience of six after the frantic host has delivered a monologue about her belief that the Queen of England should become a prostitute, a monologue that uses the word "coochie" between eight and ten times, depending on crowd reaction, then introduced me as "Jeff". Namely, traveling to the Tenderloin to find the tiny theater locked, the show cancelled without explanation.
Arriving back home, my spirit as dead as my cellular phone, I decided I could perhaps salvage the night with a workout. While 24-Hour Fitness is a misnomer on the level of The NeverEnding Story, my local branch is open until midnight. It was uncrowded at 10:45 on a Friday night, residents of my neighborhood apparently not making fitness a priority on weekends. There was only one other person on the Precors as I set to getting my elliptical on. But he was humming.
I made it through "Hey Jude" and one verse of Bob Seger's "Night Moves" before I finally snapped. Red-faced and dripping sweat, I turned and shouted, "Stop that! Right now!"
He looked chagrined, and walked over to the stationary bicycles. In retrospect, I am not sure if he thought I was telling him to stop humming, or to get off the elliptical trainer. Maybe he wasn't even consciously aware of his humming, just my crazed splotchy face, bulging eyeballs, and obvious willingness to throw down. Nevertheless, no more goddamn humming.
Denouement: Late in the evening, I got a set of keys back, then moved the car while charging up the phone. When I pulled into the new space across from my house, the car in front of me contained a couple getting it on in the front seat. I considered shouting, "Stop that! Right now!", but in fairness to the couple losing those awkward teenage blues, public sex is way less offensive than public humming. If the choice is between someone humming "Night Moves" near me, and actually working on their night moves near me, I'm going to choose the latter every time.