Coffee Shop Doughnut Girl
Near my apartment there is a coffee shop that is famous (at least to me) for their delicious doughnuts—which are advertised as being AS BIG AS YOUR FACE—so every Sunday before work I stop in and grab one. Recently, right after I was done ordering, a girl walked in and asked for a coffee and a glazed doughnut—the last glazed doughnut, that is—and as she was paying the unspeakable happened: the doughnut fell off the counter and while in midair it fell out of the little bag it was in and then SMACK right onto the floor. We all looked on horrified as she quickly picked it up, and a sense of panic started to fill the room. The baristas tried to offer her another doughnut, but alas, it was the LAST one! What happened next was the best thing I have ever witnessed in my life. She asked. “Well, is your floor clean?” to which the baristas replied, “We clean it every morning,” and she said, “Don’t judge me,” and I said, “I am only judging you BETTER now because you are going to eat it.” We all had a good laugh about it and cheered her on for her A+ attitude. She went outside and sat on the bench and ate her doughnut and drank her coffee and I give her five stars for knowing that a good doughnut is a terrible thing to waste. —Laia

Laughing Thumb Lady
All best people-review stories come from Six Flags. Remember Anaheed’s NUTS NUTS NUTS story? Once I was there in the bathroom stall getting ready to relieve myself (a thing which I still don’t totally understanding as meaning “to pee” but whatever), and said to my friends who were waiting for me, “Crap, guys, I’m wearing a one-piece!” I guess I was annoyed because it’s annoying when you have to pee and you have to basically take off your whole swimsuit? LIFE IS HARD. Anyway, right after I say this, I hear through the stall wall next to me a horrendous laugh, which I can only describe by asking you to imagine a giant thumb melting while trying to slurp spaghetti while chuckling at a thing a co-worker said earlier that day at Being A Thumb Work. The laugher left her stall before I got the chance to get out—another thing I imagine she enjoyed about my misery is that she would have time to make a getaway after LAUGHING AT IT—but my friends say she was most definitely a grownup and also didn’t wash her hands. She gets four stars, because I would totally laugh at someone for being such a whiny annoyance too, but I wouldn’t flee the scene and I would definitely wash my hands first. —Tavi

Dancing Dude at a Show
I went to see my friend’s band play last Friday night, and the room, at first, was kind of quiet, because people were still shuffling around and doing that head-nod thing they do when they’re trying to rev the rest of their body up enough to actually move it to the dance floor. Eventually a bunch of people pushed toward the band and began dancing around and yelling or whatever, but one dude, who was probably 25-30 years older than everyone else, just shut everyone else down as soon as he hit the floor, jumping and kicking and spinning and smiling and FEELING IT CAPITAL F CAPITAL I in a punk-rock display that was miles above everyone else’s dumb little “your band is cool” shimmy. I suddenly recognized him as the sweet, mild-mannered guy who runs a store in town. Whenever I’ve seen him at his job, he’s been in “have a nice day” mode, but on this night, he was in his own rock-out universe and I LOVED him, because he was the epitome of someone just going to a show to kick that shit out and have some fun. Also? He was wearing a shirt that said Old Guys Rock. You know when you recognize the secret side of someone, and you realize that they’ve been around far longer than you have, and have more stories and more nights out and more dance moves and they don’t intend to slow it down anytime soon? That is an awesome thing to see. “Look at that dude,” one of my friends said, pointing in the dancer’s direction. “That dude kind of rules.” Yup. —Pixie

Tan Man
I knew it was officially summer when I was biking around the lake last week and saw TAN MAN. He is tanned to an extreme degree like the New Jersey mom who was recently accused of taking her five-year-old daughter to a tanning booth. However, I am fairly certain that TAN MAN does most of his tanning the natural way, by biking around the city barely clothed. He wears neon-pink swimming trunks and has long tousled bleach-blonde hair, surely engineered to accentuate his tan. I give TAN MAN 5 stars for enjoying the short summers we have in Minnesota to the fullest, but remove one for putting himself at such a high risk for skin cancer! —Kelly

My Bra Fitter
This is a shout-out to the woman who conducted my first bra fitting in years. I don’t think we even exchanged names. With her swiftness and knowledge, she was like some kind of bra magician. Because let me tell you, I had been wearing the wrong bras. Something that could have been embarrassing and uncomfortable was worth it for the wonderful knowledge she gifted to me that day. Like, I may be a 30FF, but that is still in the medium section of bras! She reassured me with her expertise. She was awash with bra and boob knowledge, and that puts her high up in society in my eyes. Thank you, kind bra fitter lady! I am forever indebted to you. Or at least until my next bra fitting. —Naomi

Old Man on the the Champs-Élysées
Last week, I went to Paris for the first time, and it was beautiful and old and overwhelming in many ways, one of which was the incompetent feeling of exploring such an incredible city with only the smallest workable French vocabulary. Many people didn’t seem to like this, despite the amount of times I would sputter “JE SUIS DESOLÉE” after butchering yet another phrase. I was visiting the Champs-Élysées on the third or fourth day of my trip, and I had let people’s dirty looks get to me a little. While I should have held my head up high and continued to at least TRY to speak French, albeit in my weird, slurring pan-European accent that sounds like it belongs to the offspring of Pepé le Pew and Super Mario, I minced around silently instead, responding to people with mute shakes of the head and so on, because that totally isn’t a weirder way to communicate at all. I walked into one small shop that sold scarves and other accessories, the proprietor of which was a man who looked to be 80-plus years old. He sagged into an armchair near the door, but it was clear from the way the other employees deferred to him that he had the run of the place. As I walked in and very quietly looked around, he asked in French where I was from. “Je vis à New York City,” I carefully responded, hoping that he wouldn’t roll his eyes when he heard my poorly pronounced answer. Instead, he smiled and made polite conversation for another minute or so. I left after browsing a little, my French-confidence slightly elevated. Since I had to wait for friends to come out of a nearby shop, I stalled on the block for a few moments. All of a sudden, I saw the man slowly approaching me with a white paper bag in his hands. When he reached me, he handed it over and said in English, “I wanted you to go home with a souvenir,” then walked away as I called out, “Thanks,” dumbfounded. I opened the bag and found a gorgeous black, white, and gold scarf with locks, chains and keys all over it, which I proceeded to wear wrapped around my head like some babe protecting her hair in a convertible for the rest of the week. Five stars for this guy for renewing my desire to improve my French unabashedly, as well as for giving me a lovely scarf and an even better memory. —Amy Rose

My Friend
A close friend of mine has an alter ego named Zora. Her name is Zora because that’s the name on the fake Croatian ID that my friend uses to get into 21+ shows. While Zora may have originally been imagined for sneaky purposes, she has taken on a life of her own. Zora is my friend’s wild party-girl European double, and at any mention of the name Zora in the real world, she gets very excited. She works in the gift shop of a science museum, and was at the cash register one day when a woman approached to be rung up. She was a middle school teacher, she said, and was purchasing a few books for her class, one of which included the name Zora in the title. My friend got all excited and felt the urge to say something…but what? Somehow, telling a middle school teacher that the book she is about to buy has the same name as your fake ID doesn’t seem appropriate. Instead, my friend blurted out, “ZORA! That’s my…that’s my little sister’s name.” The teacher’s face lit up. She asked my friend how old her “sister” was. My friend said 16, conveniently too old to enjoy a children’s book—but something had been sparked in this teacher, who told my friend she’d be right back. She returned with another copy of the Zora book. With a smile, she said, “Tell your sister that a teacher of 37 years wants her to keep learning.” Fake-Zora had no choice but to accept this kind gift from the nice lady she had lied to. My friend gets two stars because she came home after work with this book in hand and I asked her to explain, then I got this story, setting off the most powerful five minutes of laughter I have produced in a long time. She gets no more because it is kind of a sad story. —Dylan

Know-It-All at a Cindy Sherman Show
Last month Tavi, Rivkah, their dad, Lauren, and I went to see the Cindy Sherman show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Do you know Cindy Sherman’s stuff? You can look at a little bit of it here. She’s a photographer who takes pictures of herself embodying different personae, and the resulting images give you the sensation of spying on some character’s private moment, making that normally two-dimensional character into someone with a complicated inner life that you feel weird intruding upon. By exaggerating these people, Cindy grants them humanity. Suddenly you can’t make generalizations about a pinup or a tanorexic cheerleader or a grande dame. But that didn’t stop this one guy who was walking behind me and Tavs and Rivks for a while. He did not hesitate to tell his female companion what she was looking at, in case she was tooooooo stupid to understand: he said, verbatim, “It’s all about woman as victim slash sex object.” OH REALLY, IS THAT WHAT IT IS “ALL ABOUT,” MORON? I give this guy zero stars for being bossy and wrong, but then I begrudge him one star for going to a Cindy Sherman show in the first place. —Anaheed

My Friend Charlie’s Mom (Mum)
IMPORTANT BACKGROUND INFORMATION: I have both a British friend on my improv team named Charlie whom I love because he’s crazy easy to just hang out with, and a dark apartment in a complex called “Carolina” that I hate because it doesn’t have Wifi or gas, so I can’t internet or cook. Charlie has both an awesome and hilarious personality and an awesome and hilarious giant family. His awesome and hilarious giant family has a GORGEOUS home and welcoming personalities. Thus, I am there, like, ALL the time. Seriously. SO MUCH of the time. In a span of two weeks, I managed to spend nine days at their house. And when I say “days,” I don’t mean we hung out for an hour or two each time. I mean eight hours a day, comprising two meals and at least one movie or television marathon. Two of those days happened in a row, because I ended up drinking wine and chatting too late to drive home, so his family fixed me a bed. Occasionally Charlie had to leave to go do some standup, and I just sort of hung out at the house, cleaning up after dinner or jumping on the trampoline with his brother or whatever. This seems like a glowing review of Charlie, or maybe an abstract “person” review of the house as a living thing (I AM in college, I could do it), but I now come to the focus of my review: Charlie’s mom. OR SHOULD I SAY, “MUM”?! I shouldn’t, I’m not British (USA! USA! USA!). Although I am extremely mild-mannered and have decent hygiene, I was still a guest in her home. She did not have to be happy about my being there. But she was so nice, you guys! SO NICE! Even better, she was really, sincerely OK with my basically living in her house. We chatted! We joked! She alerted me when I had some rice in my hair and gently asked Charlie and me to quiet down when we were talking too loudly in the kitchen. It’s really cool and—fuck, I’ll say it—beautiful when someone can just accept another human being into their home seamlessly. It shows a certain compassion and level-headedness to not let yourself be flustered or upset by a whole new PERSON in whatever order you’ve worked to establish. AND FOR THAT, Charlie’s mom, I give you ALL THE STARS IN THE WORLD. But for the sake of space, let’s make it five. —Shelby
P.S. SUPER IMPORTANT BONUS STAR because when I woke up, in their home, for the 25TH HOUR STRAIGHT, Charlie’s mom greeted me with: “Good morning. Did Charlie make you tea? If you saw someone creeping around your bed this morning, it was the termite man—as in, the man to exterminate termites, not some sort of half-man, half-termite. I forgot he was coming today! Charlie better have made you tea.” —Shelby

Gold Dust Woman
I was on my way home from a work meeting a couple of weeks ago—it wasn’t that late, but it definitely wasn’t early. While transferring from the subway to the bus, I crossed paths with an older woman; it’s hard to say her exact age, but her face was lined and her frizzy bob was turning gray. What caught my attention was her outfit: a gold-brimmed hat with appliquéd gold flowers, gold sunglasses, gold purse, gold bomber jacket, gold flats. They were all different shades of gold, too. I didn’t know if she was intentionally trying to coordinate, or if her whole wardrobe just happened to be blessed by King Midas. The only non-gold aspect of her outfit were her muted green snakeskin pants, though as I passed her on the walkway I noticed said pants were flecked with sparkles. She sat down on the bench near her stop, unzipped part of her jacket, and I learned that her pants were actually part of a jumpsuit, connecting to a snakeskin shirt. I expected her to burst into sparkly-gold flames and rise from the ashes like a phoenix before the bus came, but she did no such thing. Because of this, I’m only giving her four stars. —Anna

My Roommate
My apartment is about six blocks from this cute manmade lake that people like to run around; sometimes my roommate and I are those people. One afternoon, we were doing our warm-up jog through the neighborhood. It was trash day, so the cans were out on the curb. Leaning against one recycling bin was a cheap acoustic guitar, albeit a totally functioning one with all of its strings in tact. My roommate sees it and, without breaking stride, picks it up and continues to run with this guitar in hand. Well, first in hand, then across the body, then over the shoulder…for our entire three-mile run around the lake. We had gangs of large, intimidating men stop us, pleading, “Please, baby, play us a song!” Children in strollers pointed. Geese flew from our path. Normal people gave quizzical looks. Most noticeably, my roommate was gleeful at her new acquisition of a free guitar, and ran like a giddy schoolgirl all the way home. Five stars because it was too awesome to ever be embarrassing. —Dylan