Simple Pleasures by Lawrence Von Haelstrom

Hey, thanks for inviting me over to hang out for a bit. You know, when you live in the big city it can be hard to meet people with similar interests. I’m just a man of simple pleasures, as they say. Really, all I need for a nice evening is some good music, a comfortable chair, and perhaps a nice cup of coffee. You know what I’m talking about? Yeah, I know, I think we’re cut from the same cloth. Simple things, right? I’m too old to get hung up acting cool and all that. That business gets way too complicated. Simple, simple, simple, right? I can see we’re going to get along great.

Yeah, why don’t you put some music on, that would be awesome. Wait, is that an iPod? Don’t tell me we’re going to listen to some digital approximation of music, are we? No, no, I have to listen to the real thing. Don’t you have any vinyl? Well, then do you at least have some actual CDs? If it has to be digital at least let it be uncompressed audio. Is this an EMF CD? What, did you stop buying music when you were 19? Unbelievable is right. I guess the blue Beatles best-of CD will be fine. You really should consider buying the remastered version. Wait, are those Bose speakers? Listen, it’s really no big deal if you just stay with stock speakers. Like I said, I’m all about being simple. But you’re just throwing money away on Bose. If you’re going to pay extra cash, then get something worth buying like Westlake Audio. And really, if you’re just going to use an iPod, you might as well just run it through some old telephone speakers. You won’t notice any difference. Here’s rule of thumb: Don’t buy any audio equipment that advertises on talk radio.

Okay, that’s great. Strawberry Fields Forever and all that. May I have a seat? Oh, that’s an imitation Eames isn’t it. Oh, sorry, I don’t mean to laugh, it’s just that whenever someone wants to look sophisticated with their furniture they just go straight to Eames–like he was the only mid-century designer or something. Look, it doesn’t take much thought to say you like Eames, does it? Sure, I like him, too, but doesn’t everyone? Having one of his pieces really says nothing about your taste, it just says “I want to look all urban-retro sophisticated but I really have no clue what that means.” Really, isn’t the entire line of Target furniture imitation Eames? I would be much more impressed with an Eero Aarino or Arne Jacobsen. Anyway, it’s not too bad, I guess.

Oh, yes, coffee would be awesome. As I said, music, a comfortable chair and some coffee is all I need to be happy. What kind of coffee? Oh, it doesn’t matter. Whatever you have. What kind of grounds? Oh, like I can really tell the difference in how coarse the grounds are. French roast, dark roast? Drip, French Press? Jesus Christ, I don’t know, I just want some damn coffee. If it’s hot and doesn’t taste like an old thermos, it’s fine. Why do you need to make it so complicated? I thought you said you liked simple things. You’re obviously out of your mind. You really have a preference in how its ground? How much did you spend on that grinder anyway? Don’t tell me you’re one of those assholes who thinks they can tell what latitude and elevation their damn coffee beans came from.

I can’t believe how complicated you can make things. It’s like if no one can follow all of your stupid little rules about coffee, they’re not worthy of hanging out with you. Look, I better get going. Thanks for inviting me over, but I just remembered I had a book I wanted to finish. Oh, you do too? Let me guess, “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” right? Yeah, it figures.


Lawrence von Haelstrom is a former Junior Bull Roping color analyst and street magician tipper.