Lots of people walk into the store every day. The majority have crushingly dull things to say by way of explaining their helpless low-grade consumerist lives ("no, Music Hall of Williamsburg is my favorite club"; "do you have Ratatat/Bon Iver/spoon-fed dog-puke-du-jour on vinyl," &c.), but a few have interesting stories, and they're usually the ones who don't volunteer them. I had to dig a bit with Anna and Renars, and the rabbit hole got kinda hysterically, awesomely deep.
They walked in at peak-boil of the record-melting afternoon today, and in accented but very good, crisply enunciated English, Anna asked to buy Sonic Youth tickets. She also asked if I had any information about the opening acts, but before I could say, her gentleman associate Renars asked, "Is it Magik Markers"? Which would be a good guess under any circumstances but too weird to let slide here, because no they were not on that bill in August but they are playing tonight at Shea Stadium (and last night at Cameo), and they are the best band on earth right now, so hey. Ask why he asked that and then tell them the deal. Cause maybe they half knew it already -- you know the way people get part of something right these days, Internet and all that mess.
Well they were shocked at this news in the best way, so I was happy to show them a map of where Shea is, tell them openers &c. I asked where they were visiting from. Latvia! Cool. Anna proceeded to explain that they knew the band, and what a great surprise that they would get to see them. How do they know the band, oh from some festival over there. And I'm not quite sure what flicked the gates open, but I think Anna dropped an arcane comment like, the only reason she was in the store was because of a Twix bar. Which I couldn't let alone, and so she proceeded to tell an increasingly bizarre story about their trip to NYC, which this was the first day of. She had been grocery shopping one day in Riga when a man rushed past her and knocked her into a display of discounted vodka bottles (I think she said they were flavored, which explains the discount). She stood in horror as one bottle knocked over the next, and her English is good enough for her to say "like dominoes," and suddenly she was standing among several (hundred?) smashed bottles and I guess a lot of liquor. One of those situations, you've had them.
A store employee told her to go to the register and it would be okay, or something -- you can imagine her state of mind at the time -- and she completely forgot her groceries and rushed to the counter. On the way, impulse told her to grab something to buy. Twix bar got grabbed. Fuzzy about the rest of the encounter at the register, but inside was a form for a contest, win a bunch of Twix bars she thought it was. I presume she entered. Some months later she said she was on Friendster -- and this was the only hint Anna and Renars might not be from, like, the west West -- and a bunch of people she didn't know were asking her on Friendster how much chocolate she had needed to buy/eat in order to win. Win what? Wow, a bunch of candy bars, right? No, there was a bigger prize: a trip to Tokyo. Her shame-Twix was the winner; her name had been announced before Twix of Latvia, Corp. could inform her.
This trip to Tokyo was apparently all booked and ready when the massive earthquake and tsunami hit. Anna didn't mention this as if it were an inconvenience or anything callous like that, for the record.
As any sane people would, when told they weren't going to Tokyo they tried to get whatever cash-value instead. Nope, they had to pick a trip somewhere, okay United States. Anna called the random discovery of a Magik Markers show -- her and Renars haven't seen them play in a few years so I'm bringing a bag for them to carry their brains home in -- the latest little chapter in the trail of Fate-moves, and she doesn't think it's done with them yet. I'm going to buy them cheap beers at the show tonight (doesn't qualify as Fate, I'm pretty sure), and you should do the same if you see them at the Sonic Youth show on the Waterfront.