Friday, August 24, 2012

Bobbing in Coffee

My Grandpa once told me a story about a time he visited the local Dairy Queen. As he was waiting to place his order, a lady came up to the counter to complain about her coffee.

"Sir," she said to the server, "my coffee is cold. Will you please fix a fresh pot?"

"Oh no, ma'am, you must be mistaken. We just made this pot a little bit ago. It should still be hot."

"Yes, I'm sure you did, but the fact remains: my coffee is cold and I would like a new cup."

"But ma'am, there is no possible way for your cup of coffee to be cold. I made the pot myself, and it wasn't that long ago. I assure you, it's hot."

Grandpa was watching this conversation between server and customer while waiting for his burger. He was astounded by the young man's persistence, but couldn't help but think that he was as daft as a two bob watch (his words, not mine).

The next thing Grandpa noticed was that the customer had actually placed her finger directly into the cup of coffee and was on the verge of yelling, "Sir, make me a new cup of coffee. This is cold!"

I don't know how many times they went around until another worker came to the counter and asked what the altercation was all about. Both of them erupted into their own story about the coffee and how it was hot or cold respectively.

The other worker looked incredulously at her two-bobbed co-worker, shook her head and made a new pot of coffee, apologizing profusely to the customer for her co-worker's daftness.

Not long before this scene happened, I had been an employee of the fine establishment. The entire time I worked there, we brewed strictly Folgers coffee. Replacing a cold cup of Folgers with a hot one, in my opinion, doesn't enhance the taste in the least. It seems that the customer was a few bobs short of a watch herself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Sound of Triumph

Yesterday was the first day that I ate at the cafeteria in the bank where I work. I had no idea what I was doing. I had been told that one can purchase two sides of vegetables rather than ordering the entree, but I didn't see where the sides where. I started panicking because it was almost my turn in the queue. There were a lot of people piling up behind me, so I had to make a decision. I couldn't wait anymore. The chef was looking at me. "What'll it be, bub?!" Oh no! "Uh...I'll...I'll have the Rachel sandwich!"

I said it so fast and loud that the kitchen hushed for a moment. I'm sure my neck turned scarlet. I quickly looked at the floor and ignored everyone until someone tapped my shoulder.

"Hey, she didn't hear you. What are you ordering?"

I said it again, quieter this time, and she asked if I wanted cheese. Yeah, sure.

As I watched her prepare my sandwich, I started thinking about my restrictive diet. I don't eat meat. I don't eat dairy. If it weren't for eggs, I'd be vegan, really. Then I watched her smother my rye bread with 1000 Island dressing. She was getting ready to put the cheese on my sandwich when I realized that I have to be at work for at least another 4 hours. How will I survive if I eat a bunch of food that my body will surely reject?

"May I retract my request for cheese?"


"No cheese, please."

"Oh, sure."

I got my sandwich. It came with fries, which I was not expecting. I love fries. I went to pay for it. Another line of people who knew how to work the system. I noticed they all were paying cash. Interesting. What a different mindset we live in. I can't imagine carrying cash with me when I can just use my card. Oh well. Different strokes, am I right? Here you go, nice cashier lady. You take my card and I'll take my food.

"We don't accept cards here."

That explains the different mindset crap. And I thought I was being so philosophical.

I set my food down and went running to the ATM. I come back and wait in line again. I got my food and finally I made it to the river - my favorite lunch spot.

I opened my box of food hesitantly. Maybe I shouldn't have ordered this. I don't know how my body will react to it, and I don't want to spend the rest of my shift...shall we say, "indisposed"?

Well, I had forgotten my lunch that morning, so I needed to eat something. I wasn't able to take my time through the cafeteria, so there I was, sitting next to the river with a sandwich of meat and dairy-based sauce. I dove in head first.

My first sensation was delicious sauerkraut exploding over my taste buds. Then the thousand island came to mix a gentle harmony climaxing to the victorious arrival of hot grilled turkey. It was intoxicating. I couldn't help noticing my anxiety melt into a small, pitiful form of loss. How have I lived all summer without eating animals and their byproducts?

I ate fast. I couldn't look up or take my time to savor it. It was too delicious to wait. I could look at the river later; right now Brother Bear is eating!

As usual, I was reminded why I make the dietary choices I do after eating said lunch. There are things that my stomach and taste buds just will not agree on, and my stomach almost always wins the the battle. Yesterday my taste buds were rewarded for their persistance with the delights of meat and dairy. In nearly no time at all, my stomach lashed back in avengence.

Sweet, sweet vengence.


Segways. I've noted in past posts how much enjoyment I get from making fun of them.

I have thought in the past that I should probably take a Segway tour before I pick on them, but then I thought about my dignity and decided I should just make fun of them. Most things deserve a benefit of the doubt. Not all.

The first thing I think of when I see a Segway is GOB from Arrested Developement who is rarely off of his Segway. He conducts himself in such a shameful manner which gives the impression that Segway drivers are conceited, arrogant (redundency empowers the insult) jerks who only come down from their high horse (or wheels) for a free chocolate covered treat from the banana stand - in which there is always money.

I also cannot help but think of the owner of the Segway company who died in a freak accident on one of his own machines. These "scooters" are not here to help the world get from one place to another. They are here to take over the world one multi-millionaire at a time.

"Help the world get from one place to another"? That's an interesting statement. These wheelie-pods are 6 inches and a heart attack away from walking. Here's a novel idea: bikes. Sometimes you can rest while still moving forward, yet still get some of that much recommended physical activity.

Dana and I were at a park on Sunday watching not one, but two Segway tours go by us. Both groups had nearly 30 tourists brimming with pride and glee as they sped through the park in a single file line. I shouldn't have stared, but they were just as much a spectacle to ogle at as the Mississippi, Stone Arch Bridge or downtown skyline.

The faces were rather fun to interpret, too. There was an older woman who looked like whe was having the time of her life. Her discontented husband looked like he'd rather have stayed downtown to find another corn dog to smother in ketchup. It looked as if they had come to a compromise. He must have told her that he would be willing to go on one of those stupid tours she had been talking about for months before the trip to Minneapolis as long as he didn't have to walk. He would be willing to take a bus, train, horse and buggy - anything but walking. But he woke up that morning to his beaming bride holding a brochure and two tickets to a Segway tour.

"That's not what I meant!"

"Doesn't matter! You said anything but walking. We're not walking, dear, so get your shoes on. It's starts in an hour!"

Now that I think about it, her smile may have had a touch of smugness in it.

There was a small family, too. Two parents, two little girls and an early-high-school-aged boy. A high school boy on a Segway tour with his parents and little sisters. Imagine his face. Moving on.

The tour guides had smiles plastered on their faces like a row of flight attendants thanking their passengers for flying Segway Air. I could see a hint of stress behind their eyes, though. They knew that the highly-read man wearing an archaeologist's hat was going to continue his barrage of questions until the last of the procession had parked his or her shiny Segway and the tour security had ushered the questioner off the premises.

"This is what I have to look forward to until the end of the summer. God help us."

If cleanliness is next to godliness, Segway-ness is next to laziness. It's probably the only time that standing will require a helmet. At least I hope it is.