Reflections and Inflections

August 4, 2006 at 1:09 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | 1 Comment
  I had an idea to write about last night.  Like so many things, ideas are fleeting.  I tried to recover it, and it dissapated in the wind like a fart.  I sought to recover it, I sniffed, I asked another, "Did you smell that?"
  Alas, it was gone.
  As I sit here, I was going to try to force it, or any idea to come to my mind.  But it came to my mind my original theme for my blog is that it is a journal, past, present, and future.
  I have written about the past, of course.  Trying to recount the stories and anecdotes of my various foodservice experiences, as well as just my past, and growing up in general.
  And the present crept into my writing, slowly, like a waterstain on the ceiling below the upstairs bathroom.  Soon it is there, it is big, and no one can remember when it wasn’t there.
  But how would I write about the future?  Do I know what is going to happen?  No.  No one does.  It is the great unknown.  I know what I want to happen.  Things almost never happen the way you want them, and I am so leery to the point of paranoia to write about what I want to happen.
  But you have read, you have seen, and you can surmise from what I have written what it is that I desire to come to pass.  Do you know that it seems whenever I talk about something, it doesn’t happen?  Is it just me?  The nature of the universe is such that if it is something I really want, I never talk about it at all.
  Thusly my quandry.
  If it seems to you that I am loudly, boldy, obviously avoiding the subject–I am.  But for a reason.  I want so much, I love so much, I care, I need, I feel. .. .so much . .. .that I can’t, I just can’t make any predictions.  Anything I say will make anything I want not be.
  But as it unfolds, thusly will I relate it unto you.
  In the afterglow, I feel like talking, and The Woman I Love looks upon me with adoring eyes (or perhaps sleepy; sometimes it is hard to tell) and urges me to continue.  Like a meandering stream, I babble on. . .
  Back in the early nineties, I was how old?  Late 20’s?  I guess I was still young and hip back then.  Alot of the guys I hung out with were even younger, and I fit right in because of my exceptional immaturity.  We, as young guys, would latch on to things as catch phrases, and they would only make sense to us, but we would use them in front of other people who would not "get" them, making them even funnier for us.  We would run them into the ground.
  There is a phrase I use even now, still, after over 15 years.  Ed, a young driver, cool guy, related this story:
  "So I’m in the drive-thru at Micky-D’s right?  I get my food, and as I pull off, I look in the bag, and they gave me the wrong sandwich.  I pull over and go inside, take the bag, and wait at the counter for several minutes before some young punk comes up, and I tell him, ‘Hey, this is supposed to be a quarter pounder, you gave me a regular cheeseburger.’
  "So he says, ‘ ‘Aight.  Hode up, dog.’  Then he goes to take care of it, and I don’t see anybody for, like ten minutes.  I’m startin’ to look around for a manager or somethin, and then the same li’l dude finally comes out, and he’s got a bag, and he’s lookin for me, and he says, ‘Sir!  Sir!  Here go your sammich.’"
  So we started to use that for everything.  A driver is waiting for a pizza, I hand it to him and say "Here go your sammich."  When they would check out at night and hand me their money, they would say, "Here go your sammich."  You have to say it like it is all one word.  "Here-go-your-sammich," quickly.  Say it to a customer when you hand them their pizza, and they nod and agree, not quite catching what you say.
  I handed a stack of docs to someone here at the bank the other day and said, "Here-go-your-sammich," and they all started laughing, they didn’t understand, so I had to explain where it came from.  The ladies I deal with think I am a bit strange . . . which I guess means they know me pretty well.
  The other phrase that we used alot that I remember came from Ed’s brother, Bob.  Bob worked for me later, at a different store.  He drove a Mustang with over 250,000 miles on it.  "Garage kept," he would say.  That’s not the phrase, by the way.  I guess I also have to give him credit for this other thing I say as well, before I get to the phrase that pays. 
  Because he was automotively inclined, whenever he would discuss someone that should leave someone, or something, or some situation, he would say, "Drop them like a bad transmission."  You see, for those of you less mechanically inclined, with cars, especially the older,rear wheel drive muscle cars, when a transmission goes bad, and you have to change it, you jack up the car and remove it from the bottom.  This is known as "dropping the transmission."
  I don’t know where this came from, he just started saying it one day.  Then soon, everyone was saying it.  It was annoying as hell, but we couldn’t stop.  And we all tried to one-up each other on it, because if someone said it to you while you were saying something serious, it would just throw you off and piss you off.
  Say you are telling a story, or just talking about what happened that day, and telling what you did.  The person listening just looks at you and smiles, following along, and says in the most extremely excruciatingly sarcastic-sweet voice you can:  "Oh, really?"  pause for a quick beat "Oh, didja?"  Just the ultimate sign of showing that we were completely uninterested in what you were saying, but we were pretending out of politeness and hope that you notice so that you shut up.
  We used it over and over, we ran it into the ground.  We pissed each other off.  "Stop it!" someone would say. "I’m really fucking tired of that!"
  "Oh, really?. . .Oh, are-ya?"
  We were bastards.
  So, it’s a Friday night at Domino’s Pizza, after I raised sales.  We were busy, things were hopping.  Drivers were in and out, phones ringing, flour and dough flying through the air.
  A carryout customer came in.  He ordered a pizza, and waited.  At the counter.  Right up front.  So he can stand there and talk to us.  In case I haven’t told you all how much I hate that, let me take this opportunity to explain to you all how much I really fucking hate that.
  At Steak n Shake it was expected–"In sight it must be right"–but I swear to God, I hate it when a customer stands there and watches you make their food.  I wanted a fucking wall between us.  At scooters, Scott felt the same way, and so eventually he put up a large menu to block most of the grill from the customers’ eyes.  So what did they do?  They stood over by the counter, right where the drivers walk through, so they could watch.
  And then they want to talk to you while you are cooking.  Hey, ass master!  I’m busy!  I’m cooking your goddamn food, so go up to the fucking front, sit your bitch ass down and leave me the mother fuck alone, you son of bitch!  Face the front!  Face the front!
  Fuckers.  God, this really hits a nerve.  I wander in the back and pretend to do stuff so they can’t see me.  Then I flip them off.  They all want to watch, like they can ensure I’m not going to spit in their food.  Well, it never would be an issue if they wouldn’t piss me off by watching me, now, would it?
  Once at Domino’s a woman ordered a pizza, then stood there and watched, while I made the pizza, and talked to my other crew members, joking, having a good time.  The woman watched and interupted.
  "Excuse me!  Excuse me.  Don’t be doin that.  Don’t be talkin over my food.  Y’all be makin my pizza right now.  Don’t be talkin an’.. an’ breathin over my food while y’all be makin it.  Dat’s *nasty.*"
  It’s a complete miracle of God–praise the Lord and Hallelujah!–that I haven’t ripped the still-beating heart out of a customer and ate it in front of their horrified family.  Because, I really, really, *really* want to.
  Jeez, back to the Friday night and the customer at the counter.  Stay on topic, willya? Where was I?  So he stands there and talks to us.  Doesn’t matter that we can’t hear him that well, that we are busy doing our thing and ignoring him, he is just chattering away.  I get the impression that, while he isn’t specifically retarded, he is a little slow.
  My boys, Dan and Scott, were on the line, Becky and some other girl were on the phones, and I was on the oven.  I can’t hear well anyway, and then I am right by the oven hood, a large, loud fan.  It is just my excuse to ignore most of what you say.  He talks, and in between cutting pizzas I stare back at him blankly.  I honestly can’t hear what he says, but I sure don’t want him to repeat it.  Like it honestly matters.
  I could tell that he was just one of those people who had to have their mouth moving, and it was spinning nonstop.  The important thing to do for people like this is to just give the illusion that you care.
  Finally, his pizza is done.  Dan had recognized right away what we were in for, and he had less tolerance than I did.  Although they were backed up a little on the line, he bumped talky-dude’s pizza up, and it was out quickly, the most excruciating eight minutes of my life.
  I grab it and am walking up to give it to him personally to shuttle him out the door.  As I do, I happen to catch what he is talking about, completely by accident.  Sounds like he is just getting around to the point of his meandering tale.  Don’t you hate people who tell stories like that?
  As he says, "–so that’s why I was wondering if you were hiring.  Cause I have pizza experience.  I worked at Dominos before.  A few years ago, I worked in Ferguson–"  I walked up, handed him is pizza, offered a perfunctory "thanks-a-lot," and turned and walked away. 
  And then he said, "–I worked in Ferguson, for Chip Pelton."
  Without breaking stride or turning around, I said to him, "Oh really? . . .Oh, did-ja?"
  My boys on the line almost fell over laughing.  The guy was oblivious, though, and kept talking, even as he walked out the door.
  Just doing my part to keep the myth of customer service dead.

1 Comment »

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  1. OMG!!  Bryan!  soooo  nice to meet you!  Wow a real live picture of YOU!  Some how I pictured you different yet at the same time, just how you look LOL.  I\’ll have to come back later to read….just wanted to comment on your pic

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