Topic Of Conversation

October 3, 2008 at 4:09 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  This was actually supposed to be posted yesterday, but I was tired…
  In the past 3 days–72 hours–I worked 51 of those hours.  Divide those other 21 hours up between drive time and sleep time, and you’ll see that I haven’t gotten much sleep.

  The supervisor at Domino’s does a report every couple of days and leaves it hanging ominously on a clipboard.  One of the last ones he did had a hand-written note at bottom:  "Food must be counted every night.  If I find you not counting food you will get a pay-cut."
  Although it didn’t specifically address me, it was hard not to take it personally.  I mean, I’m the newest of the managers.  I haven’t quite got the food count thing down yet, and I still have some questions about a few details regarding it.  And also…I kind of don’t care. 
  I mean, as far as I’m concerned, I already received a pay cut, so that, in my mind, pretty much justifies my not counting the food.  Cut my pay again, and I will walk right out of here.  Honestly.  Give me an excuse.  Of course, I will also call the Department of Labor.  Maybe I don’t have a case, but I will give them a sackful of grief on the way out.
  Last thing I’m going to say about the food count:  Before when I worked at Domino’s, of course I counted it every night.  I had a routine and could do it in about 12 minutes.  For 10 years at Scooters, we never counted food, therefore I’m out of practice.  Plus, as I may have mentioned, my level of caring is significantly lower.  I do count some things, and fake the rest because the computer gives you a generated figure, the "ideal."  I fudge that a bit, count a few important things, and get the hell out of there.  I have a day job, ya know.

  We get alot carryout customers at this store, as opposed to deliveries.  Most places are 90-10 in favor of delivery.  This place is about 60-40.  It’s just bullshit.  I don’t need this level of customer interaction; it’s bound to breed (more) bitterness and contempt.  It’s a rich area, and all of these very rich, very cheap, and mostly Jewish people will come in to pick up the pizza instead of getting it delivered and paying the delivery charge and tip.
  Plus, they want the "carry out special."
  It was 6.99 for a large one-topping for years and years.  This year it became 7.99.  Now it’s gone completely except for the contradictory coupons we still put out.  Customers are frantic for a deal.  This woman calls up.
  "Do you still have that 6.99 carryout special?"
  "No, we sure don’t."
  "So you don’t have any specials?"  What the hell kind of dysfunctional leap of logic is that?
  "No."  I spoke slowly.  "We have specials.  We have other specials; we just don’t have THAT special."
  She didn’t ask about them, and I wasn’t going to offer to elaborate unless she did.  Passive-aggressive is just a hobby of mine.  She said, "I’ll call back."  But she didn’t, and wishing wouldn’t make it so.

  Speaking of the beloved carryout customer, the fucking guy that I hate–whatever the hell his name is–didn’t come in last night.  Normally he comes in every Wednesday, because that’s "Wild Wednesday" and that’s how he rolls.  Like a dozen or so other of these old fucks, he doesn’t call ahead.  He comes in and orders, then sits.  And waits.  And watches.  And you KNOW how I hate that.
  But this is the real asshole who was a condescending prick to me.  Stan said he’s been a dick to everyone…and then eventually he warms up to you, and you bond.  Like your very own May-December buddy movie, I imagine.  Well, fuck him.  I’m not going to play Second Hand Lions and I’m not going to end up liking him. 
  He orders a complicated bullshit pizza, and he orders it in the wrong way to increase the chances that we’ll fuck it up.  He always comes in on Wednesday because that’s when he can get a deal on this nightmare he orders.  The last few weeks I’ve worked with Stan, and Stan has made his pizza while I reflected back to him his stony silence and petulant glare.  Stan is nice to him, and after the door closes behind him I say, "Fuck off and die, old man!" 
  Last night, it’s starting to get late, Stan needs to leave, and the Old Fuck hasn’t shown yet.  Stan looks up his previous orders and makes the pizza, and sets it aside.  This way, it’s made and I don’t have to deal with it.  We wait. 
  Stan starts to get worried.  He’s concerned that the old man may have died.  I’m more concerned that he hasn’t, and will still show up on my watch.  In the end, he never showed, and it was a good night.

  Late last night, Mike was in back doing dishes.  He comes up to me and says, "Hey, some old man just walked in the back door and asked to use the bathroom.  I let him."  Crap–and I was about to go.  Dammit.
  Mike then had to leave on a run, and I stayed up front cleaning.  I went in the back, and the bathroom door was still closed–but it has a spring in it, so it’s always closed.  So how do I know if the old guy left, or if he’s still in there?  The scene from the end of "Clerks" ran through my head, and I didn’t open the door, and I never went to check.
  When we closed, I just left.  For all I know, he could still be in there, laying on the floor, naked and dead.  With a hard on.

Today…
  I just got a call on my cell, and I didn’t recognize the number, so I didn’t answer it.  But they had called earlier as well.  This time they left a message, so I listened.  It was someone looking for "Rich."  In case you haven’t been paying attention, I’m not Rich.  But she sounded nice, so I figured I would call her back and hit on her.
  "Hello?"
  "Hi. You just called my phone and left a message for Rich.  That’s not me."
  "Oh."
  "Yeah, so he probably won’t call you back."
  "Oh, I’m sorry."  Pause.  "This isn’t a roofing company?"
  "Do I sound Mexican?"
  I just don’t understand why people aren’t warming up to me.

And Back to Last Night Again
  Last night as I arrived, there was a cute little chick walking in the back door, and she went straight to the office to the phone.  She said, "Hi.  I work in Eureka."  Immediately I thought, *the TV show?*  But there is a Eureka, Missouri.  Her name is Heather. 
  Before she left, Heather talked to Stan and chatted me up as well.  She’s one of those people–you know the type.  She’s one of those people that just opens up to you and tells you about their life and their pain.  Get a blog, for God’s sake.  Without giving details, she would make leading comments.  "What I’ve been through–"  "The things I’ve seen–"  "If this goes on–"
  Heather was also one of those that wants to cling–or maybe in her words, "bond"–to people.  She stood just inside my personal space, which would have been annoying if she hadn’t been younger and cute and nice-smelling–and she looked right at me when I talked.  Unnerving.  Or maybe she wasn’t looking at me, maybe she was looking at my teeth.  At least I didn’t catch her staring at my crotch.  She was also very touchy-feely.  She wanted to slap my hand in the "give me five" way during our conversation, because they things we said were so life-affirming.
  I learned that she is 28, drives for Domino’s, and has been sexually abused as a teen and in an abusive relationship with men as an adult, and recently got over a drug addiction.  No, she didn’t say these things–except her age and her job.  The rest I picked up.  As I said, I can read people.  I guess–
  I guess I shouldn’t be so flippant about her demeanor.  I mean, I understand that she’s been through alot, and she reacted like someone who’s been through alot and is now in recovery.  I’m trying to deflect, because she was cute and she was nice to me and there I go thinking dirty thoughts.  Yes, "again."
  Besides, she said something that irked me.  We talked about Domino’s.  She said, "I’ve been doing this for five years.  Now I’m just driving, while I get my shit together so I can get on with my life."
  I nodded.  "I’ve worked at various Domino’s since 1986."
  A simple, honest, question:  "Why are you still here?"
  I stammered for a few moments, then gave her a simple, honest answer:  "Because I’m retarded."
  I can still get the laughs.  But I did tell her–and this was one of the high-five moments–that this time, at least, it is on my own terms.  I can walk out that door at any time.  If they piss me off, I am outta here.  She nodded enthusiastically, like she was at a "GO ME!" rally.  "On your own terms!  Hell yeah!"
  Before she left, she hugged Stan, mentioned in passing that he was damaged as well, and looked at me before heading for the door.  I felt like she wanted to hug me also, but didn’t because we just met.  And not because she liked me–she did, a little–but just because in her condition, she needs human contact.  She needs to cling to someone.
  Something.

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