Old Dog, New Tricks

January 31, 2010 at 10:37 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
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As a hapless prawn of the foodservice corporate conglomerate, I–
Did you say “happless *prawn*”?
Yeah.  Well, at first I felt like a fish out of water.

I’ve decided to stick it out here at The Three Jakes Sammich Shop.  As promised, the money has started to come around.  It’s not the best, mind you, but it’s purty damn good.
Real good, in fact.  I’ve had a few nights there where I had to look down to make sure I wasn’t dressed like a stripper, because they were just throwing money at me.  But I’m still keeping my pasties on.
My problem with the place early on (and I wonder now how long ago it was that I wrote about it.  I’ve had this title stuck in my head for a few weeks but I’ve been too busy to write it.) was that I was working in the store too much for my nominal title of driver, which was beginning to seem moot.  But bidness picked up, and with it, my spirits.
I’m not shallow, I’m focused.  Or I’m trying to be.  I have a nut to make, remember?  And working inside the store reminded me that I am new at their special little way of doing things.  If it was pizza, I’d run laps around them and laugh.  I eventually caught on–most of it is the same.  A restaurant is a restaurant is a restaurant.  They all try to do one thing:  serve food without killing anyone.
By and large we succeed.
A problem I had to adjust to was wearing gloves.  In pizza, it’s not necessary.  Partly because we don’t care if we kill anyone, but also because we can handle the food with our bare hands because it’s going to go in a 500 degree oven.  If any germs can survive that, they deserve to be the dominant species.
First there is the size.  They biggest they come in is large, and my hands are much bigger than that.  And you *know* what they say about guys with big hands, right?  They wear big gloves.
I got used to putting them on, albeit slowly.  But after a week and a half, my hands started to itch and break out.  I had an open sore.  Good God, I had herpes on my hand!  Good thing it was my right hand, because I *need* my left hand, you know?
But Brian the manager ordered some non-powdered gloves.  That’s much better, but the powdered ones are easier to get on, kind of like a pre-lubricated condom.  Finally–in the last couple of days, actually–I got used to getting these on my hands.  They are tight, which is good because I don’t want them sliding off when I’m repeatedly thrusting my large throbbing hands into the vulnerable and soft, moist flesh of a sammich…
Oh, shit, where was I?

Let’s talk about the people, then we’ll talk about the delivery area, okay?
The people are mostly good–kind of a microcosm of the fucking world, right?  We had a way-too-damn-perky assistant for the first couple of weeks, but she was nice.  We had a guy named Von, a nice young black guy who, as it turned out, had only been out of prison for a month.  I had given him a ride home a few times.  Am I a sucker?  I don’t think so.  I talked with him a few times at work, and we bonded a bit, over Jesus, oddly enough.  He was explaining why he couldn’t do a few things, like drink or go into a bar or anything like that–not just because of parole, but he is saved and he’s trying to fly straight.  I had to confess to him as well.
And the reason is this:  if you are a believer in Jesus and a follower of his word (and don’t YOU judge me, brothers and sisters–I know wherein my faults lie, and I know I am not the best example of a Christian, but I know what he has done for me and you can’t take that away) then it’s important to understand that God can forgive many things–most things, in fact.  To paraphrase HIS word from somewhere in the Bible, “I, the Lord shall forgive whomsoever I shall forgiveth; nonetheless, it is my word and my law that you shall forgive everyone.”  Having said that, what is the most grievous sin that he ranks above all others is denying HIM.  Once you know the Lord, you cannot turn your back to his word and his works.
I’m done preaching now.  But we talked, and he’s a good guy, trying to fly right.  He said so many guys in prison “get religion” but essentially they are paying lip service.  They don’t mean it, they are using it as a tool for parole or what-have-you.  He’s not that way.  He means it.  I hope he succeeds.
What did he do to go to prison?  Well, I didn’t ask and he didn’t tell me.  I understand about a man wanting to keep his sins in the past even though I vent them and share them with the entire intarweb for all who care to read.
We also had a couple of cute young girls working there.  Man they were tiny things.  I understand now how perspective works in porn.  If the guy has an average size dick but he’s with a girl who weighs about 95 pounds, he’s going to look humongous.  And these girls were tiny.  Each one weighed about as much as one of my legs.  The names were Shannon and…something else.  It doesn’t matter.  One got fired and the other got transferred to a store closer to her house as she requested, out in the county.
There is a nice young black girl named Kelly, and we hit it off right away.  Meaning, she started right in with the mocking me.  But I helped her with her car a few times.  I convinced her not to buy a Dodge Neon with 160 thousand miles on it, for one thing.  And she finally bought a little Toyota, I agreed to do the brakes on it for cheap.  Then I drove it and said, you don’t need brakes.  And you don’t need a power steering pump either.  The car is fine.  It’s just smaller than the behemoth her mom has that she had been driving, and she’s not used to that “Close to the road” feeling you get with a tiny, tiny car.  Nigel, we miss you.  By the way, Detroit seemed completely unphased when I told her that a hot young black chick gave me her phone number.  Sucks to be undangerous.
Brian is the manager.  I still don’t have him figured out.  He’s serious about the job, though; some people are like that.  Tony is the manager I work with most.  He’s been with the company for a month or so and already disgruntled, which I use to my advantage.
A chick named Cat started as a driver and entered the management program.  Good for her, I thought.  Until I had to work with her.  As a driver, she would panic if I got there at 501 instead of 500, because she’s a single mother with a kid and blah blah blah.  I know.  I know.  One minute isn’t going to make the
difference in your mother of the year nomination, trust me.  Not compared to the psychological damage your undoubtedly doing to them.
But then she becomes a manager, and she is all about exerting her power or making a statement or flapping her gums or over-sharing or just being a ridiculous bitch.  She casually mentions to us that Adam–yet another manager–is going to be fired because he was an hour and a half late at great inconvenience to her and no he didn’t call can you imagine the nerve he said he was watching *his* kid which I personally don’t believe because no one else can have issues with childcare because that’s MY thing and anyway he has a girlfriend or a baby momma or something like that and they need to coordinate their schedules because I have a life too.
This is in answer to the question, “Are you closing tonight?”
Her irrational behavior almost cost me the other night but I used it to my advantage.  I came back from a delivery and there was another one.  She explained at great length and speed that the customer said to just call when the driver gets there but she said she didn’t know if they could because she didn’t know if I had a cell phone or not.  The guy said he’s never had a problem before but she wouldn’t let up because it’s important to maintain control of the doctor-patient relationship.  Or green, inexperienced restaurant manager to customer.
Thanks for pissing off the customer, retard.  And you think, what–because I am oh so very old that maybe I don’t have a cell phone and you didn’t want to assume that I was down with what all the hip young kids are into?  Lick my individual balls.
But since I knew what happened, I am prepared.  When I get to the customer, I give him a call–because at this place, you have to, it’s a secure apartment complex–and he comes down.  I said to him, “Hey, sorry about the girl on the phone. She’s worked there a while, but she’s new to being a manager, so she
wants to do everything right.  And that means pissing off the customer.”  He laughed at that, and gave me a five dollar tip.
I am the man.
Who else do we have there?  A worthless little prick named Peter.  I swear to God–watching him make a sammich is like watching a fish flop around on the ground trying to breathe–I just want to stick his head under water and let him inhale.
There are several other people that I see come and go, and most are nice kids.  Kids, I say.  I’m the oldest fucker there.  They need to respect the wisdom I have to offer.  If I have any.

Besides the money, which is getting better, I love the idea of driving in this neighborhood.  I’ve been everywhere–suburbs, exurbs, rural, floating space
platforms–but to be in the actual real and true city is just cool as hell.  I thought it would be scary–but that’s just the unknown.  In the city of St Louis, there are several neighborhoods, and they all have different names.  I hear them on the news when there’s a murder–Dogtown, Southside, Northside, Central West End, Hyde Park–shit like that.  There is downtown Proper, which we are directly south of, in probably the most famous St Louis neighborhood:  Soulard.
From several vantage points, I can look to the north and see The Arch and look south and see the gigantic BUDWEISER sign at the brewery.  Directly between them is the famous Soulard Farmer’s Market, there since 1769.  I shitteth thee not.
The neighborhood is full of all these old brick houses, walk-ups, shotgun flats, storefronts and warehouses that have been rehabbed and bought by yuppies (and, I find later, guppies and DINKs).  It was once a thriving, bustling area, and then the nameless urban blight set in.
Meaning, a few blacks moved in, all the white people fled, more blacks moved in, the area became blighted, all the blacks moved outward, and then…after the dust settles, the white people move back in and fix it up.  I’m not casting aspersions, or placing blame.  I’m just tellin it like it is, bro.
It’s a pretty nice area, and fairly safe.  Still, that chick I saw jogging at 9 o’clock better be fucking armed, or at least a bad ass kung fu lesbian assassin.  There are some homeless wandering around.
It used to be that if someone was walking around talking to themselves, you’d think they were crazy.  But then with a bluetooth, now you think they are talking to someone on the phone.  But here, chances are it is a crazy person like the one I saw walking in circles in the parking lot having an argument with Archduke of Ferdinand.
I enjoy driving the neighborhood.  And every door I go to is a new enjoyment of architecture, and every dangerous alley I go down because I can’t find the fucking number and and to wander around like homeless guy talking on my bluetooth to the customer as they try to pinpoint where I am, where they are,
and what lies between is a hapless junket of structural pleasure.
And just outside of our delivery area proper is an area I’ve gone into a few times anyway, and when I saw the street signs, it hit me where I was:  My dad always talked about the neighborhood and different streets he had lived on down in the city.  The dreaded “State” streets–California, Ohio, Missouri.  They are all right here.  I get to see where my parents used to live, and I feel a connection to it.  Kind of a vicarious nostalgia.  I can imagine the place in the fifties.  Now that my parents are gone, I feel connected to them again.

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