“We’re going to reclaim civil rights!”
The real story – Glenn Beck, you’re an idiot.
Scene: Leaving work downtown San Francisco, walking across the street in the cross walk, minding my own damn biznass.
Man (who is about two steps ahead of me): Do you work at Gap?
Me (startled): Umm… no.
Me (thinking to myself): I’m not even wearing khakis… and we aren’t in the shopping district …..and there is no gap within a mile of where I am walking. (These thoughts flash through my mind as I try and keep my face as calm and unperturbed as possible.)
Man: Oh, you don’t? Well what do you do?
Me (continually startled by this line of questioning and beginning to feel as though I may soon be robbed…. of my not from the Gap items): uhhh… I … uhh… (currently fiddling with my phone trying to decide what to say) I work for a non profit. (Phone rings! I AM SAVED)
I then hang back and let strange Gap man wander away. Later, in the car with Kamel, as I am retelling this story, and we are driving about a block from my office, and after I have repeatedly been all “wtf? there is no Gap here! What a weird thing to pull out of your ass!” we drive by a window with a huge Gap logo in the display. I press my hand against the car window and whisper, “Gap…. corporate….”
I still vote: creepy.
I know it seems strange, but there are a few things that one shouldn’t do in public. I’m not talking, like, wedgy picking. We all have those shake-the-leg-and-try-not-to-be-obvious moments, it happens. We all know what’s going on there, we all sympathize. I’m talking the really unfortunate things, the things that make an entire room feel awkward and have complete strangers sharing eye-locking moments of “can you fucking believe what is going on right now?”. And the thing is – there are some people who don’t know about the things they shouldn’t be doing in public. They are lost souls, making it weird for the rest of us, and I’m here to help.
Here is a clue: Don’t schedule a doctor’s appointment in an enclosed space that has to do with anything other than a check up.
I have a job that deals with the public. I have a lot of one on one time with strangers. And often these strangers bring their children, their coughing, snot-nosed, children. And for the most part I kind of love it as long as they aren’t touching me and oh god it coughed on my pen!! But in general I’m pleased to be dealing with parents and their babies. But then a few days ago, I was going about my business in my work trailor, and some applicants or clients or whatever the proper word for them is, were waiting for one of my co workers. And the woman, obviously misunderstanding this workspace for one of her very own, started in on her cell phone. She’s about 5 feet away from me so I can’t help but over hear.
I had a certain invested interest already since, when her child walked into the office he clutched at his mother, staring directly at me and said, “she’s not a nice lady, mama, she’s not a nice lady!!” and then began to whine in a panicked voice, “No no no! Don’t sit down! Why mommy, why are you doing that?!”. Because I am incapable of not listening to lady on cell phone with obnoxious child, I quickly become aware that she is calling to make a doctor’s appointment. For her squirly, panic-ridden son.
“Yes, as soon as possible,” I hear her say.
“So he’s had this rash for a few days now and it hasn’t gone away. Mmhm… well it’s all over his midsection and goes down onto his legs, and now it’s around his mouth.”
This is the part where I glance over my shoulder to see squirly little boy, licking furiously at the red ring around his lips. This is also where I begin to hold my breath in short bursts, hoping the measles or whatever the fuck this strange kid – who now i’m convinced is from one of those family’s who don’t vaccinate – has been infected with doesn’t go airborn.
“Well, I do have cortizone and benadryl and nothing seems to be working.”
This is where I stopped listening, or I may have pushed the memory so far into the dark parts of my brain, a hypnotist would be hard pressed to find it. Because ya know what? I don’t want to know! I don’t want to know what strange thing your kid is allergic to, or brushed up against, or has caught by some unfortunate contact with the other germy children at daycare. And that’s my point – keep it to yourself. You or someone you live with maybe peeing blood or be sprouting purple bumps all over their face – it doesn’t change the fact that you are sitting next to me sharing pens and shaking my hand, so if you can’t stay away from me, at least spare me the panic. I’ll Purel either way.
Did you know that if you pre pay for gas because you want to also buy a bottle of water and you tell the attendant the wrong pump number it turns into a big fucking deal?
First, let me set the scene: on the way to work I need to stop and get gas, margaret is waiting in the car while I go up to the one-man box with only bullet proof plastic-glass and one of those bottom of the window cracks that you see in banks so you can slide money back and forth, but can’t quite get your handgun through for good enough aim. I can’t see my pump number from where I’m standing, but I can see the one on the other side. That pump number is four, the one next to that is six, I figure mine is three.
I made a gamble, I felt secure in this choice, I bought a bottle of water. I wondered if the attendant would have to walk the bottle of water through the side door of the attendant box, and around the corner to me, like how they walk your bag of purchases around the corner of the counter to you in Nordstrom. But then the bottle of water came shooting out of a hole in the wall, more near the ground than the window, and I scrambled after it while it rolled around on the gas stained ground. Curiousity soothed.
Then I walked to my pump to begin the process, and the guy in front of me is already filling is car with gas. Before I can even squeeze the handle, the attendant has run out of his box and is yelling at me that I paid for the wrong pump. I look up and mine is number one. Well fuck. Dude who is already pumping is number three. But really? If I buy someone else’s gas, good karma to me, and what do I care? So I tell the attended, “It’s cool, I’ll pay for his.” But he is very adament that I not pay for his, that, “You’ve messed up the whole system!”. Oops, my bad, let’s yell about it though. So instead of letting me pay for ten dollars of dude’s gas, the attendant gives me ten dollars in cash, credited the rest to my card and had me re-purchase my original amount at the correct pump. So lucky guy number three got 10 free bucks of gas. Today he gets a bingo and I get a very angry attendant. And a good friday morning story. Oops.
I take the bus to and from work. I take it as much as I can because it’s cheaper than dealing with my car (Gas, parking, etc). Thursday I get on the bus and it’s packed so I head to the back where there are usually seats. I scan the seats. The reason I scan seats is because one time in San Francisco I almost sat in pee but thankfully this one lady warned me RIGHT before my butt touched the seat and then she – bless her heart – wiped it UP with a napkin she had in her purse. AMAZING. So – I scan seats. And on this particular bus ride before work in Seattle I was seat scanning and spotted a a large loogey on one of the seats. So I deftly avoided it and sat in the seat next to it. Sigh of relief inserted here.
But then here is where things get annoying. A dilemma began to surface. I was now the keeper of the loogey. Every time a person approached the back of the bus I was acutely aware of the seat that no one should be sitting in. The seat I had to warn them of. Now my bus ride was no longer a nice, relaxing reprieve before work, it was now full of stress and the possibility that someone might sit in a bundle of thick spit, ruin their pants before work and it would ALL BE MY FAULT. So I saved one guy from sitting there but he said he had seen it right at the last minute. So one down, infinite possibilities of people to go. Nothing happened for a few stops but then a large man wearing light colored khakis – the worst type of pants to stain with anything wet – approached and eyed the spot next to me. I hoped that he would see it like the other guy did and I wouldn’t have to say anything. But then he turned and began the squat-to-sit motion. Ah! Danger! I thought. And just as he was hovering above the seat both me and dude #1 cried out “no no! don’t sit there” and then I alone explained “there’s spit.” He was grateful and all but damn. Talk about a high blood pressure morning. If I had sat, say, across from the seat of doom I would have wiped my hands of any obligation whatsoever. But because I sat right next to it – that was my big mistake – it became my civic fucking duty to warn any innocent bystanders “beware: loogey”.
New Years day I receive a call and a text and a voicemail from my father (yes, I know Dad… thank you for your vigilance). I was getting dressed to spend the first morning of 2010 (ok afternoon) on the golden gate bridge in obnoxious/exhilirating? mist. Anyhoos – Turns out someone has been using my debit card in Valencia CA. Their first stop – McDonalds. I mean, they need sustenance before they head out on a spending spree. And where better to fuel yourself than at the local MickeyD’s? I don’t fault them for that one. Smart move stealers of my debit card, the debit card sitting to this day in my wallet on the floor of my room.
The troubling bit is their next move: Straight to the CVS pharmacy where they managed to spend over a hundred dollars. I’m bitching about a cancer patient who lost their insurance and needs to swipe my card info in order to pay for prescriptions aren’t I? I am such a bitch. But then! They did it again. Really? Do you not know the wonderful art of theivery? Don’t stay in one place possible cancer patient! Move around, do your thing, but it looks shady spending almost $300 dollars at a walgreens wannbe. I mean, Pullease. Don’t make me do your job for you.
Well, by the third transaction, the bank got wise and was all, no you didn’t… and denied the card. And put a stop on any further transaction. Hooray! Here is the shady bit. I verified with the bank that I have never been to Valencia, also haven’t been to a Mcdonalds or a CVS in years. Yet! Before I can even make a claim to get my moneys back, the payments have to go through. So instead of simply preventing me from losing money, I have to have it disappear from my bank account and then file paperwork to have it reimbursed. No biggy if I had an extra 300 dollars lying around. Right after the holidays too, so not exactly the case. Also – rent was due post haste, and i had a paycheck to deposit. All of this landing on New Years Day, a friday, a day the banks are closed. On saturday they are open for a short period of time. So before running around doing errands I head to a Chase downtown. That said chase is CLOSED on weekends altogether. So no money deposited, no temp debit card, the next day is sunday and I have 15 dollars in cash. LAME. Indeed the perfect storm of financial crisis. I am a walking recession.
So then on monday at work everything is going along swimmingly, except when a coworker chops off the tip of his finger. Owe. Gross. Insert shivers here. And then when I go to the bathroom, pull down my jeans, and my phone flies out of the pocket landing right in the toilet. I did not even HESITATE to spin around, thrust my hand in the toilet water and yank out that phone. Not even a moment for “ew”. I was mostly swearing loudly until my nubbin coworker knocked on the door and asked if everything was alright. It so was NOT alright. The phone was still on which was promising and after I undid everything, dried it off over and over again as water was still leaking everywhere, and stuck it in a tupperware full of rice, the phone was still acting possessed; flipping between applications, locking and unlocking and locking and unlocking and basically giving me a full blown seizure with all the flashing between screens. So reluctantly I decided to get a new phone.
To my benefit I had just received an email from verizon saying my 1 year discounted new phone whatsit was due and yay! come in and get a new phone on discount! Well, I was worried verizon would close by 6. So at 530 I close up shop at work and run over to the store. Where they tell me I don’t get full discount, but actually a discount off the retail price of phones which means they are all motherfucking expensive. Plus my beloved phone has been discontinued. Because it’s just TOO awesome. That’s why. I finally settle on one that’s similar and comes with a 100 dollar mail in rebate so I’m sold.
In the past verizon has billed me whatever the cost is and I pay for it on my next phone bill. Shazaam. And since I have no money because I have no debit card, etc etc, this is my only option. But oops! The lady tells me Verizon changed their policy over the summer and all purchases have to be made upfront.
BAH! Broken phone, I say. Fraud, I say. NO MONEY, I say. She says nothing. I leave, I go back and finish working at the store minus 15 min on my time sheet because I am a good employee and watch the clock. Grumble grumble.
I take the phone home, I plug it in. Maybe it will hold a charge? The texting works if I can ignore the spazz outs, and the only other real problem is I can’t hear anything through the ruined speakers when I call out. Turns out – it holds a charge. Hooray! I think I will be alright for a day or so until I can get this all sorted out, surviving by text alone. Sigh.
But then this morning – a new years miracle!! Everything works. Everything. No more twitches, and the speaker works fantastically. Like normal. I have been granted an appeal. YAY! My phone is fine, I won’t be out an extra 100 plus dollars, I’m still broke and the theives will probably get away with it but what if they were actually cancer patient thieves and then I can feel a little less annoyed about the whole thing. AND what if my new debit card is pretty? I never really liked the whole mustardy gold bit anyways.
As my co-worker mentioned today: The holidays are great because, although they bring out all the crazies, there are so many of them they don’t have time to really… sink in and stay awhile. Now move along, crazy, we have a whole line of neurotic awkward people demanding their baked goods behind you.
I don’t think I’ve really taken the time to showcase what dealing with the public on a daily basis is like here on the ‘ol blog. The problem with it is – most of the time it’s a “ya had to be there” scenario and it loses a certain je ne sais quoi in the retelling. But ya know, just in case you were curious, I thought I would share a few.
Today there was a guy hell bent on getting a bran muffin. We don’t sell muffins. Or bran.
“Hi, I’m looking for… do you have anything like a bran muffin?”
“Oh, no… we don’t have anything with bran but we do have these pumpkin trail cookies” (ahh yes, the customer diversion. We don’t have that but we do have this… BUY BUY BUY).
“Hmm… well I was really looking for something with bran… something healthy…. like a bran muffin.”
“Yeah….. sorry about that.”
I really did think he would leave. He also had a starbucks cup in his hand and I thought – dude – they have bran muffins… what the eff? But he stayed and kept stressing over our lack of bran and muffins. He eventually settled on some oatmeal raisin cookies. Almost bran, so there’s that. But then upon paying he’s still griping about the bran muffins. Yeah buddy, I wish that we had those too (no, not really, I don’t actually care).
Anyways, this is a theme. People get really weird about the things they want, the things they expect to be able to buy. And the things they don’t like. If we are selling something that doesn’t sound appetizing to a customer – a kind of sandwhich, soup, etc – more often than not they make a face when I give them the options or describe something to them, or they actually make a yuck noise. Like BLECCKK or something. I mean really? This is not your mom’s house. You don’t have to eat what we make you, I’m not forcing you to buy anything, so what’s with the attitude? When was the last time you went into a food service place and actually told a server that something you had yet to have was gross? And why does saying that even matter to anything at all? The amount of rudenss or weirdness I experience daily is mind boggling, but now I hardly notice it. If anything I laugh and give a coworker a look and then I forget about. Everybody’s weird. Everybody has bad days. I don’t take them personally unless it’s a customer that is always a certain way and then I just dread serving them. I can’t wait to put some of these characters in my writing. It’s funny how growing up you assume the majority of the population is a lot like you – until you actually see them, and realize most of them aren’t.
Alright ladies and gentlemen. It is now time for me to give you my what the FUCK moment of the week.
Last night I had an amazing happy hour with Tricia and then later in the evening met Kaitlyn downtown at Purple for a few glasses of wine and a few hours of non stop chatting. By the end of the evening i was glowing in the awesomeness of my friends. AWESOMENESS. Anyhoos…. So the evening is winding down with Kaitlyn when this banker looking wanker (i love when i get the chance to rhyme) walks in and as he passes behind the two of us asks
“So what’s good in here?” and even though we were totally rudely interrupted we both kind of shrug, say we don’t know then say “uhh, wine.” He proceeds to sit down next to me. Word to the wise… DO NOT ENGAGE – DO NOT.
Did I mention that Kaitlyn was wearing a SMOKING HOT drapy sweater dress like you see in the movies, and some kick ass heels? Hot-ness. Me on the other hand – jeans, grey tank, black tshirt with my orange shruggy thing, plus black flats. Hair in a pony tail. Not exactly my come-hither attire is all I’m saying. But dude is next to me. Great.
And turns to me and asks, “Does it smell like steak in here?” And we both reply “umm, no not really.” And he goes…. “Oh maybe it’s you.”
AND THEN HE SNIFFS ME. At my shoulder and my neck. Let me repeat that… dude motherfucking SNIFFS ME. Then comes to the conclusion that “Heh… you smell like steak.”
Without batting an eyelash i reply, “Yeah i get that a lot.” And then he SNIFFS AGAIN and says “And oregano.” To which I reply, “Well I am Italian.”
This entire time I am trying to shoulder him out of my conversation with Kaitlyn by completely turning my back to him. Apparently my “get the fuck away” stance isn’t working. So Kaitlyn and I promptly jump off the bar stools and head out to find a cab.
And although I was joe cool in the bar, the minute we walk outside I am all I SMELL LIKE STEAK!?? AND PIZZA SAUCE?!! And Kaitlyn is laughing and assuring me that no, i do not, but that wow that guy was a D-Bag. But even by the time I get home I am still unsure so when I retell this story to claire I eventually make her smell me and tell me the verdict. Her response: “You smell like a WOMAN. Like vanilla and cinnamon and everything GOOD”. Well I guess that’s perk number two of working in a bakery.
But seriously… WHAT THE FUCK?!