Has Beef With Your Broil

, , , , , , | | Working | May 27, 2019

(I’m at the deli counter of the supermarket. Before I walk up, the area around the counter is completely deserted, save for the lone employee behind the counter who I don’t recognize and conclude is new. On my approach, I notice the display’s London broil is almost completely gone.)

New Employee: “What can I get you?”

Me: “Do you have any more London broil?”

New Employee: “Any what?”

Me: *pointing to the display* “London broil.”

New Employee: “What’s London broil?”

Me: “It’s a beef with–“

New Employee: “Oh, yeah, we’ve got roast beef.” *walks towards the roast beef*

Me: “No. Not roast beef.” *pointing to the display on each word* “London. Broil. Over here.”

New Employee: “Roast beef?”

(Thankfully, before that gets ugly, one of the experienced deli workers who overheard the whole thing comes out from the back.)

Experienced Employee: “Howdy, [My Name].” *to the new employee* “He wants this stuff.” *points to the London broil* “This is London broil. And this small amount isn’t tender, so get him a fresh one from the back.” *hands him the wrapper* “The wrapper will look just like this one.”

(The new guy disappears in the back while the experienced one slices and packages some Swiss cheese. When the new guy comes back, it starts right back up.)

Experienced Employee: “That’s roast beef. I told you to get London broil and to match the wrapper.”

New Employee: “He asked for roast beef.”

Experienced Employee: “No. He asked… Forget it. I’ll get it and then we’ll go over it. Get him anything else he wants.”

(She disappears into the back and leaves me alone with the new guy. Thankfully, the last item is right in front of him.)

New Guy: “Anything else?”

Me: “Half a pound of the [Brand] Ham.”

(He grabs the correct ham and loads it into the slicer the experienced employee didn’t touch. Then, he immediately begins slicing. On his first cut, the ham comes out about as thick as a steak. Then, he goes to start slice two.)

Me: “Hold it. Hold it.”

New Employee: “Yeah?”

Me: “Could you cut it thinner than that, please?”

New Employee: “Thinner?”

Me: “Thinner.”

(He stares at the slicer for a moment, and then goes to cut it again.)

Me: “No!”

(He stops and looks at me.)

Me: “You need to turn the dial on the side to make thinner cuts.”

New Employee: “Thinner?”

(Mercifully, the experienced employee comes back out at this point.)

Experienced Employee: “That is way too thick. He likes it razor thin. You need to adjust the slicer.”

New Employee: “Thin?”

Experienced Employee: “Move. Go in the back and sweep.”

(She finished my orders, and I left her a big tip in the jar. Part of me wants to blame the manager for not training him. But another part of me remembers I never said “roast beef” and that he knew meats and cheeses go in different slicers when there’s no rush.)


Not Even A Handful

, , , , | | Right | May 27, 2019

(It’s a fairly quiet day in electronics when the phone rings. I answer it.)

Me: “Electronics! Can I help you find something?”

Customer: “Well, good morning! I was wondering if you could help me find a new cartridge of ink for my printer!”

Me: “Certainly, ma’am! Do you have the old cartridge with you? Tell me the number and I’ll check our inventory.”

Customer: “Well, I can’t open the printer to check. The problem is I don’t have any hands, so it’s very difficult for me. Is there another way we can find my ink?”

Me: “Uh… Yeah, sure.”

(I brush off her comment, thinking I misheard, and ask her for the model number of the printer. She is having difficulty locating it.)

Customer: “Oh, this just isn’t working. If you can hang on for a moment I’ll see if there’s some way I can jimmy it open, because I don’t have any hands.”

Me: “That won’t be necessa–”

(I am interrupted by the sound of the phone clattering to the floor, and an almighty racket of crashing and thudding.)

Customer: “I’m very sorry about that, but I managed to open the printer without hands and find the ink number!”

(She gives me the number. I find the appropriate box and, discovering it’s the last one, I offer to put it aside for her. I take down her name while instructing her to come to pick it up before the store closes.)

Customer: “Well, thank you, young lady; however, would it be possible for me to come in tomorrow to purchase the ink? I already don’t have any hands, and honestly, I don’t have any legs, either. Traveling is quite difficult, and I won’t be able to receive a ride until tomorrow.”

Me: “…”

Customer: “Would that be all right?”

(Completely unsure if this is a prank, or if I’m just not hearing her correctly, I give up.)

Me: “Yes, that’s fine, ma’am. I’ll probably be here; find me at the register and I’ll get your ink.”

(She thanks me, delighted. I put her out of my mind. The day passes with no issue. The next morning, I hear a voice beckoning me. I look down the main aisle and, sure enough, here comes an elderly woman being pushed in a wheelchair… who seems to have no legs past her knees, and no hands.)

Customer: “Good morning, miss! I believe you have some ink for me?”

Me: “Yes. Why, yes. I have it right here for you.”

Customer: *utterly delighted* “Thank you so very much for helping me! I can’t tell you how many places have hung up on me when I called to ask for that ink! It appears no one has manners anymore. I’d shake your hand but, well…” *holds up her stumps and shrugs* “You know. No hands.”

It’s Going To Be A Long And Bumpy Road Fighting This One

, , , , , , | | Legal | May 23, 2019

(One Friday, I come home in the late afternoon to find a flyer in my mailbox and several posted on the windshields of the parked cars. The flyer reads to the effect of:)

Flyer: “On Wednesday, [date five days from today], road work will be done on [My Street] between the hours of 7:00 am and 3:00 pm. Any cars parked curbside on [My Street] during this time will be ticketed and towed.”

(I shrug and think nothing of it. I work from home, my wife’s hours and commute means she’ll never encounter the workers, and we have our own parking spaces on our property, anyway. The worst this entails for us is that I’ll need to do the shopping on Tuesday or let her deal with it on the way home Wednesday. At roughly two o’clock Monday morning, our dog decides she needs to go out. I take her out in the front yard and sit on the porch like I always do. As I’m doing this, a car comes barreling down the road, stops in front of my house, and two people come running out of the car. One of them starts securing signs to the existing parking signs — the ones that outline the street sweeping schedule — while the other hastily pin flyers to the windshields of every parked car. No matter how many times I try to question them, they ignore me. Once they’re back in their car and have sped off down the road again, I go out and read what they broke the speed limit for.)

Signs and Flyers: “Starting Monday, [today’s date], road work will be done on [My Street] from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm and will continue during these hours until Friday, [Friday’s date]. Any cars parked curbside on [My Street] during this time will be ticketed and towed.”

(Already seeing this is going to be a nightmare, I go back inside, grab my wife’s keys, and move our cars down to the intersection and onto the next road. And I most definitely did the right thing. A few hours later, the road is completely blocked off. No cars are getting in or out, and not just because of their decision to tie off the street from sidewalk to sidewalk. No, as if that wasn’t enough, the work they are doing also factors in. What is the work? Digging a gigantic hole in the exact middle of the street just shy of the intersecting roads. Yes, roads. They have decided to assign two crews, start at both ends of the street, and meet in the middle. Within the first hour, both holes are large enough to bury an elephant. I, of course, call City Hall. Once the complaints about our inability to drive are voiced, the conversation goes as follows:)

Secretary: “Well, the crew was supposed to post signs saying the road was going to be closed until the work was done.”

Me: “They posted signs saying we weren’t allowed to park on the road. They said nothing about driving. I have copies of both flyers if you’re interested.”

Secretary: “‘Both flyers’? What do you mean, ‘both flyers’?”

Me: “Well, there’s the one they posted Friday afternoon that only says they’re working on Wednesday, and the one they posted this morning around two that says they’re working the whole week. Both of them only talk about parking.”

Secretary: “‘This morning around two’?!”

Me: “That’s right.”

Secretary: “I… don’t know how to respond to that.”

Me: “Well, then, maybe you can answer this: if any of us on [My Street] need emergency services, how are the fire trucks and ambulances supposed to get to us?”

Secretary: “Well, I’m sure the cop there will help with that.”

Me: “What police officer would that be?”

Secretary: “Isn’t there a cop out there with them?”

Me: “The only people out here are the road workers.”

(Thankfully, she gets the message and sends an officer immediately. He arrives in five minutes, and I ask him the same thing.)

Police Officer: *shrugs* “I don’t know what City Hall wants me to do at this point. The hole’s too big to get around now. And they shouldn’t have started today in the first place. The forecast is saying nothing but rain all week. All their work will be undone with the first rainfall. Your whole street’s f***ed already. But these contractors don’t give a s*** as long as they get paid.”

(At present, I’m trying to band together what little of the neighborhood I can to prove we can, in fact, fight City Hall. Wish me luck.)

Too Chicken(Pox) To Accept The Consequences

, , , , , , , | | Learning | May 21, 2019

Though my kindergarten was part of an entire elementary school, the kindergarten was held in a separate building across the street from the main school with its own parking lot. This was originally done to ensure the children could see and point out whoever was picking them up without the clutter of other grades — also why the first graders had their own hall with its own exit in the main building. It also forced the school to teach us road safety at a young age since we’d have to go to the main school building to have library, PE, music, art, computers, and lunch. However, it wound up proving to have one more bonus after this incident.

Our last activity before recess was acting out Three Billy Goats Gruff, complete with masks for all four characters. After I, the third goat for this group, rammed the final troll, someone noticed my goat mask didn’t look the same and asked the teacher about it. She started by examining the mask, and then the kid playing the troll and me. Our troll was wearing makeup. Everywhere. While asking him why, the teacher started rubbing it away before stepping back, horrified.

The troll had chickenpox.

While I don’t remember this for sure, I believe that at the time vaccination was only required for entry into middle school, so not only was it quite likely that none of the students in the kindergarten were vaccinated against chickenpox, but it was just as likely many of the students in the main school weren’t, either. And this child’s mother decided it would be better to send him to school. How do I know it was his mother? Well…

The very first thing my teacher did was get the neighboring teacher to watch us, and then drag our troll right out of the classroom. When I took a restroom break later, I passed by the kindergarten’s office and heard a woman yelling about how this was no big deal, that she shouldn’t have had to come down for this, and more. The troll student didn’t come back that day, or any other day.

Once she got back, we were locked in the building the rest of the day. The teachers had to go get our lunches, and we lost our main building class for the day. Throughout the day, others were getting picked up unexpectedly. Evidently, the school called all of our parents to let them know a mother sent her child in with chickenpox, and many decided to get their kids out immediately.

The school was closed for the next two weeks, which means we lost two weeks of our summer vacation and our parents had to find sitters. Once the incubation period ended and symptoms would be appearing in anyone infected, the school reopened, but attendance was incredibly low; on the very first day back, I was the only one who came to class. Part of it was that some parents didn’t feel safe leaving their kids with the school any longer and transferred them out, but most of it was because the school had an outbreak which left most of the children sick, and the parents of the remaining healthy children were concerned another parent would do the same thing. After some assurances, the healthy students finally came back. I had bragging rights, however.

Since I was the only one who came in on the first day, the teachers called my parents again. With their permission, my teacher took me bowling for the day — out of her own pocket if my mother is to be believed — and even drove me home while everyone else stayed to close the kindergarten early. It was my first and only improvised field trip, and I absolutely loved it.

In the course of my education, I encountered almost my entire kindergarten class again. While a couple of them have scars, everyone I’ve found was just fine. The only mystery left in this case is the student who caused it. I’ve yet to encounter him again.

To the troll’s mother, while I hate that you delayed my summer vacation and cost me time with my friends, thank you for enabling a wonderful day of bowling with my teacher. I hope your stupidity hasn’t killed your son or anyone else.

Going Back To Knight School

, , , , , , | | Related | May 18, 2019

(When I’m in junior high school, my mother cannot, by any stretch, get my Language Arts teacher’s name right. For the sake of exemplifying how she butchers it, we’re going to say my teacher’s name is Ms. Knightly, and she always says, “Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly.” The hyphens are just for show; she says it at a normal pace. After the first report cards and the subsequent Parent-Teacher night to discuss students’ progress, this conversation follows.)

Mom: “Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly had nothing but praise for you.”

Me: “Knightly, Mom. Her name is Ms. Knightly.”

Mom: “Oh, okay. Yeah…” *goes on about my other teachers* “…but Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly adores you.”

(Different versions of this story play out almost daily following this meeting, with no change ever being made. I figure the inevitable reality is she is never going to get it right, so I stop caring so much once she realizes she should never address my teacher by name if she sees her. Later that same year, my grandmother dies. We make funeral arrangements, and this happens:)

Mom: “The closest funeral home to her church and the cemetery would be Knightly Funeral Parlor.”

Me: “Where?”

Mom: “Knightly Funeral Parlor.”

Me: “What’s my teacher’s name again?”

Mom: “Ms. Kin-ig-hit-ly.”

Me: “Mom, it’s the same as the funeral parlor, down to the spelling. You just pronounced that perfectly.”

Mom: “Really? Huh.”

Me: “So, what’s my Language Arts teacher’s name?”

Mom: “Kin-ig-hit-ly.”

(No, she wasn’t screwing with me. So, some form of the first conversation continued until I transferred schools and no longer had Ms. Knightly. And it continues to this day when my mother decides to reminisce about my school life and comes to my year with Ms. Knightly.)

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