Friday, September 29, 2006

Service with a Groan

When did it become ok for people to put down servers and counter clerks?
Seriously? When did it become ok for ANYONE to be put down?
I went to Panera Bread tonight to pick up some dinner for my wife. We forgot to defrost dinner last night...oops.
So I have this couple in front of me. The guy is a wannabe goomba. I say wannabe because he can't pull it off.
His girlfriend, who is standing with him, is one of those gals that thinks she's still 17 and in high school, even though she's in her 30's. How do I know? She's wearing low cut jeans, a shirt that's a little too high in some place and low in others, and a "Hollister" jacket. From the moment I got in line behind these people, I could sense trouble.
Though it was a rough week, I was actually in a better than average mood, and when I feel good, I whistle. Not really loud, but I whistle just the same. The tune in my head was "Something Stupid" by Sinatra.
Again, this is a low whistling, ok? Not the kind that everyone in the place can here. It's barely audible. Yet, as the guy in front of me is ordering, his girlfriend turns and stares at me.
Being the pleasant person I am, I nod a hello.
It is not returned.
"All right, I want a Smokehouse Turkey Sandwich...and soup...Chicken Noodle. She wants the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad. That's it."
The kid behind the counter starts ringing it up.
"What side do you want, sir?"
"I want a sourdough roll."
"We're out, sir. Sorry."
"What the hell?!" This is yelled loud enough that people on the other end of the restaurant turn and stare. "How can you be out?!"
"We sold out, sir."
"I want money off then. I'm not getting what I want!"
The manager sees this and comes over to talk to the guy. They go aside.
I order. I make it a point to be nice. This person is doing me a service. Sure, they're paid, but I figure they are still doing a service, so I have no reason to be mean to them.
I ask the kid, "Are you ok?"
"Yes. Thanks for asking."
"No problem. No one has the right to act that way."

What I don't see is Wannabe and his girlfriend are standing right there staring at me. I pretend not to notice.
After finishing, I have to walk right by them. Wannabe decides to stand in the way. However, being the navigator of hallways, I easily move around him.
Here's where it gets fun.
Wannabe follows me and keeps staring at me.
I stand by the counter waiting to be called by name, and I look over at Wannabe and his girlfriend.
Both of them stare at me, so again, I nod.
"What the hell are you looking at?" Wannabe asks.
"Excuse me?" I reply.
Thinking I'm stupid (or he's funny), I am told, ""
"Just looking at my surroundings."
"Mind your own business next time."
"Don't make it everyone's business, then," I reply without hesitation.
"Fuck you," Hollister Girl says.
"Nice," I reply, "Very mature."
"What'd you say to my girl?" Wannabe says while striking the look at me flex pose.
"Jesus Christ," I say under my breath. "I said your girlfriend is too old to look that way, and you need to stop posturing. Oh, and you need to treat the people who work here better." And with that, I turned and got some water.
Obviously two things happened here. The first was that I realized after speaking that I needed to shut the fuck up. The second was that Wannabe and Girl were obviously not prepared for what I said.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" Wannabe asks.
It's Friday. I've been through Homecoming week. I'm tired, and my ears aren't 100% yet, so I really don't want to deal with this.
"Look. Shut up. You talked down at Kyle over there. He's new (Didn't you see the trainee badge). No one has the right to act that way. So just shut up or hit me or whatever. I don't care."
Again, this was not expected. Wannabe and girl just stare. The manager, who is behind the counter serving the food, just stares. The other patrons stare. I felt like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Funny enough, Wannabe's food came up. They call his name. He grabs the bag, turns to me and says, "Go FUCK yourself, Jizzbag," and starts to walk out. Again, I couldn't keep my mouth shut.
"Have a nice day. Oh, and remember, that feeling in your ass? Probably you head."
I get the bird from each of them. I resist the temptation to bite my thumb at them.
The manager is quiet, and then says, "Thanks for sticking up for Kyle, but don't do that again or you'll be asked to leave."
"I understand. That's fine. He just had no right to be an asshole."
What has happened that we are now ok with people being dumped on? I imagine that no one had ever told this guy to that. I also imagine that he's the kind of guy who gets a 100 dollar tab and still tips two bucks.
We treat each other so badly. I saw it today at the high school. I expect that kids will talk down to each other, but there seems to be no boundaries anymore. Of course this also happens with colleagues.
I remember seeing an usher at the local movie theater be berated because he asked to see someone's ticket. Rather than waste the time by screaming and jumping up and down like a toddler, just get the damn ticket out.
Remember, these people are just trying to earn a living.
Be kind.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Ramblings for the Evening (09/25/06)

Hi. Remember me? Yeah, I'm back.
Status check.
My wife? Ill.
My son? Ok...and growing.
Me? Oy vey! But we'll get there.
Let's do it.
So, without further ado: GOOD KING OF CATS!
How You Doing?:
I'm hurting. I can't hear anything out of my left ear. My right ear, if I had to guess, is at about 40% the norm.
There's some pain, but not as much as last week.
So how did this happen?
I haven't a clue.
Last weekend I was feeling horrible, so I took a sick day (I know, I early in the year) on Monday. I would have slept...but that was the day the city sent the tree trimmers to my neighborhood. I can still hear that wood chipper. That damn wood chipper.
I figured a day off would be enough. I was wrong. The next morning, during my fifth period class, my ears started to feel funny. By the end of the day, my ear was closed. I figured a cold pill would be enough. Again...wrong. When I woke up on Wednesday, my ear was throbbing. Again, being the macho (read: idiot) I am, I went to work. By sixth period, my left ear felt like it was going to pop, and my right ear was starting to hurt. I went to Urgent Care.
I HATE Urgent Care. You know, dear reader, how much I hate doctors. Urgent Care is worse.
You sit in a common waiting area that's usually a plain white and very dreary with other people who look like extras from Night of the Living Dead. I was doubled over in pain (but, again, being the macho idiot, I attempted to grade). However, I was not the worst patient in there. There was the old couple with one person (the guy) carrying an Oxygen tank. There was the little kid who would cry, then run into the bathroom, grab toilet paper (don't ask me why), and would shred it. When it was all gone...she would start crying again. Four pregnant people, and another guy my age who looked like he had blood on his left arm.
I waited forty-five minutes, then the nurse called my name. I didn't hear her, but somone saw my ID on my shirt (we have to wear it in order to get into our building now) and told me she was calling me.
The nurse was nice enough. She kept talking to me, however, about her life and being from Iowa. I only heard maybe half of it.
Another twenty minute wait, and then I was in a room.
Another ten minutes (are you doing the math yet?) passed.
The doctor was obviously feeling rushed, was tired, and was in no mood to talk.
"What's the problem?" he asked in a gruff voice.
"Ears. I think I have an ear infection." I replied.
He took out his instruments and check my left ear first.
"Holy Christ," he mutters. "Sorry about that."
Then he checked my other ear.
"Ok, both your ears are infected. Your right is just starting. Your left, however, looks bad. It's beyond the red on this chart," which he indicated and then continued, "so your eardrum looks like it may be in trouble. Take these antibiotics and put these drops in your ear."
I thanked him.
"One thing," he says before leaving, "the drops will make your ears numb, so you won't be able to all."
"Great," I muttered.
Another ten minute wait while I get the meds.
Almost a week has passed now, and I really can't hear. The students may know, but they aren't showing it. I'm hoping that I've been faking it enough, though my principal tried to talk to me today, and I flat out told her, "I can't hear you." She thought I was being rude, so I had to explain.
What I'm more annoyed about, however, is that with my son being overtired on Saturday, my wife being sick (food poisoning), and my not really being able to hear, I had to cancel meeting with
the best photographer I know. Sure, she says it's not a problem, but it me. I hate not keeping appointments, and I REALLY hate being sick.
I freely admit that part of the problem is that losing my hearing is a fear of mine. As I've said many times: losing my eyesight wouldn't be a problem, but losing my hearing would devestate me in some ways. My life is based on sound and listening.
But I digress.
I hate being sick.
(Update: I went to another doctor. An Otolaryngologist, which is an ear, nose, and throat guy. He gave me stronger meds, which is good. I also had my hearing tested and learned that my left ear's hearing has been damaged, which is bad. The worst part was when the nurse handed the audiologist two charts. The Audiologist saw my name, but looked at the wrong chart. She started asking me questions about what surgery I was to have, and then tried to stick a needle in my ear to numb me. That was fun.)
What Do You Know?:
Many (former) students have been writing me, asking about how the year is going. To be honest? Ok.
There are good parts and bad parts.
Good? The students who want to learn.
Bad? The students who think they know better than me (as in they're smarter or whatever).
Good? Becoming the head of the English department and getting everyone to work with me.
Bad? The fact that there are still faculty members I work with who act like either A. jackasses, or B. the students.
Good? The fact that I know the material I'm teaching.
Bad? The fact that the students don't care.
Here's the deal. I miss last year's kids. I do. I miss my first class more, but I do miss the theatre kids from last year. They would seek me out to discuss the show, their issues, and more. Now? There are five students in the entire school who seek me out. I know many of the students, and many say, "hello," to me on a daily basis, but there are only a few that actually seek me out for help.
As to the rest of your questions? didn't hear it from me, but Ole Dr. G is doing a musical. A short one.
Football Comes To New Orleans:
It's amazing how America is of two minds about this:
On the one hand it's great that New Orleans was able to put the Superdome back together, but....
Aren't there things that are more important that haven't been fixed yet?
On the one hand it's great that New Orleans can celebrate something other than Mardi Gras.
On the one hand, the audience was very, very white, but....
Haven't a lot of folks moved on to other places?
I just find it fascinating how people are celebrating a football game as if it means the city is truly back.
Just an observation.
Diddy's Buddy:
A shameless plug.
Jason DeRusha went and spent the night with Diddy (not like that you sick little puppies!) last Tuesday.
How much you want to bet Jason's not long for the Twin Cities now? Off to LA he'll go.
Go and read about it.
That's all I got today.
Go and celebrate Margaret's work on Friday.
As for me? I'll be at the Homecoming Dance on Saturday night (regardless of my hearing).
Tomorrow? I have...another class. Awesome.