Monday, September 26, 2005

Pizza girl

One time when I was about 19 yrs old, I was hanging out with a guy I knew (older brother of a girl I later had a disastrous date with, but that's another long-ago blog post). We were having lunch at a pizza place. The waitress was college age, personable, and seriously hot. After lunch, I asked her for her phone number. Which was an odd thing to do, since at that time I did not date outside my church. So I'm not sure why I did it, really. Okay, I do know, and it was a couple of things:

1) I had heretofore in my life been painfully shy, dorky-looking, and socially backward. Girls had no use for me, and I had no idea how to talk to them. I had not even had a real date until I was 18. Asking a girl -- especially one that was so hot she was practically on fire -- for her phone # was about as far out of my range as flapping my arms and flying to the moon. So partly I asked Little Blonde Hottie Hood for her number just to prove I could.

2) I was showing off for my buddy. Because we'd both been pretty impressed from the moment she appeared at our table. So it was kind of a male competitiveness thing, like saying, "You may have liked her, but *I* got her number."

Which was all fine, except that she actually gave it to me. In my haste I had neglected to consider what would be required if I actually *obtained* the number.

What happened of course, is that now I had to call her. So I did. And asked her to dinner or maybe a movie or something, I don't remember what. Which she said was fine.

But then she called later and said she was really tired after work, and did I maybe just want to come to her apartment and hang out. And when I got there I realized I was seriously out of my depth. I did not drink/party, and I had no idea how to make small talk, and I was not sexually active (not that I'd had that much opportunity, to be honest, but it was still a deliberate choice on my part).

So I sat across from her and we chatted and she had wine and I had a glass of water and figured out that I was not the right man for this particular job. Since I wasn't going to try to close the deal, I didn't really know what else to say, so I finished my water and went home.


I'm tired of blog comment spam, so I turned on word-verification. Sorry for the inconvenience.

On the subject of spam, I can't believe the nonsense people spout to excuse their involvement in it. Bottom line, it is evil and there is no excuse for it.

I confess that sometimes I feel I would willingly destroy the businesses of the people responsible if I could. Not, like, by setting the building on fire or anything. Unless I could be sure the people weren't in the building. Or maybe if they were in the building and I could be sure they would get out in time and only get burned a little bit, like maybe their arms or something...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Then there's this, still not interesting...

When I was about 9 yrs old, our parents bought a new house. Among the things the previous owners left in the garage was a large glass punch bowl and 8 matching glass cups.
I was fooling around with them one day, and I accidentally dropped one. I lunged for it, but I was too late -- it hit the concrete garage floor. But the weird thing was, it didn't break -- it must have hit in just the right way, because instead of shattering, it bounced, and I caught it in the air.
I was astounded -- I'd never heard of such a thing (and I've never seen it since, either). So naturally, I called my brother into the garage, said "Hey, watch this!' And dropped it again. This time of course, it shattered into a million pieces. I swept them up and didn't tell anyone what happened, until now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

More about Mickey D's

It occurs to me to explain what has led me to my current position of Drive-up Nazi. When I was a kid, my family used to order food at the drive-thru window occasionally. We didn’t follow the guidelines I helpfully laid out in the last post. We didn’t try to figure out what we wanted BEFORE we pulled up to the speaker. To the rest of my family, the fact that they were going to have to choose a food item from the menu often appeared to come as a complete surprise.
This is how it went:
Okay… Hi. Um, we’d like… Honey, what do you want? Okay, a hamburger, with… no, a cheeseburger, with extra ketchup… and fries. What comes on the hamburger? Okay, make it no onions. And make the fries large. And a medium Coke. Teddie, what do *you* want? Well, they have hamburgers and hot dogs and French fries… Okay, a hamburger. You want it plain? Yeah, make that hamburger plain. Yeah, plain, just the meat and the bun. So, a cheeseburger, and a plain hamburger. No, just one cheeseburger, and one plain hamburger. What did you want to drink, Ted? And an orange drink, small. Wait, no, medium. And a medium order of French fries. Can we change that first cheeseburger to a double burger? Yeah, and onion rings instead of fries. Okay, Bryan, what do you want?

It's too painful to go through the rest. By the time we'd gotten thru the above, we’d only ordered for two people out of six, and the poor sucker taking the order already had no idea which hamburger is changed to a double, what’s ON the hamburger(s), how many orders of fries there are in what size, or his own name, probably. Our orders would’ve defeated the president of MENSA, and most of the people working at the drive-up window did not seem to be the president of MENSA. They never got it right, and I didn't blame them a bit. After we got our order, we would pull ahead and go through a hamburger-sorting extravaganza, with tears from the smaller ones when they discovered they had gotten extra mustard instead of no mustard, or perhaps their hamburger wasn’t even included in the order. Then Mom or Dad would go back in and get everything straightened out, and the whole thing would take about the same amount of time as raising and butchering our own beef at home. And I would sit in the back seat and cringe and squirm with embarrassment and frustration, and vow never to go through this with my own family.
So now I make my own kids figure out their order before we get into line, and mock and berate them unmercifully if they stutter or hesitate while giving it to me. And believe me, they way I make the drive-up experience – and their lives in general – miserable, they tend to stutter a lot...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Drivin' my life away

Just a little life tip for everyone:

THE DRIVE-THRU IS FOR PEOPLE WHO KNOW WHAT THEY WANT. See, the whole point of the thing is that it’s quick. It’s not about getting to use the speaker thingy or the thrill of ordering from your car. It’s called “fast food”, and the drive thru is supposed to be the fastest part of it.
So if you’re not sure what you want, go inside. Then you can take all the time you like pondering what size drink to get and exactly which dressing you want with your salad.
If you haven’t been to this chain at least five times, go inside until you learn the menu. If you have more than 4 people in your car, or more than two children, go inside. Other indicators that you should be ordering inside:

  • Your English is too heavily-accented to be understood thru the two-dollar speaker system they use.
  • You have more than two special requests, or your requests are more complicated than “extra tomato” or “no mustard”.
  • You’re going to ask the attendant to find a particular toy for your Kid’s Meal.
  • You’re towing anything.
  • You’re paying with change from the ashtray.
  • You have trouble making up your mind about things.

I mean, it’s a freaking fast food meal, people. What’s the worst that could happen if you don’t get exactly the right thing? While you’re trying to swap ingredients around to make a Big Mac into Chicken Cordon Bleu, the people in the cars behind you are getting older. They got into the drive-thru expecting to get a meal before their next birthday, and making them wait while you force the drive-thru attendant to explain the entire menu is annoying and bad for your karma.

Okay, then.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

and it's loot, loot, loot for the home team...

Can I just say this:
The media keeps talking about looting in New Orleans, etc, as if it's all about bad people taking advantage of the chaos to score themselves a new HDTV or whatever.
I suspect a large part of it is just people trying to get food or other necessities to survive, isn't it? And if it was my family that was hungry, you can bet I wouldn't stand there and gaze longingly thru the window of the flooded Safeway store. That would be me you see heaving a brick through and making my way back to my family with spaghetti-O's and Spam. Or possibly I would choose some actual food (as opposed to processed food-like substances), but you get the point.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

okay, that's enough of that

That's all the positive stuff I have time for right now. Back to things I'd like to whine about...

At the Sacramento International Airport, there is one onsite gas station. Who do you think they gave the franchise to? I'll tell you: to AM/PM, the one station in the entire country that DOESN'T TAKE CREDIT CARDS. Am I the only person who thinks this is the most ridiculous decision ever? Q: Who's filling up at that station? A: People returning rental cars. Q: What are 99% of car rentals done on? A: On a company credit card. If there was ever in the history of man a prediction you could make about your target market, it would be that the people returning their cars WILL WANT TO USE THEIR BLANKING CREDIT CARDS TO PAY FOR THEIR GAS. Okay, so that's that, then.

As for Alamo (the car rental company, not the fort), here's a sneaky thing they do: if you upgrade your rental from, say, a midsize to a fullsize, they charge an extra $9 per day. The sneaky thing is they itemize the "car class change" as a separate item, chargeable once per 24-hr day. So if you return your car two days and two hours after you rent it (like I did), you pay for two days at the old rate, plus two hours at the hourly rate, plus THREE days of "car class change".
And it's not the nine bucks -- it's not even my money, the client pays it -- but to me it represents an attitude toward your customer (ie, hold still while I gouge you) that I dont' like. I think it's representative of a company that just doesn't get it.
And speaking of not getting it, I very friendlily explained to the mgr at the desk that in case she cared, that policy would be causing me to rent somewhere else next time. She looked at my contract and informed me that "No, we charged you what you agreed to." Which was not my point, of course -- I had started off by explaining that I wasn't suggesting anyone had cheated me, or that the bill was wrong -- I just wanted her to know that a former customer (a tiny piece of the market share they spend millions of $ every year fighting for) was leaving. Here was an actual customer they had already earned, who was taking the time to explain what he wanted in a car rental company, and whom they could keep if they wanted to -- all it would cost them would be a little under nine bucks. She suggested I call the customer service number to voice my complaint. Which is something I might do IF I WAS STILL A CUSTOMER, but since I'm NOT STILL A CUSTOMER, why would I take the time? Okay.

And another thing: I've mentioned this before, but what is it with people who have to stake out a spot at the baggage carousel right where the bags come out? Are they afraid someone else is going to jump in and take their bag if they don't grab it right away? Do they think there's a prize for getting your bag first? My new policy is this: when I see my bag come down the chute onto the carousel, I elbow my way through the people standing glued to the prime spots and pick up my bag. Then I wait for someone to say something so I can say "Well, since your bag ISN'T here, and my bag IS, I thought maybe I would pick it up." It helps to be 200 lbs and 6'3" in cowboy boots.

Finally: we need a program to make old people not have their mouths open so much while they're driving or looking at things. It's starting to bug me.

i got that joy joy joy joy, down in my...

It has come to my attention that this space has become sort of depressing lately, or at least a little on the serious/heavy side. I'm feeling that more chuckles, less thinking is the ticket. So in an effort to stay positive, let me list here a few things that I really really like. (Like the "Favorite Things" song from Sound of Music, except not so gay.) Anyway, for the record, I really like pie. And hockey. And stand-up comedy. And heavy moist bread/cake of any type. And fireworks, camping, fishing, riding ATVs, sleeping, sex, barbershop quartet music, romantic comedies, mountains/trees/rivers/lakes, powdered-sugar-covered doughnuts, snorkeling, soccer, Mark Twain, motorcycles, heavy bass, women with long hair, post-apocalypse stories, leather gloves, dark chocolate, languages, exploding things, political/philosophical debate, ethnic/culture jokes, thigh-high stockings or boots, juggling, and dogs.
This list should not be considered exhaustive, but would work as a starting point if you were thinking of getting me something. All for now.