Monthly Archives: August 2011
Kustomer: So we’re almost at the House on the Hill, right?
Me: Do you mean The House On The Rock? (And seriously folks, if you’re in Wisconsin and you’ve never been there, you should go. It’s an awesome place.)
Me: It’s about an hour from here.
Kustomer: But I was told it was an hour from where I was, and I’ve been driving an hour already!
Me: What road were you supposed to take to get there?
Kustomer: I don’t know.
Me: You…don’t know?
Me: You didn’t get directions before you started out?
Me: You’ve just been driving around?
Me: So how were you planning on finding it?
Kustomer: Aren’t there signs?
Me: Maybe occasionally, depending on if you’re going in the right direction.
Kustomer: So am I?
Me: I don’t know. I don’t know where you came from.
Kustomer: That’s not very helpful.
I sold him a map.
(It’s been a slow week on the day shift, but here’s one fresh from the night shift!)
“Had a bunch of boy scouts from and 3 leaders from [a long way away]. So far they’ve bought 3 quarts of oil, 1 gallon of anti-freeze and 2 bottles of Radiator Stop-Leak. I don’t know, but I think if I was taking a bunch of kids that weren’t mine 3 hours from home, I would have my car checked out before I left.”
So, a girl (late teens/early twenties) puts four candy bars, a bottle of juice and a bag of chips on the counter. I ring up the bottle of juice and the chips first and only then does she stop me.
“Wait,” she says, and pushes forward a single candy bar, neatly cut from the herd. “Ring this up first. By itself.”
“I already started on the other things,” I say. “Do you want to pay for them first and then we can do that one as a separate transaction?”
“No,” she says. “I told you to ring this up first.”
With a mental shrug, I void the transaction, wait until the cash register spits out the receipt of rejection, and start over, ringing up the single candy bar as directed. She pays me with a twenty dollar bill from her right front pocket. I give her the change. She puts it in her right front pocket.
“Now the rest.” She taps her fingers impatiently on the counter.
I ring up the rest.
She reaches into her left front pocket and, you guessed it, pays me with a twenty dollar bill.
And I really, really, really want to say something.
But I don’t.
A minute ago, a disgruntled man came in and asked, “Do you have the Sunday paper in here?”
“Well, no, because–” I started, only to be cut off.
“You only have Saturday papers in the boxes out front! Did someone forget to put new ones in?”
“Today is Saturday,” I said.
He stared at me in silence for a very long moment.
Then he left.
A little while ago, I noticed a garbage can on the verge of overflowing by one of the pumps, so I grabbed a fresh bag and during a rare customer-free moment, sallied forth bravely to take care of it. I pulled off the lid, grabbed a double handful of bag, gave it a businesslike lift…and nothing happened.
The thing weighed a ton.
Upon investigation, I realized that some clever soul had taken their own non-subtle white garbage bag (chock-full of whatever) and rammed it into our already full enough thank-you-very-much, garbage bag. This is really freakin’ annoying, to tell you the truth. Anyway, I decided to remove the intruder first, reasoning that this would enable me to get our bag out without my needing back surgery or a Medflight or something.
So, Garbage Can – Take Two. I reached in, grabbed the white bag, gave a businesslike lift and as it cooperatively popped loose from the can to about the level of my chest, it exploded.
I’m not saying that the bottom dropped out of it. I’m saying it exploded. Because it exploded.
Plastic bags rip. I know this already from bitter experience. Too many times, I have felt the dreaded “brown goo” seeping through my shoes from a leaking garbage bag, no matter how carefully I tried to hold it at arm’s length while waddling at breakneck toward the dumpster. And Heaven forbid that I wear sandals. Really, the brown goo is everything noxious you can imagine, all condensed and pureed. Brown goo on bare skin would probably give me leprosy at the very least.
But at least I know to expect brown goo. And this wasn’t it.
Never before have I seen this level of catastrophic disintegration. And never before, in the line of duty, have I found myself liberally splattered with…
In a vague way, I’d be quite interested to find out if the gasses from watermelon decay can interact with the chemical compounds in plastic.
In a more immediate way, I’d really like a shower.
I’m at home, enjoying the evening, but just had to post this from my counterpart:
“Just had a girl in here who was on her way home from a picnic in Rockford, Ill. She lives on the north side of Chicago. Didn’t the Welcome to Wisconsin sign give her a clue she was going the wrong way?”
Apparently no more than going past several noteworthy Wisconsin towns, the entire city of Madison, a few prominently advertised cheese shops, a couple thousand cars with WI license plates on them, and the Wisconsin River. *sigh*
A lady comes in, places a wadded up and noticeably soggy pair of jeans in the middle of the check-0ut counter and says, “Can I have a plastic bag to put these in? My dog just had a seizure in the car and peed all over my lap.”
“I love you,” he murmured, his hushed voice throbbing in the timbre of a powerful passion, unfettered after too long a separation.
And it was just a lousy can of Red Bull!
Yesterday afternoon, a man came out of the restroom and said, “You might want to check in there when you get a chance.”
Those are not words that inspire confidence.
He was grinning ear to ear.
That didn’t help.
Before I could investigate, a few other guys meandered in and—of course—visited the facilities. They also came out grinning.
Eventually, preemptively holding my breath, I infiltrated the domain of the Y Chromosomed.
And I had to laugh too.
Just to back up for a minute, public restrooms play habitat to a variety of different species…most of whom apparently think that toilet seats are chock-full of flesh eating bacteria. Or piranhas.
Among those species you can find the Hoverers whose derrieres are never quite allowed to touch down, as it were. Hoverers are a self-perpetuating species because they inevitably leave traces of…well, they leave traces on the seat, and so the next person who enters the inner-sanctum will either take note of those…traces…and become Temporary Hoverers themselves, or they will not notice the traces in time and in one horrible moment of epiphany will have been converted into Hoverers For Life.
Then there are the Insatiably Curious. They are apparently so fascinated by the body beautiful in all its natural processes that they will stand up and turn around to see what exactly it is they are doing, while they are doing it. While a Hoverer’s visit can be identified via “trace” evidence, the Insatiably Curious leave behind something better described with the words, “blast radius”.
And then we come to our apparent visitor yesterday. The Nester.
Nesters are actually quite common. I’m sure you’ve seen evidence of their existence. Probably every time you’ve ever visited a public restroom. Nesters are convinced that when it comes to germ-killing and bacteria-blocking, there is no more formidable tool in the arsenal than…toilet paper. Unlike the Hoverers, Nesters believe that it’s perfectly safe to sit as long as they’ve established a nice little barrier of highly porous paper around the circumference of the toilet seat.
A casual nester will use only a few strategically placed lengths of paper. I suspect that they’re the ones with Moms who made them nest when they were kids (“Put down some paper! Do you want to catch a disease?!”) and now that they’re grown they think it’s silly, but they can’t quite shake the habit. There ought to be a self-help book about this.
Then there are the truly dedicated Nesters, who leave toilet paper streamers festooned everywhere in their wake. Naturally, nests have to be left behind because actually touching one after the deed is done causes contamination and you’ll catch leprosy or something. Sometimes you’ll catch a glimpse of a nester with a telltale streamer following along behind them, stuck to their shoe. My policy is not to point that out to them. I never bother the wildlife.
But this time, all unknowing, we played host to the Nester King.
When I ventured into The Forbidden Country, I found a toilet that was just barely visible beneath a beautifully elaborate construction that surely must have taken at least an entire roll of paper and an engineering degree. I counted over eight individual layers as I noted with admiration the cleverly creased edging with the charmingly scalloped appearance and the multiple strategically placed folds for extra cushion in an ergonomically friendly design. It screamed luxury and elegance. I kept expecting a ghostly Ricardo Montalban to appear in the stall to extol its virtues. This Nester must have been the human equivalent of a bower bird. Seldom has a throne been so richly appointed.
I dismantled it, of course. With a dustpan a broom, a garbage can and two flushes. It’s part of my job. But never, in my long and traumatic history of setting the restroom to rights after a visitation by a Hoverer, Insatiably Curiosity or a Nester, have I felt guilty about it.
I really wish I’d had a camera.
Yesterday, I made a Facebook post, thusly:
I think I’m going to die. I reached in to a windshield wash bucket for what I assumed was a carelessly discarded rag and came up with a handful of chicken carcass. Bleached white. With my bare hand. There is not enough hand sanitizer in the world to make this right.