Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cusstomer Service

Maybe, just maybe, had the woman just handed me the damn sandwich, the rest of the day would have gone okay. But there she was, talking as fast as she could with, of all people, her manager, and neither one of them remembered there was a man who had paid for the sandwich and now they were having a conversation about whose fault it was there were no bell peppers in a metal container. I could be on my way. I reached over the counter and slid the sandwich over to me, wrapped it, and walked out without either one of them so much as noticing as to whether or not I had two heads, or a live anaconda running into one of my nostrils and out of the other. I didn’t if that makes any difference, but maybe, just maybe, if I had…
No sooner had I walked out of the sandwich place, with my sandwich that wasn’t wrapped properly so I was trying to figure out what was wrong, a stranger approaches me and speaks, in a manner of speaking,
“Hey boy where is the Driver’s License place? Don’t you know or not?” and this from a man who looks all the world as if he just got out of bed, in a ditch, and his accent speaks to the evidence he believes college is where they play football.
“No” I reply. I do know. But I am not going to try to explain to someone who left their brain at home how to get somewhere.

“You ain’t from around here none?”

Let’s break this down, shall we? Is he asking if I am from here somewhat? Is he asking me if I am or am I not from here? Oh, I know what he’s asking, but I’m really not in the mood to interpret. This is like an American going to Germany and just assuming someone speaks English.

“Yes, I ain’t.” I say.
“You ain’t?” He’s taken aback by this. If I had said “No, I ain’t” that would have meant no. By saying “Yes, I ain’t.” Isn’t that like saying yes?
“Yes I ain’t.” I repeat and he retreats. It’s not bad enough these people have to use some made up word that makes them sound like they graduated from the third grade in the top ninety-nine percent of their class, but once you start fooling around with their National Word it fries out their minds like not seeing wrestling on Friday nights.
I get that a lot around here. I can be around a group of locals who do not know me and within a few minutes someone is going to ask where I’m from. It’s the articulation and enunciation that does it. I rarely use contractions. I never say the word ain’t unless there is a reason. Double negatives piss me off. And it irritates me this has irritated me, and I know exactly where the man wants to go, and I know why he’s missed a turn and where. I should have overlooked it and gone on with the day, but I didn’t and I know damn well karma is going to get me.
It does.

Karma comes in the form of the two forms of local transportation I despise the most; school buses and trains. School buses are hard to pass, they are driven by people who are on a schedule and have a billions kids ( and their parents) to deal with, and trains exist to block traffic. The turn off of US84 onto Clay is tight and there is little room between the tracks and the road. A bus pulls in, stops because there are tracks, and before it can move, the guy in the train drops the arms. I’m behind the bus and a guy pulls in behind me, and he’s in the road. If he gets hit, it will push him into me. The arms lift, the bus moves forward, the arms drop, the bus backs up, repeat three or four times. There is a very good reason no one allows me to have a plasma cannon in the 90 watt range with mutate capability mounted in the back of a truck. Meanwhile, everyone behind me edges closer. If the kids on that bus attack, I am doomed. Damn, it occurs to me this may be the plan. They’re willing to box me in, sacrifice me, so the rest can live. Oh the humanity!
In my life I have dated one woman who was the classically beautiful blue eyed blonde. She was as insane as the day in long and the night is black. The blue and blonde thing never really did it for me anyway. I like things dark and mysterious, although one of the smartest people I have ever met was a woman who was blue eyed and blonde. But this one is neither smart, nor am I dating her, and as a matter of fact, I dislike her within seconds. I went to the other store to pick up a few things and I always hate myself for trading the convenience of a store on the way for the surety of the quality of service of the store across town. The self check out kiosk freaks out that I put my cloth bag in the bagging area and it freezes. I have to reload, and since blue and blonde is a cashier with an open lane, I got there. She’s at the most eighteen and she is showing. And she is pissed at the world. She snarls at me, ignores my cloth bags, put the plastic bagged stuff in the cloth bag when I point out I have my own bags, and she snarls at me when I take the plastic bags out of my bags. But one thing I have learned in life’ you will lose any argument, no matter how large, or how small, with a woman who is pregnant, to any degree of month.


I fled.

Take Care,


  1. Cusstomer Service is right...it will definitely make you cuss (or want to!)

    The thing that struck me most about this piece Mike was talking about the locals and how you don't sound like them. Sometimes, in trying to talk intelligently with people, we are used to talking only about who slept with who, who's getting a divorce from whom, who's pregnant and for whom...you can easily confuse them by simply talking about current events or how we rank so pitifully in education when compared with the rest of the world....their eyes start to glaze over, it's more than they can comprehend and they look at you as if you're speaking a foreign language, which you are as far as they're concerned.
    I can't tell you how many people start talking about who got eliminated from Dancing with the Stars or American Idol and then i get that same glazed look...because as far as I'm concerned they're speaking a foreign language :)

  2. Thank you Rose but I doubt if many swamp people keep up with reality shows. The Swamp is reality