Monday, January 01, 2007

You Do Work Here...?

Saturday was Trash Day chez Jingo. Wonder Woman and I loaded up Truck-Truck* with the month's castoffs and made our merry way to the Loudoun County Landfill.

Saturdays feature the Household Trash Blue-Light Special down't the Dump. Other days, they weigh you on the way in, weigh you on the way out, and the difference determines the price you pay. Saturdays, with the big weekend rush, they charge a flat fee of $5 and forgo the weighing. This expedites the queue, certainly, and is a handy convenience for the Trash Do-It-Yourselfer.

On the approach to the entrance to the dump, a man stood accosting incoming vehicles, taking money from some and directing others, with burdens of something other than regular trash, to the scales. I rolled down the window, and said in my jocular Saturday way, "I've got some household trash to get rid of, and I've heard this is the place to do it."

Picking up on my jesting tone, he replied, "Well, only if you have five dollars!"

I reached for my wallet, fished out a sawbuck. About to hand it to him, I suddenly paused. My eyes narrowed and I said, mock-suspiciously, "Say, you do work here, don't you?"

Oddly enough, a similar thing happened at lunch. We were killing time between two of Freddie's soccer-tournament games, me, Wonder Woman, Freddie and the Matriarch. It was one of those chain places with antique-ish farming implements and sporting goods festooning the walls. I was well into a rather passable hamburger, having already three times reassured the oversolicitous waiter that yes, everything at our table was quite satisfactory and that we did not at this exact moment require any refills on our brimming drinks.

A rather large woman, wearing, I'm prepared to swear, not a single stitch of natural fiber in her somewhat severe clothing, approached our table. She caught my eye and enquired whether our meals and the service were to our satisfaction. (I'm being kind. I think she barked, "Everything okay here, folks?") Assured that everything was, in fact, no less than completely jake, she lurched on to other tables, frightening small children with her guttural obsequy.

"Do you suppose she works here?" I wondered aloud.

The incident inspired a train of thought. Suppose, just suppose, that one were to enter some restaurant, dressed in one's best managerial orlon and a natty little clip-on tie, and, without attracting the attention of the staff, proceed from table to table interviewing the customers: "Is your meal to your satisfaction, sir?" "Everything to your liking, ma'am?" "Can we get you anything else, folks?"

What a wheeze! A-and wouldn't it be great to find a table where the service has been lousy, the food worse, and the customer satisfaction level at a historic low? "This soup is stone cold, our second course is forty-five minutes late, and I can see the waiter out in the parking lot smoking a cigarette!"

What a chance to go all Basil Fawlty on his ass: "Oh, Jesus Christ, these people! You try managing this pathetic bunch! God damn it! I've told them and told them -- but do they listen? Oh, no!" I can imagine the hysteria in my voice rising with every utterance: "And the people we get in here! God almighty, they think they're the goddamned Queen of Sheba, demanding this and ordering that, acting all fucking put out because we use the wrong kind of fucking oil for Darling Little Madison's fucking peanut allergy! Go to hell! Just go straight to fucking hell!"

I reckon I'd have about four seconds to reach the door. Piece of cake.

This is something I'm going to have to do before I die.

*Let's go riding in my Truck-Truck
Let's go riding in my Truck-Truck
Let's go riding in my Truck-Truck
Then we'll come home and fuck!


Kevin Wolf said...

Do it when you're retired and have nothing else to occupy your time. I do believe there are already folks out there doing exactly this to kill the hours of their long and empty days.

Be sure to steal as many ketchup and sugar packets as you can while making your rounds.

Akatabi said...

As long as you are not accepting any cash or offering medical or legal service, it's hard to see what crime they could charge you with, even if pinched. I'm sure you would make an imposter of a quality with the Earl of Ickenham.

H. Rumbold, Master Barber

Spc. Freeman said...

I'm reminded by your vignette at the dump of Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant." *Laughs* Also, ten points for the John Cleese reference.

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

"Other days, they weigh you on the way in, weigh you on the way out, and the difference determines the price you pay."

I laughed upon reading that, immediately picturing my brother-in-law, who would no doubt acquire more shit than he came in with during his visit. I suppose they'd owe him a few bucks upon his exit!

Smashed said...

Dear Neddie,

I've read your post, and whilst doing so ran across the word "obsequy".

One presumes by this that you meant to convey "an obsequious utterance" or something to that effect. Although the words do have extraordinarily similar etymologies, according to Merriam Webster obsequy is defined as follows:

Main Entry: ob·se·quy
Pronunciation: 'äb-s&-kwE
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural -quies
Etymology: Middle English obsequie, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin obsequiae (plural), alteration of Latin exsequiae, from exsequi to follow out, execute -- more at EXECUTION
: a funeral or burial rite -- usually used in plural

Is this what you intended to say?

Yours Sincerely...

Neddie said...


Is this what you intended to say?

But of course. The woman was lumbering around the room, pronouncing funeral rites on peoples' enthusiasm for their lunches.

Fascinating. I did actually look it up with my Mac's desktop dictionary before using it, but read the derivation too quickly. "Obsequious" is the adjectival form of "obsequy," but you're right, you can't back-form in this case: the noun as I used it is not the Moe Juiced.

Nice to know people still use dictionaries.

Spc. Freeman: Did you get the "Truck-Truck" ref.? Guthries, pere et fils, abound in these parts.

BSUWG: Your brother-in-law and I would kill each other within 14 seconds. Keep him away from me.

Rumbold: Toodle-pip!

The Viscount LaCarte said...

What a great idea for a book. I can see you on The Today Show now...

Matt Lauer: So let's set the scene here Ned. You actually went into different establishments and impersonated members of the management staff?

Ned: They give you a free bowl of soup with that haircut Matt?


dSmith said...

I've wanted to stand in the front of a restaurant on a winters eve and solicitiously ask incoming patrons "May I take your coat?" When they give it me I would thank them,
allow as I've always wanted a coat like that and bolt.

XTCfan said...

Alternatively, you could commit suicide if things weren't just right:

Lady: It's nice here, isn't it?

Man: Oh, very good restaurant, three stars you know.

Lady: Really?

Man: Mmm...

Waiter: Good evening, sir! Good evening, madam! And may I say what a pleasure it is to see you here again, sir!

Man: Oh thank you. Well there you are, dear. Have a look there, anything you like. The boeuf en croute is fantastic.

Waiter: Oh if I may suggest, sir ... the pheasant à la reine, the sauce is one of the chefs most famous creations.

Man: Em... that sounds good. Anyway just have a look... take your time. Oh, er by the way -- got a bit of a dirty fork, could you ... er... get me another one?

Waiter: I beg your pardon.

Man: Oh it's nothing ... er, I've got a fork a little bit dirty. Could you get me another one? Thank you.

Waiter: Oh ... sir, I do apologize.

Man: Oh, no need to apologize, it doesn't worry me.

Waiter: Oh no, no, no, I do apologize. I will fetch the head waiter immediatement.

Man: Oh, there's no need to do that!

Waiter: Oh, no no... I'm sure the head waiter, he will want to apologize to you himself. I will fetch him at once.

Lady: Well, you certainly get good service here.

Man: They really look after you... yes.

Head Waiter: Excuse me monsieur and madame. (examines the fork) It's filthy, Gaston ... find out who washed this up, and give them their cards immediately.

Man: Oh, no, no.

Head Waiter: Better still, we can't afford to take any chances, sack the entire washing-up staff.

Man: No, look I don't want to make any trouble.

Head Waiter: Oh, no please, no trouble. It's quite right that you should point these kind of things out. Gaston, tell the manager what has happened immediately! (The Waiter runs off)

Man: Oh, no I don't want to cause any fuss.

Head Waiter: Please, it's no fuss. I quite simply wish to ensure that nothing interferes with your complete enjoyment of the meal.

Man: Oh I'm sure it won't, it was only a dirty fork.

Head Waiter: I know. And I'm sorry, bitterly sorry, but I know that... no apologies I can make can alter the fact that in our restaurant you have been given a dirty, filthy, smelly piece of cutlery...

Man: It wasn't smelly.

Head Waiter: It was smelly, and obscene and disgusting and I hate it, I hate it ,.. nasty, grubby, dirty, mingy, scrubby little fork. Oh ... oh . . . oh . . . [runs off in a passion as the manager comes to the table]

Manager: Good evening, sir, good evening, madam. I am the manager. I've only just heard ... may I sit down?

Man: Yes, of course.

Manager: I want to apologize, humbly, deeply, and sincerely about the fork.

Man: Oh please, it's only a tiny bit... I couldn't see it.

Manager: Ah you're good kind fine people, for saying that, but I can see it.., to me it's like a mountain, a vast bowl of pus.

Man: It's not as bad as that.

Manager: It gets me here. I can't give you any excuses for it - there are no excuses. I've been meaning to spend more time in the restaurant recently, but I haven't been too well... (emotionally) things aren't going very well back there. The poor cook's son has been put away again, and poor old Mrs Dalrymple who does the washing up can hardly move her poor fingers, and then there's Gilberto's war wound - but they're good people, and they're kind people, and together we were beginning to get over this dark patch ... there was light at the end of the tunnel . .. now this . .. now this...

Man: Can I get you some water?

Manager: (in tears) It's the end of the road!!

[The cook comes in; he is very big and comes a meat cleaver.]

Cook: (shouting) You bastards! You vicious, heartless bastards! Look what you've done to him! He's worked his fingers to the bone to make this place what it is, and you come in with your petty feeble quibbling and you grind him into the dirt, this fine, honourable man, whose boots you are not worthy to kiss. Oh... it makes me mad... mad! (slams cleaver into the table)

The head waiter comes in and tries to restrain him.

Head Waiter: Easy, Mungo, easy... Mungo... (clutches his head in agony) the war wound!... the wound... the wound...

Manager: This is the end! The end! Aaargh!! (stabs himself with the fork)

Cook: They've destroyed him! He's dead!! They killed him!!! (goes completely mad)

Head Waiter: (trying to restrain him) No Mungo... never kill a customer. (in pain) Oh . .. the wound! The wound! (he and the cook fight furiously and fall over the table)


Man: Lucky we didn't say anything about the dirty knife!

[Courtesy Monty Python ... of course.]