“I thought you an’ I’d already settled the roles in the fucker/fuckee relationship! I guess I thought wrong!” — Garth Ennis
A woman in her early forties came in, smiling, and started asking me for recommendations for her eleven year old son. She was cheerful, knowledgeable about what her son read, and funny. This is only of note because most parents come in armed with “I have an eleven year old. What is good?” And when I ask what their child reads or what their child’s gender is, or whether their children are sentient humans or two burlap sacks with creepy button eyes and no mouths, they just shrug.
"He’s really into Tolkien right now." She said.
"Ok, have you heard of Bone?" I asked.
She had not, so she listened to my spiel for a couple of minutes and then said “Sorry to interrupt, but I just remembered. He wanted me to get something called Preacher.”
I raised my left eyebrow.
"Is that appropriate for an eleven year old?"
I walked over to my computer and showed her Preacher: The Fuckin Short Version.
She laughed for about a solid minute, and then walked over to the shelf and purchased a copy of Bone #1.
I am sitting at work, with a mountain of paperwork to complete. Not an overwhelming amount, but more than I usually have to do.
I am starving, but there are people in the store, and I am working alone. So I use one of those nifty online food ordering services that were so very popular in 2009. I find a restaurant that I like but haven’t ordered from in a year or so, select some comestibles, and click the “Order food” link.
A minute later I get an e-mail confirmation that reads “Pick-up.”
I call the place I’ve ordered from. “Hi, I just placed an online order, and got a confirmation e-mail letting me know when it would be ready for pick up. I am at work, and had placed the order for delivery.”
The voice on the other end is pretty friendly, but definitely chewing gum. “Ok. Let me check. Nope. I don’t see an order yet.”
"Ok. Well when one comes in with My Name on it, could you make sure it’s marked for delivery and not take out?"
She moves the receiver to sigh, but I still hear her. “Sure thing. Your phone number?”
I give her my number.
"Ok, and your address is (Street I Lived On A Couple Of Years Ago)?"
"Nope." I say. "I’m at work. My address is My Work Address."
"And that’s in Random Town?" She asks.
"Nope. It’s in Town I Am Currently In."
"Same thing, though." She says.
"Not really." I say. "If you send my food to Random Town, I won’t get it."
She puts the phone slightly down, and has a conversation with someone who says “No, they’re not the same place.”
"But close enough?" She asks.
"No." the mysterious guy she is talking to says.
"Ok." she gives me a price "That should be to you in, I don’t know, a half hour."
"Ok." I say, smiling through the phone.
A minute later the phone rings. The voice on the other end of the line sounds irritated. “You just called here about a delivery order, right?”
I reply in the affirmative.
"Ok. There’s an additional two dollar delivery charge." she says, as though this will enrage me.
"That’s fine." I say. "I’m sorry the ordering service complicated things by telling you it was a pickup. I have no problem paying a two dollar delivery fee."
"There’s also a two dollar gratuity fee." She says.
Now this is stupid because I always tip at lest five dollars on a delivery EXCEPT when there’s a delivery fee, then I pay that flat rate. But I recognize that most people don’t tip the way I do, as most of them either never had to work in the service industry, or else are Horrible People. “No problem.” I say.
She hangs up without any further information.
About ten minutes later my phone rings. “Hi is this My Name?”
"Yes it is." I say.
"I have a delivery for you. It says here you’re at Work Address."
"That’s correct." I say. "But I don’t see you."
"Crap." He grunts. "You’re in Town I’m In, and not Random Town, aren’t you?"
"I am. I was pretty clear to the person who took my order, too."
"I know." He says. "I’m the one who told her they weren’t the same…Look, I’ll be there in about ten minutes, okay?"
And in about ten minutes, he shows up with my food, which is still pretty hot. “I’m sorry. The woman who…she…it’s her last week.”
I smile and hand him the money, which includes more than the flat gratuity rate because his day is clearly sucking, and none of this seems to be his fault.
"I mean, we are having a HUGE party when she leaves."
I nod my head. “A going away party. Nice.”
His face gets very serious. “Yea. But she’s not invited.”
"Oh, that’s not very nice." I say. "You have to invite her. You should just have the party in Town I Am In, and tell her the party is in Random Town."
He smiles and walks back to his car.
I have worn that smile before. It didn’t go well for the person I was angry with.
A very nice girl comes into the store, and finds our very small playing card section.
"Alice in Wonderland!" She says. "That is my favorite book!"
I smile. It is also one of my favorites. “But that’s not the book. It’s nothing but a pack of cards!”
She frowns at me. “What?”
"Nothing but a pack of cards." ******SPOILER ALERT***** "That’s what Alice says before she wakes up at the end of the book."
"it’s kind of her ‘Hasta La Vista Baby’ moment."
She says “I don’t remember that part of the movie.”
"Well, it’s in the book. And the Disney movie. And, I’m pretty sure it’s in the TV movie, too."
"It’s not in the Johnny Depp one." She says. "The good one."
"But you’ve read the book, right?"
Blank stare. “It’s a kid’s book.”
"But it’s your favorite book." I say. "You said so."
"The movie is my favorite book."
I am all out of words today.