Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Coffee Shame

So it's 90+ degrees here in the City. And nothing soothes ones soul on a hot summer day like a nice cup of iced coffee. As I sat at my desk with the 3PM doldrums, I thought I could really use a little pick-me-up to get through the rest of the afternoon. What better than a quick little trip over to the local D&D for some iced coffee. I quickly make my way downstairs, out the door and over to the nearby D&D. I happily wait in line, knowing that in just a few short minutes I will be privy to a great summer time treat: An iced coffee with half & half and splenda. My mouth continues to water as I sit writing this blog now. But 'wait a sec' (you are thinking to yourself) why would my mouth still be watering if just hours earlier I quenched my thirst with this special treat. Well, that is because those boys behind the counter at D&D are sporting cones of shame today for their poor iced coffee etiquette.

I get to the front of the line, I order my iced coffee and wait as it is prepared. And then they bring it over to me: it has 3 ice cubes in it. Really, I'm not joking, I counted them -- there were 3 ice cubes. So I take it back to the cashier and ask if I can have more ice. He looks at me as if I have just asked him in French for more ice. So again, I repeat: please, can you add some more ice -- it's all going to melt as soon as I step outside. Annoyed at my request he pushes it over to the side and yells at his sidekick: "ughhh she wants more ice." A few minutes pass and Mr. Sidekick finally makes his way over to put some extra ice in my cup. He hands it back to me and promptly walks away. There is more ice this time, but not much. I couldn't count the cubes, but let me just say this: it was an insufficient amount of cubeage to make me happy. However, I had already wasted enough time and needed to get back to work. I also secretly hoped that I was just being picky and that it would be perfectly fine.

However, my own ice-cube instincts proved me correct. Before I even got back to my office the ice had completely melted, thereby making the iced coffee a watered down yucky, un-delicious, unhappy mess.

Thus, I am still craving that nice summertime treat. I think I would have been better off just ordering a piping hot cup of joe. At least it would not have been watered down.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Cob of Shame????

Traveling always provides fresh fodder for writing on human behavior. Having traveled to the southwest of late, one would think that the choices of topics would be endless. However, there is no place like home!

By the end of June, the first fresh produce of the season is being sold in supermarkets, on street corners, and in numerous farmer's markets around the city. It is one of my favorite times as going to the market is like a department store at Christmas. There is so much fresh produce to choose from that one can easily get carried away and purchase much more than you can possibly eat before it spoils.

Corn on the cob is always a popular choice. The gentleman, I am using this term loosely, that I met today is surely a corn connoisseur. How do I know this? Well, if you are a serious corn buyer, you must know how to check each ear of corn for it's suitability for your upcoming meal. You can peel the husk down far enough to insure that the corn is indeed mature, the kernels are plump and juicy, and that there is no evidence of disease. Most corn vendors provide buyers with a large barrel in which to discard the husks if they prefer to husk the corn at the market rather than at home. It can be a messy job so many like to leave the mess at the store.

Picture in your mind then, one large commercial trash can sitting by a huge bin of fresh corn. There are several people sorting through the offering. It is Saturday afternoon and the market is very busy. Two or three of us have selected our ears and turn to the trash can to clean our corn for the evening meal. It is not to be.

The entire LARGE trash can has been commandeered by the a fore mentioned gentleman. He has piled his treasure in easy reach, has extended his elbows for maximum coverage, and has planted his feet in a wide stance to be able to withstand any frontal attacks by fellow corn pickers. He is hunched over the barrel with only quick glances as the possible invaders while working diligently to get his ears completely free of corn silk. I am not sure if he is more fearful of losing his selected ears of corn or his prime location in front of the barrel.

There is a line forming, and I can tell you, it is not a friendly line. As the chatter becomes louder and more aggressive, it only inspires him to increase his cleaning efforts. It looks as if he actually trying to increase his personal space even further. I am perfectly content to clean my corn at home, but am sure that several of the other shoppers are not of the same ilk. As I was walking away, I believe I heard some comment about a place where the sun does not shine.

I hope he enjoys his corn as much as I enjoyed the spectacle.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I'm beginning to see a trend. . .

I hate to constantly vent about the same thing -- but I have noticed a trend in my complaints about human behavior and specifically etiquette. . . so in keeping in line (pun intended) with the trend of my observations it seems as though people have a real problem with behaving when it comes to lines.

So, once again I was back at the deli. It's hard to imagine that the sandwiches at any particular deli could cause such stress in one's life, but the sammys at this particular locale are so good that it inevitably leads to lines, which apparently leads to human misbehavior.

Today I was at the deli waiting in the extraordinarily long line. The line is always long. It does not matter what time of day we go to get our sandwiches -- lunch, dinner, morning, afternoon, evening, late night . . . the lines are long. It's worth the wait. There are three men who make the sammys. There's a clear sign indicating that you have to wait behind the sign before you are called up to order your sandwich. Everyone typically follows the rules. They wait. . . patiently. . . talking to their friends about what sandwich they are going to order; calling people on the phone and catching up as they wait in line, or like me they wait playing crosswords on their cell phone as they wait for that one divine word: NEXT.

Everyone watches the line to make sure it's moving; watching to make sure that no one is taking too long with their orders. But most importantly, we all are looking up to make sure that there are no line jumpers.

On this particular day -- the line was insanely long. It was sunny and bright outside. Everyone wanted a nice yummy deli sandwich to enjoy. We were all waiting patiently. I was next. I was so excited. When out of nowhere comes a man. He walks up to a woman he recognizes -- she is already in the process of ordering her sandwich. I heard him say: CAN YOU DO US A FAVOR AND ORDER MY DAUGHTER'S? The woman appeared reluctant to help the man out -- feeling the stare of the of hundreds of eyes in the back her head. She glanced slightly back towards the line but refusing to make eye contact with any of us who had patiently waited our turn.

Sensing her reluctance, he proceeded to waive over a girl who appeared to be in her late teens or early 20s. He introduced her to the woman as his youngest. The woman, now stuck with the girl standing next to her father and her giant father hovering over them both, acquiesced and put in another order for another sandwich for this girl.

There did not appear to be anything wrong with this girl. She had both her legs. They appeared to be in proper working order -- i.e. capable of standing in a line long enough to wait until called to order her sandwich. There appeared no reason other than sheer ridiculousness as to why this girl needed this other woman to order her sandwich. . . nothing other than pure laziness and more importantly rudeness.

As I watched my sammy being made, I could hear the girl barking "MORE MAYO. I SAID MORE MAYO" to the man making her sandwich. I looked over and she was snapping her gum and rolling her eyes that he was not making the sandwich properly. Finally their sandwiches were done and I watched the girl and the woman walk to the register where they of course paid for their items separately. They left the deli and went their separate ways.

So of course the father gets a cone of shame for being so obnoxious to even ask the woman to let his daughter cut the line. And for teaching his daughter this terrible behavior. Bad parent. Big cone of shame.

The woman getting the sandwiches, you too shall wear a cone of shame because you had an opportunity to say no and you chose not to. Bad fellow line-stander. Big cone of shame.

But also, daughter of the rude man, you too shall wear a cone of shame. I referred to you as 'the girl' throughout this narrative only so as to differentiate between you and the woman ordering the sandwiches, but you were clearly not a girl. You were old enough to know better. If I had to guess, perhaps it was your idea because you told your daddy that "you just couldn't be bothered to have to wait in that line." So you too shall wear a cone of shame and yours shall be the biggest cone to date.

What is it about the line? The inability to wait in line to pay; the inability to wait in line to merge with traffic; the inability to wait in line to place an order; the inability to wait in line to board the train. Is there a personality disorder that affects one's ability to wait in line? Or is it just straight up narcissism? I'm going to continue to investigate. But until then, I will just have to keep my eyes peeled and dole out the cones as is necessary.