Friday, July 31, 2009

Things to Ponder

The other day, as I reflexively emptied the change from my cocoa order into the tip jar at the coffee shop, I wondered, not for the first time, why do we tip baristas? We don't tip the people in TacoBellMcDonaldsBurgerKingArbysKFC, who probably earn a smaller wage and lead lives several degrees more miserable than attractively apron-clad coffee workers in nice grease-free, polished wood environments. They don't make several trips to our table to take our order, explain the daily special, deliver our order, or top off our water. And they don't even give us a nice scalp massage like the hairdresser or get up at 3:00 a.m. like the paper boy.

What is the rate of PTICTD* among ice cream truck drivers? (Whom, I might add, don't get tips...) My across-the-street neighbor drives an ordinary looking Scion, but when he starts it up Scott Joplin's The Entertainer begins tootling out the window. I hear about four bars before he drives away and another four when he returns. Be he must hear it a billion times a summer. That can't be healthy. He has it easy. The ice cream truck I heard at a local park plays Pop Goes the Weasel. But it just plays the first line. "Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel." "Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel." "Round and round the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel." He never gets any closure. Does he wake up at night screaming, "The monkey thought t'was all in fun, POP goes the weasel!"?

*Post Traumatic Ice Cream Truck Disorder

Monday, July 13, 2009

Plays Well with Others

Oh, what a jolly place is the dog park. A chance to frolic with Misty, Clancy, Lulu, Harvey, and Touch-My-Ball-I-Bite-a-You-Face. Leo and I had spent a peaceful 30 minutes in the small dog corral with Misty, Clancy, their mother, and the chatty transvestite who hung over the fence trading pit-bull-bite stories with me. We agreed, it's usually not the dog, but the owner, who creates a troublesome pet.

Misty and Clancy headed home, so Leo and I shifted over to the general inmate population consisting of a sheltie, a lab pup, some Heinz 57s, Lulu, a recently adopted 13-year-old husky mix, a goldendoodle, and a Belgian Shepherd. When Leo, 15 pounds soaking wet, took a sniff at the Shepherd's ball she abruptly morphed into the Jaws of Death, leaped on Leo and appeared to be reducing him to so much canine confetti. Leo screamed as though his short life was passing before his eyes, the owner ran over and yanked her dog away, and Leo took off like a missile. Three other dogs, innocent bystanders, thought that looked like a lark, and followed him in hot pursuit. Leo surmised they were all in on the murder plot and took a chunk out of Lulu's face when she bowled him over.

Once the fracas came to a halt and everyone examined their respective dogs, the shepherd's owner apologized profusely, "I've been working on her 'ball possessiveness issue' for two years". Oh-kaaaay, so you bring her to a place full of dogs and, well, balls??

Now, who has the behavior problem? Hmm?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crappy Hour

A couple of weeks ago we were looking for a happy hour. It wasn't really the right time of night or right day of the week. I had never tried it, but a nearby restaurant always displays a huge sign facing I-5, prominently advertising half-price appetizers, the details of which had never lodged in my consciousness. Considering our poor timing, it seemed like our best chance. My companion was dubious.

The bad news is, we were too late as well as too early for the half-price food. The other bad news is the restaurant in question was Hooters.

Now, there are a couple of drawbacks to Hooters, depending on your point of view. I don' t believe anyone would dispute the fact that the food is fairly disgusting (if it isn't battered and deep fried, it probably has bacon on it), but to make up for that they charge a lot for it. A soda is nearly $3 and a side of french fries is nearly $4. The aspect that might be disputed is the ad- or disad- vantage of being served by young women clad in the most patently uncomfortable looking outfits outside of Las Vegas. They have clearly been advised to not bend over the tables, so they are forced to squat or perch. The outfits are completed with a pair of miniature shorts in permanent wedgie mode.

Midway through our not-half-price meal, a little knot of waitresses clapped for our attention. "Listen up, everyone! Join us in singing Happy Birthday to Ryan who is here to celebrate his 13th birthday!" Note to Ryan's parents: Your responsible adult license has just been revoked.