stranger and stranger

Posts tagged tales from the service industry

There’s a hipster in the street

all by himself, playing a melodica. 

The new mailman

came in wearing a pith helmet and an old-fashioned pocket watch on a long gold chain. New favorite person. 

We don’t actually do the cleaning at our store

We just sort of catalog everybody’s stuff and send it out to be cleaned. It’s kind of a messy system and a lot of times things get lost in the shuffle or don’t get back on time. I also still don’t know what dry cleaning actually entails. But I imagine it’s actual labor as opposed to what my lazy ass does all day, so I’m not too fussed about it. 

There’s two Hispanic guys who come to take the clothes everyday, one for shirts and one for dry cleaning, and they are both the sweetest little guys I’ve ever met. 

Dry cleaning guy is this short, older guy with a beard, huge brown eyes, and a round gut incongruous with his muscled arms and legs. He’s very quiet and doesn’t speak a lot of English but every day when he leaves, he utters a soft “goodbye mami.” The other day for the first time he called me “mi amore.” 

Shirt guy is this young guy, ripped as anything, with this big chunk taken out of his nose. He’s always coming in, talking to someone on his headphone mic, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in his excellent, if accented, English. The first time he brought me a present I thought he had accidentally left it behind. When I ran out to give it to him before he drove away, he smiled and said simply, “It’s for you,” and drove away, leaving me stuttering in the street. The second time, he brought me a moon pie. I’d forgotten to bring lunch that day, and it was the first moon pie I’d ever had. It was delicious. I want to get him something in return but I’m afraid I’ll pick something he doesn’t like. Everyone likes peanut butter cookies though right? 

He works six days a week (or more?) like I do, but he was still pumped today was Friday. “Tonight, I work for nobody!” he cried, when I asked. He then proceeded to list everything he was going to drink - tequila, Patron (or “tron” as he called it), some martinis, and a few drinks I’d never heard of and probably never will again. I bet it’s going to be a barbeque and a half. I’d better learn Spanish so I can invite myself someday. But I guess I’d better learn their actual names first. 

Construction workers outside

And they’re bitching about their co-workers like sorority girls. I love when big burly guys do unintentionally “feminine” things. So cute. :3

Got a really good “Not to be racist but” today

Wow dude. Wow. 

The problem with having to be nice to someone for money is that the most I can say is “Wow, that really was racist!” in a really cheery, friendly voice. And even could lead to an argument, which is not encouraged. 

But it’s weird how even if you know how to argue with someone about those sorts of things, in the heat of the moment, it’s so surprising that you can’t say anything at all except maybe a horrified and/or confused face. That the nice little old man, who was just quizzing you on fabrics and talking to you about the Latin root of the name of your university, could be so casually racist to a complete stranger, stops you dead in your tracks and you can’t say anything. 

Keep walkin’, little man.

I basically sit in the dry cleaners all day and hope that no one comes in. It’s pretty much the greatest job ever. But I’ve gotten progressively territorial, to the point where people are walking by and I mutter under my breath “go away go away go away.” 

But it’s interesting to see how people telegraph their movements. On some people, it’s really easy to tell which direction they’re walking because they take the shortest route there. Other people will look like they’re walking by and then turn on a dime to walk in at the last minute. One of these days I’m going to accidentally sigh really loudly as someone walks in before I catch myself. Or worse, be cussing them out seconds before they walk in the door. 

In fact, I wonder how much you can hear from outside the door… Oh dear. 

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