Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grotesque Scenes of Carnage and Brutality

There's a tool on my blog service provider that allows me to see who has visited my pages.  It's pretty amazing to me that I can see what country a visitor is from, and what path led them to my blog The Jugular Vein.  I can see who, how often, at what time, and where they are in the world when they searched for a specific name, location, word, title, or phrase that may have led them to any one of my thirty-six entries.  I'm quite sure that most of them have found it as a result of becoming distracted from what they were initially searching for, but it's neat for me to see that process.

What I find most curious about it is that the pages with the word "hurt" in the title (It Only Hurts When I Laugh and It Rhymes with Hurt) have far more visitors than any of the other entries, even one with the word "kind" in the title.  (Granted, some entries are older than others) So I'm keen to learn the number of visitors who visit this blog entry with its current title.  Dear reader, no matter how you got here, you are now part of an experiment.

But while you're here...

I am reminded of the philosophical question posed to me when I was very young:  Why do people stop and stare to watch two people fighting but turn away when catching two people being affectionate?

Which then calls to mind a fairly effective motto we adopted from our pal Paul Hoff.  He uses it when dealing with difficult, rude, or inconsiderate people, and it's one I have since used on more than one occasion. It's simple: Be Nice Twice.

When shopping at a well known discount home decorating store in New Jersey, I found an item that I'd wanted for quite a while but was only available at a well known high-end gourmet kitchen supply shop, with a price tag far too steep to justify buying it.  It is a hefty, chrome plated, well balanced pounder for making paillards of meat for a few specialty dishes I prepare.  A stout rolling pin does the same job, but this tool does it with class. Pleased with my find, I proceeded to the cash register where I was caught behind a woman unloading a full cart of a variety of wall decorations, imported ceramic vases, a large wall clock with a star-burst of metal appendages, and other pieces of mass-produced "art".

Unfortunately, my new toy didn't have a price tag, so I side-stepped the cash register and asked at customer service for a scan code.  The clerk was unable to find one, so the store manager was called and he promptly told me it was $150.00 -- delighted by his impromptu exaggeration, he waited for my reaction, so I replied, "WHAT?  At that price, I can't afford the meat that it's used for!!"

An aside:  To the average reader, this may seem an inconsequential detail of dialog in this blog entry -- unless you're familiar with the typical New Jersey customer service experience.  Ordinarily, there wouldn't have been anyone at the customer service counter.  When a clerk finally arrived, they'd be annoyed that there were any customers on the premises, and would have proceeded to make it well known what an imposition my request was.  After waiting at least 8 minutes for a manager to arrive, who would not have the key to a register, I'd be made well aware that he was just about to go "on break", and after vainly searching through countless ledgers, he'd find a scan code and ask me to return to the end of line while a ticket was prepared.

But none of that happened!  I had a pleasant exchange with a cheerful clerk and manager, who both shared my delight in this unusual purchase. We exchanged a few more pleasant remarks and he printed a scanning ticket out for $14.95.  A bargain at twice the price.  I was the proud owner of a three-pound, twelve-inch, solid, chrome-plated meat flattener.  It went into a bag and I carried it out, elated over the entire experience.

By now, the woman with all the decorative pieces had completed her transaction and headed out to the parking lot with her cumbersome load.  I went out shortly after her, and there we met.  Side by side.  Her nice shiny new vehicle parked next to my nine year old Dodge Neon with Canadian license plates, clouded headlights, and dull white paint revealing its age.

I could only see her bottom half as she wrangled with her new purchases trying to wedge them into the back seat of her car, maneuvering the cart that was blocking my way, while contending with the waving arms of her timepiece.  I watched for a moment, and patiently waited for another.

I asked her if she needed an extra hand.

She said, "No."

As I got closer between our two cars, I saw that her passenger door had been pushed open to its widest point and had stuck fast to the side of my Neon.

I loudly said, "UH OH!!" since I couldn't open my door, and feared a dent in it from hers.

She extracted herself from her vehicle and said, "WHAT?" with deliberate exasperation.

I pointed to her door and with cheerful concern said, "I can't get in, and I hope your door didn't leave a dent."

She tugged on her door.  It stayed fast, but a firm quick second pull freed it revealing a small dimple and a perceptible nick out of the paint.

I said, "Oh, that's a shame."

She impatiently replied, "Eh?"  So I pointed to the pock, and said, "You did leave a dent." She licked her finger, reached over, smeared her spit in a big wide circle around the tiny indentation, now revealing a more obvious sin: a clean spot.  She t'sked sharply, and with fully nasal Latina attitude and sass looked at me and said, "I din't dent nut-ting."

By now, I had employed and exhausted my ordinarily effective motto, finding that she was just going to be nasty.  So I nipped it in the bud.

I swung the bag containing my pride of purchase, and with a thick audible metallic CLUNK hit the side of her car and stated, with flair, "I din't dent nothing, either." and promptly opened my door, got in, started the engine and drove away.

After you've been nice twice, you see, you can make up your own rules.

1 comment:

  1. When Jane came home and told this story, I was aghast. We're both lucky the other person wasn't a Mafia wife (ten years of living in Jersey created and cemented my belief that it's far more prevalent than "The Sopranos" ever portrayed).