Friday, October 23, 2009
Before she could call AAA, a police car pulled up behind us, and the nice officer tried to start the dead car. Yep, he said, out of gas for sure. He called AAA for us - I mean for her. While the cop was there, I asked if he was going to arrest the woman for blocking traffic. He said no, that wouldn't be necessary. I asked him to reconsider, but he refused. I told him I knew the woman must have done something wrong, but the cop continued to be nice to her.
I loaned the woman my car so she could take her mother out for a manicure, and I waited with her car under the insistent Florida sun until AAA arrived. It cost me $6 for the gallon or so of gas the guy put in.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Friday, October 9, 2009
My new friend Michael opened a little joint in downtown
“So, Michael, when you gonna do oyster po’ boys?” I ask, early in our budding relationship.
“Soon as I’m sure my customers aren’t gonna leave ‘em in a hot car in the sun,” he says, “Maybe in the fall.” (This is
Gulf Coast Po' Boy Good Food (boy, that's a mouthful, but so are the sandwiches) is a bright and airy hole in the wall, with outside tables and umbrellas, a great place to watch people go by. The sort of place where the food is cooked in front of you and you bus your own dishes. Except Michael won’t let you bus. He runs in and out. I think he’s checking to make sure you’re loving his cooking. The first time Judy and I eat there, we leave a couple, three bucks as a tip and head out. (The good food is a bargain. Both of us can eat well on fifteen bucks. I gotta talk to Michael about a beer license….) So I’m fiddling with my car keys when Michael runs up waving my money. “No tips! We don’t do that here. We’d rather you spend your money on lunch the next time you come.” I just stand there like a goofus with my jaw hanging open.
GCPB Good Food means shrimp that's floured up and fried on the spot. It takes a few minutes for the po' boys 'cause Michael toasts the rolls on a slow grill and, besides, you can't grill the andouille too fast or you'll miss that sweet spot where the juices still run but the sugars have caramelized just right. I'm not sure what he calls that mayonnaise-y sauce, but it lands midway between a mild aioli and a raging rouille. It's going to be heaven itself on that oyster po' boy come fall.
I go to GCPB Good Food as much to hear Michael talk as for the po’ boys. He purrs out the softest
Not wanting to be politically incorrect or anything, I slip back into my patented jaw-dropping, goofus pose.
“I lived in
Friday, October 2, 2009
My phone jangled at 8:30 this morning, flashing the message that my doctor was calling. "Swell," I thought, "they must be recalling my pacemaker."
It was Marci - or somebody with a name like Marci - at Dr. Shah's office, with just a few questions.
"Did the staff work efficiently in helping you set up your appointment?" I guess.
"Were you greeted cheerfully upon arrival?" Not exactly; everyone was in a meeting.
"Was the fish tank in the lobby bright and sparkly?" Actually, one of the clownfish looked a little peaked.
"Did the doctor apply enough K-Y Jelly before starting your examination?" Whoops! Not quite.
Have you noticed that everyone who sells you a service is now asking for immediate feedback on your satisfaction? The service manager at the Acura dealership sat with me after charging me $1400 to fix the power seat in my 12-year-old car. "I have something important to discuss with you, Mr. Newton." Uh-oh.
"You know that you will receive a follow up call in a few days to make sure you are happy with our service." No doubt.
"Well, the Acura people value your patronage" - I think he meant my willingness to be patronized, but no matter - "and they consider any service that was less than 'Excellent' to be tantamount to 'barbaric.'" Well sure, I whined, but you just soaked me $1400 for a freaking seat motor!
"We're talking service, here, Mr. Newton. You did notice that the intake manager" - intake manager? Really? - "smiled suggestively when you arrived and offered you your choice of sexual favors?" Now that he mentioned it, the young lady did seem unusually friendly.
The expected call came in a day later, and I responded enthusiastically that everything was "excellent, especially the sexual favors." The pollster never hesitated; she was obviously familiar with the sex part. "And would you recommend our service to your friends?" I explained that I am new to the area and have no friends. "But if you did have friends, sir, you would recommend us, wouldn't you?" Uh, yeah, of course.
You expect this sort of thing from car dealers, but the medical office follow-up is a little weird. Besides seeing Dr. Shah, we frequent an outfit called, not very creatively, the "Diagnostic Clinic," where Judy sees four or five doctors and I see three. We like them all, despite the feeling, eerie but probably accurate, that we are being passed around like a joint at a high school beach party. Between doctors and blood tests and a weekly shot that Judy gets, we visit the Diagnostic Clinic anywhere from 2 to 5 times a week, sometimes more. (Yikes! And we are not even sick. No wonder there is a crisis in health care costs.) The DC has a "concierge" (I swear - it's true!) who greets us, sometimes by name, when we enter the building and who, I suspect, alerts accounting that they can expect to make budget again this week.
Anyway, the DC has a computer that phones before each appointment to remind us to be on time and to bring money. You would almost think that a computer, being all about data manipulation and such, would clump these calls together to remind us that we have appointments on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, but, no, it makes separate calls for each appointment. Then this same computer - or maybe the DC runs parallel processors - calls us back after each appointment and expresses heartfelt thanks for our patronage (yes - patronized by computer - you gotta love it) and hopes with silicon sincerity that we were satisfied with the service on each visit. If we didn't like it, the computer rattles off a phone number we can call to lump it.
Altogether, the DC's computer phones us 10 or more times a week. Add in a couple of car dealers and the odd plumber, and the number of friendly "Hope you were satisfied" calls I get easily exceeds all the calls I get each week from family and friends. If I had friends, that is.
Now, if you wouldn't mind, I have a few simple questions to help improve the quality and attitude of this blog:
Were you satisfied with the title of this blog entry?
___ Yes ___No ___ Title? What Title?
Did you find the opening lines to be an effective "hook"?
____Yes ____No ____Didn't read that far
Were you offended at least once by something that was treated too cavalierly in the blog?
____Yes ____No ____ Constantly (counts double)
Did you achieve any of the following reactions to what you read (choose as many as apply)
____LOL ___Guffaws out loud _____Pity for author's lack of skill
____Embarrassment at having been caught reading this crap
____Intellectual orgasm ____ Any other physically satisfying response
Would you recommend this blog to the following:
Friends (if you have any) ___Yes ____No
Clergyperson ___Yes ___No ___ You must be joking again
Worst enemy ___Yes ___No ___ Gladly
___ I spammed everyone I know with a link