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Blog: Well, What Can You Do? V1

(originally written 5/17/11)

True story.


Friday, May 13. On my route, making a pickup in The City for a customer I'll call "Phen". We are in her living room. Her young son stood nearby.


Not sure if Phen simply felt the need to fill the air with chit-chat—unnecessary since I'd be out the door in 15 seconds or less—or what, but in any case, she looked right at me and asked what sounded like an interested question: "So, how do you do your route? Do you only work in San Francisco, or do you go to other cities?"


As you all know, I never waste an opportunity to talk about myself. The answer formed quickly in my mind: "On Fridays, Mondays and Tuesdays I just do San Fran. Then Los Gatos/Campbell/San Jose Wednesdays, and Berkeley/Oakland Thursdays. So by the time you see me, my mind is already on the weekend."


I think Phen would have laughed at that last line. But we'll never know for sure.

For just as my lips separated and I formed the breath with which to begin my reply, Phen's cell phone rang. It was sitting on a counter to her left about 10 feet away.


Rather than ignore the ring, as I and most mannered people would do when conversing with a present person, Phen's neck snapped like a Steven Seagal foe. Her body soon followed. Her poor son, who'd made the mistake of standing between his mom and the phone, was nearly reduced to dust. I don't think Usain Bolt could have gotten to the phone any faster.


Once she got to the phone, she turned her back and blissfully disappeared into a conversation with someone clearly far more important than myself. I could have taken a whizz on her living room carpet and gone completely unnoticed.


For dramatic effect, I stood for a couple of moments with my mouth open in aborted speaking fashion before waving bye to her son and leaving. I've never known anyone to ditch a conversation they started. It's not like I was uninteresting. How can you be uninteresting WHEN YOU HAVEN'T SAID ANYTHING???


In recent months people haven't been trying my nerves as they generally do. I've met so many good ones during that time that my long-standing negative prejudice against them softened a bit. But just before my transformation into the black Barney is complete, Phen comes along and reminds me that my plan to conquer Earth and exile most of its inhabitants to the Moon must still be carried out.

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