It happened. It already happened. 2-days back. Already I got a phone call.
“I need to talk to someone who understands enough to answer my question.”
“I understand enough,” I replied. “Not more than enough. But enough.”
“My husband is sick, very sick,” she said.
It was over. Already I knew it was over, the negotiation was hers for the taking. There was going to be no wiggle room. She was going to get whatever she wanted.
“My husband is sick, very sick. Last night, the girl who works for us picked up a quart of soup from your restaurant. I was at the hospital with my husband. The girl left the soup sitting on the counter. I was with my husband at the hospital all night. So the soup was sitting on the counter for 7-hours. Is it safe to eat?”
I didn’t have to think. I wanted to think. But I knew better.
“Your husband is very sick,” I said. “Why take a chance? You don’t want to take a chance. I can tell. Who would? You said 7-hours.”
“Come in anytime it’s convenient. Ask for me by name, Gregor. I’ll give you fresh soup, any soup you want, on me. It’s the least I can do. Hope your husband is feeling better.”
“Thank you,” she teared-up.
Granted, I don’t know for sure if she teared-up, since it was a phone call and I couldn’t see her face. But her voice broke, in just the right way, to paint the picture.
It begs the question: who does that, who calls a restaurant, pushing aside numbers, pushing aside facts, using guilt and shame and tone of voice to push an agenda?
It begs the answer: a brat, a spoiled brat, taking her cue from the soon-to-be minority leader of congress, Eric Cantor.
We’re a nation of brats. We’re a nation of spoiled brats. We’re a nation of invalids. We’re a nation of emotional invalids. No one is responsible. No one can be bothered. Certainly no one can be bothered to take the meaningful lesson from their failures.
Everyone is looking for a sneaky angle, to see what they can get.
Everyone is looking for a cockamamie loophole, to see what they can get.
Everyone else is to blame for spending the surplus, waging war, waging two simultaneous wars, fuding two simultaneous wars with tax cuts.
Everyone else is to blame for bailing out criminal bankers with no preconditions in the bailout for the release of funds being tied to admitting guilt, divulging facts and facing consequences, real consequences, under the law, the full measure of the law, for destabilizing the world financial markets, vaporizing trust and reducing decency to little more than a genetic flaw.
But not me.
Get real. Get a grip. Everyone else is to blame.
But not me.
Grow up. Get with it. Everyone else is to blame.
But not me.
Repeat after me. “But not me.” Repeat after me. “But not me.”
Amazing how easily it rolls off the tongue.
She will ask for me by name, Gregor. I will give her soup, whatever soup she wants. I will smile. I will ask about her husband. I will lean forward. I will clasp my hands. I will nod my head. I will scrunch my brow.
She will tear-up.
She will take the soup. She will thank me. She will take the soup. She will walk out the door, cross the parking lot, get in her Lexus RX 350, put the soup on the passenger seat of her Lexus RX 350, drive away, with the soup, of course, having paid nothing, of course.
Her husband matters. I’m supposed to understand how much, how very much, her husband, her sick husband, matters.
I really do.
My soup doesn’t matter. My food costs to make the soup doesn’t matter. My labor costs to prepare the soup doesn’t matter.
The plastic bag, with the twisty thing at the top, in the paper bag, with the convenient paper handles, all keeping the soup from spilling on the passenger seat of her Lexus RX 350, doesn’t matter.
The plastic spoon doesn’t matter. The paper napkin doesn’t matter. The second paper napkin doesn’t matter.
The payroll to pay the employees doesn’t matter.
My broken deli case, which is going to cost me a week’s worth of freedom, doesn’t matter.
My plumbing, which needs to be routed, doesn’t matter. The plumber, who needs to be paid, for my plumbing, which needs to be routed, doesn’t matter.
The ability to flush shit, and pretend the water in the toilet is sparkly clean, forever sparkly clean, and not full of shit, like her, like me, like the rest of us, doesn’t matter.
Who are we? When did we get this gone?
What happened? When did we get this gone?
The question is still begging: who leaves the fucking soup sitting out on the fucking counter for 7-fucking-hours and then picks up the fucking phone with the expectation of getting something for nothing instead of pouring the fucking soup down the fucking drain?
Who? Seriously. Who?