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Thursday, September 18, 2008


I guess I’ll get my feet wet again in chronicling adventures here at the shop with today’s stop in. A guy in his late twenties, or early thirties stopped in as I exited the office. He carried a can of beer in his hand, red faced in the manner of us Caucasian types who have had a few before opening the one we’re carrying. The young man, (young to me anyway) sported a strapped basketball jersey, loose fitting jeans, and sandals. Although his hair was cut very short, the two day growth of beard either meant an aversion to daily grooming, or he liked the Sonny Crockett look from Miami Vice. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and call him Sonny. Now as I approached Sonny, we were near my large open door, so when I smelled beer, I knew it wasn’t coming only from the can he had in hand.

“Hi, can I help you.”

“You uh… ehid; ue doagia ahn?” Sonny asked unintelligibly.

Has anyone else noticed the death of enunciation in our daily human interactions?

“What did you say?” I asked, showing the right mixture of helpfulness and concern.

“You uh… ehid; ue doagia ahn?”

Yep, that’s what I thought you said. “Sorry, I still didn’t understand you.”

“You know…” Sonny is becoming perturbed with my communication skills, so he added a little hand windup with his free hand not involved in beer can holding. “Need… need anyone?”

My first reaction tended toward the sarcastic, until I remembered I didn’t have a 24/7 security guard when I’m not around.

“No, this is a one man shop,” I decided to keep my replies short and to the point.

“You don’t… have anyone?” Sonny asks, with eerie look of disbelief, only someone three sheets into the wind can convey.

“Correct,” I nod. “I have no employees.”

Then Sonny hits me with the only reason I bothered doing my blog on him today.

“Do… do you think that’s fair?”

Security guard or not, I started laughing. Before I could curb my amusement, Sonny left in disgust over my obvious disregard for his sensibilities. Life isn’t fair or predictable. One of the fair assessments I can make is if you job hunt in strapped t-shirt jersey, jeans, sandals, and beer, I can predict your chances of getting a job: slim and none. Add an inability to speak the English language intelligibly, and your chances plunge from slim to snowball's chance in hell. That’s life. :)


Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, and he had such a clue. This is almost beyond amazing. shaking my head here.

Bernita said...

"...Blow, ye trade winds, blow."
And he blew it!

Merelyme said...

awww...surely one can get a job somewhere with beer in hand. perhaps a beer commercial? great blog you have here...came over from charles' site.

BernardL said...

Reality here at the shop borders on Sci Fi, Charles. I've been approached by job seekers in all manner of dress before over the last few decades, but this was my first holding a beer in hand. :)

He was funny doing it though, Bernita. :)

Thanks for stopping by, Merelyme. I'm hoping he didn't sober up and come by for some late night artwork on my building. :)

Miladysa said...

You described the scene beautifully and I felt as though I was a fly on the wall :-D

Many years ago [1980s] the place where I worked won a large contract which meant we had a lot of highly paid vacancies. It was close to Christmas.

A man turned up at my office wearing a suit at least 3 sizes too small for him, no shirt and a pair of jelly bean sandals - no socks.

He asked for a job labouring. The desperation in his eyes was real, he had a number of children and had walked a long way to find work.

I employed him. My boss told me that I could be the one to fire him too.

The first week he worked well, the second week he asked for a sub, the third week he went off the job at lunch time and got wrecked. I had to fire him the next day. I still remember his goodbye speech, something along the lines of my not being fair...

BernardL said...

Thank you, Myladysa. Your story illustrates how difficult pulling someone out of the bottle or drug bag can be. They have to be capable of a vision where their happiness involves earning the respect of others.

Virginia Lady said...

You meet the most interesting people Bernard.

BernardL said...

In the auto repair business, VL especially in the demilitarized zone of Oakland, I get a real sampling of the good, the bad, and the ugly. :)