Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Free Lunch

It's day 3 of the lockbox festival and I'm already bored and annoyed. All I have to do is walk people through a very simple test of their electronic key, this is done to verify that their PIN number is correct.

1) Press 'on'

2) Press 'Enter'

3) Enter PIN

4) Press 'Enter' again

5) Point key at lockbox

That's it. In print it seems quite simple, but in practice it's really just a series of five mistakes waiting to be made.
Five endless mistakes.

The agents are forced to watch a six-minute instructional video before they are sent to me for PIN verification- in it, each button is highlighted and explained-the key is a very, very simple device and around half of the people just walked up, beep-beep, opened the lock and were done...the rest required various degrees of assistance.

One older woman handed me her key and said it was broken. The light wasn't on so she thought it was defective. I directed her attention to the 'On' button and she said couldn't press it, her peeling red fingernails were too long; she had to place her finger nearly parallel to the keypad and struggle arthritically to press the proper key. It was painful and futile. One needs a fingernail not exceeding 3.5" in length in order to operate the E-key, I felt like saying...ugh.
I tested the unit for her (worked) but I couldn't see any way around her nail problem.

The lady, however, was obviously thinking outside the box.

Feeling sudden inspiration, she picked up a ball point pen and drove the tip of it through the rubber surface of the 'On' button and into the guts of the device.

That'll void your warranty.

At noon the Boss Lady came around and sent me to lunch. I went to grab my jacket and it was gone. There was a coat that looked like mine, but wasn't. My jacket is replaceable but my car and house keys were in it- without my keys I was stuck at the hotel indefinitely.
I asked Boss Lady if there was a lost and found... nope.

I was scouring the area behind the exhibition tables when one of my colleagues said they'd just seen another employee leave wearing my jacket. Aha! His look-alike jacket was the one hanging where I thought mine was.

Surely he'll come directly back when he realizes his mistake, I thought.

After ten minutes Boss Lady asked me why I hadn't gone to lunch yet. I explained the mix-up to her; she laughed, shook her head and told me I could buy lunch at the hotel restaurant and charge it to her room #. I decided that I liked Boss Lady.

The hotel restaurant was a Don Shula Steakhouse. Cool. As I sat down I thought about the freezer full of meat at home and Liz's prediction that my well- stocked freezer would certainly attract prosperity- that "like would attract like".

In this case, the pork chops at home attracted a chicken sandwich at work. Liz was right!

When I returned, Jacket Boy was back from his lunch.

"Dude, why didn't you bring my keys back?"

"I only had a half-hour."

"What?" You dumb fucking redneck, I added silently. "All of us only get a half-hour. I needed my keys and you had them. I had to buy a fifteen-dollar chicken sandwich at the steakhouse because I couldn't drive anywhere. You owe me fifteen bucks."

"I only have ten."



Last night I had some encouraging news regarding my grandmother, it looked like she might be able to leave the hospital in a few days- but today the word is not so good. She has more 'blockage' than anyone thought and surgery is the only option. Her heart is weak and her chances of surviving the operation are fifty-fifty at best - her chances of surviving without it are zero. There's no alternative.

My grandmother has been having life-saving surgeries as long as I can remember-in 1990 my granpa was admitted for a heart bypass and the doctors said they thought he would be fine, but they were concerned about my grandma. Granpa died shortly after, but my grandma lives on- she has diabetes, emphysema, glaucoma, a half-dozen stints in her heart, six feet of bowel removed because of cancer etc etc,...still going. She has a good track record of recovery.

I'm really worried about tomorrow though.


yellowdog granny said...

you are soo clever..I loved that you made $10 on the sandwich...hope your grandma will make it.. i went to st.mary's tonight to light candle for henrietta, she is not expected to make it thru the lighed one for your grandma too...

Auld Hat said...

I struggle arthritically through most things (:
I think I like Boss Lady too.
May life and death be on your terms these next few days my friend. And Liz is right; like does attract like. Don't know why but it do. Suddenly every disfunctional relationship I've ever had makes complete sense. HAH!

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

He he he! Very clever!

I'm sorry about your Grandmother. I'll be thinking of you both tomorrow.

angel said...

you scored a free lunch and 10 bux, thats thinking on your feet dude!!
you and your granny are in my thoughts dude!

billy pilgrim said...

these buggers will never figure out that they have to turn the space ship upside down.

are you gonna tell them?

Sling said...

So next time co-worker complains that he caught you having sex with his girlfriend during lunch,you can tell him,"I only had half an hour".

homo escapeons said...

What a great post!
I would have been tempted to snap that customer's frickin nail off with a stapler..
but in the good ole USofA you would probably get sued for 50 trillion dollars..$10 for a new set of Lee Press Ons and $79.999 pickle dillion for mental anguish....
it would still be worth it.

Your cute Granny will keep on keepin' on. Amazing eh?

Dude. Your nice boss lady was telling you her room number.

Allan said...

JS- Thanks for the candles and thoughts.

Hat - "On my terms", I like that.
Ha, yeah, I feel the same way.

Whim- It was an Idiot Tax.

Angel- I'm a rotten bastard, eh?

BP- Nope.

Sling - Next time!

Homo- My pimp won't let me do that sort of thing, 'tis pity.

I plead the Fifth.