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Monday, August 2, 2010

Pierce Would Like You To Move Along? He Has Things to Do?

I go through a pair of black flats every year. Humble, dedicated shoes, they are my "go-to" footwear, my Run!-The-bus-is-coming! shoe. Like the other functional items in my life -- my car (may it rest in peace), my yoga mat, several ex-boyfriends -- they ask little of me and I, in turn, run them into the ground.

Saturday was the day my latest pair of black shoes left this mortal coil.

Leftie and Stompie, as I liked to think of them, will be missed.

That's why Mary and I found ourselves at the mall Saturday evening. And one new pair of black flats and a meander or two through another shop later, we had stopped at the Panera for a bite.

Semi-interesting side note here, the mall closes at 10:00. The Panera closes at 9:00.

We didn't know this when the woman behind the cash register took our orders at 8:58. We didn't realize it when my sandwich became available at 9:07.

We take you now to nine minutes after I received my sandwich and just moments before Mary and I suffer joint incredulity. I have the last bite of my sandwich in my hand, a handful of potato chips on my plate. Mary is waxing rhapsodic about her mother's shortbread and comparing it to the cookie she has just bought.

"It's not bad, but it's not my mom's. I mean, what is this? Butter, flour, sugar? Ooh and I can feel the seams of my pants straining. You hear that? You hear that, Pearl? The threads are going to let go any --"

A uniformed weasel slips into view, his hair in his eyes. In a rather theatrical move he slides up to our booth and manages to somehow click his heels and slouch at the same time. In a cutesy voice he may have picked up from the Disney Channel, he interrupts.

"Excuse me, ladies."

I look up at him. What shockingly appears to be truly fantastic nose hair is quickly realized to be some sort of septum piercing, an upside-down horseshoe, its ends emerging from each nostril and hanging almost to his upper lip. His hair is in his eyes, and he is brushing it across his forehead, as I'm sure he must do several hundred times an hour.

He gives us a condescending smile. I am thinking that he believes himself to be quite attractive. I am thinking that he believes that we believe the same. Mary and I are awash in youthful, hipster smugness.

"I'm sorry, ladies," he simpers, "but as I'm sure you know we close at 9:00? So if you could just finish up? If you would finish your sandwich, you know, we close at 9:00?"

Poor guy. Completely devoid of a declarative sentence.

Mary and I look at each other, communicate telepathically: They close at 9:00? Is this little !@#$ kicking us out?

We turn back to him, eyebrows raised. He brushes his bangs out of his eyes and continues. "I have to vacuum this area? So if you could finish, that would be great? We close at 9:00?"

Again with the closing-at-9:00 bit. I look at my phone: 9:16.

Mary jerks her head towards our little weasel. "What do you think of this one, huh?" she says to me. "He says they close at 9:00."

I nod and turn to look up at him. "So you're saying you close at 9:00?"

He nods enthusiastically. "Yes."

"And I should finish eating and leave?"

He looks relieved. The middle-aged women in front of him are getting the picture. "Yes."

"Just so we're clear," Mary muses, "do you think we should finish first and then leave? Or should we leave now and then finish?"

Pierce, as I like to think of him, is magnanimous. "Oh, you can finish first."

"So I should finish my sandwich and leave, is that right?" I say.

He is still grinning. "Yes, if you could finish up..."

"Perfect," I say. "I will finish up, and then I will leave. And when I do leave? You, my friend, will be the first one I notify." I turn away from him.

Mary looks up. "We'll call you," she says, smiling.

Pierce backs away, grinning, his face becoming more confused with each backward step.

We left not long after that, after briefly discussing and discarding the option of taking the next 45 minutes to eat the last five chips on my plate. Frankly, hanging out at the Panera to make a point seemed silly.

He was, after all, just a kid.

And of course neither Mary nor I were ever as eager as ol' Pierce to leave work on a Saturday night.


Simply Suthern said...

My daughter works at Panera. She came home telling us about folks that brazenly come in at 10 minutes prior to closing and have the nerve to order and then sit and take their time to eat it. How rude. Then the folks gave her a scowl when the folks overheard them talking about them.

I sat there dumbfounded, are you out of your mind? Those are customers. They kinda pay your salary. Thats the whole reason you work there. She looks at me like i'm stupid. You dont understand she says.

I admit, I don't understand kids.

Pearl said...

Hi, Simply.
Agreed! If they had told me when I was ordering that they were closing I would have gladly taken it to go!

cfoxes33 said...

LOL. Too funny. He must have been a sight and a so confused with the likes of the two of you.

Pearl said...

cfoxes33, he had it coming. :-)

Anonymous said...

Mornin'Pearl; Ah yes, there's nothing like a nose piercing and hair in the eyes to whet one's appetite. I wonder how many times he swiped his bangs back as he was preparing your food. Oh, sorry - we'll not go there. Urp.

Yankee Gal

Herding Cats said...

I work with teenagers, and this sounds pretty typical. It's not that he was trying to be rude, but you know, he has a "life" to get to on his Saturday night ;)

The Jules said...

I like to say "Don't you know who I am?" in a haughty voice to such young oiks, and then when they say no, I look crestfallen and mutter "Some day I'll find out" and then start the conversation at the very beginning all over again.

Gives them something to think about other than their Rock Or Roll music, spirographs and Pong video games.

Pearl said...

Yankee Gal, great. Now I've more to think about.

Herding Cats, I suspect you're right.

Jules, :-) That would've been better, actually. And "oiks"?! Why I oughta...

Anonymous said...

I always hate to go into a restaurant 30 minutes before closing for this very reason. I have no idea what I would have done if I had thought I had a whole hour before close and didn't! Ugh. No thank you. Just another reason I haven't been to a mall in years!

Anonymous said...

You know Pearly...time is relative. I would have been tempted to tell that nice young lad that time is a lie that someone (The Swiss) made up and doesn't actually exist. Then, when he protested I'd ask him to show me...put some in a bowl and bring it to me. You can't, eh?
That's because its not REAL! Then I'd demand he get away while I enjoyed the last of my chips and remark about how I don't enjoy soggy pickles...

Sarah said...

At least a warning when people are ordering: um, we're closing in five minutes. Or something like that.

Lisa said...

I know that kid! Or rather 70 of him. They were all my daughters friends?

Pearl said...

FabuLeslie, I shoulda knowed to stay out of the mall, but they had a DSW! What was I to do?!

Sweet Cheeks, this comment of yours is the very reason we would hang out if we lived any closer together. Time as a concept. :-) Why didn't I think of that?!

Sarah, exactly. If she had said, we close at 9:00, would you take it to-go? I would have gotten it to go.

Lisa, and they came over to the house? :-) What happened to the declarative sentence?!
Man. Nothing gets me as excited as the upward inflection on the end of a sentence!

Gigi said...

For pete's sake! Really? No warning as you were ordering? And then sending this sad sack over to boot you out? What is the world coming to - this is a question I ask myself at least once a day. Usually, two or three, but still.

Kal said...

I love the way you played mind games with him despite that fact that he was total inequipt to do battle with you. You should have made a quick move in his direction to see if he would have wacked you with his radio. Mall cops are so sad.

a Broad said...

If he had been a girl, he would have flipped his hair back a few times and looked over your head the whole time she/he was telling you to get your butts out of her Panera...tapping her foot...snapping her gum .. Oh wait, that was that old waitress we met on the drive from Florida to Oregon..
Never mind ?

loveable_homebody said...

Hahaha it's their own fault for taking forever to get you your food!

Semantics are everything. You taught him valuable lessons: don't ask customers to leave after your colleagues have given them poor service; don't try to be authoritative while you're wearing a weasel costume; beware that incorrect grammar and usage will not win you any points.

Cheeseboy said...

Oh, I do think that a fantastic nose hair would have been more attractive.

Poor kid. Probably had to get home to catch iCarly.

Casey Freeland said...

If he had left you alone, you probably would have finished faster. He may get busted by the boss if his time card goes past 9:30 or something.


dogimo said...

The problem for me is, from the post title on I was picturing Brosnan in the part.

He played it surprisingly well! The dude has range; he's more than merely a tall drink of cold, steely Bondness. And the humility and commitment to the role he evinced with that ridiculous nose-clip thing. You'd think a star of his stature would have dug heels on that one, but no.

But can I just say?: the first paragraph is perfect unto itself. Yet, being a first paragraph, and being perfect, it also sets you up with anticipation for what's to come.

Sausage Fingers said...

OMG,you have scarred that boy for life, no longer will he look at a "cougar" the same way again.

Susan Deborah said...

Well, urban stories are made of stuff as these. Enjoyed your wee adventure of eatin-starin-rushin.

I am happy that you stumbled across to Gratitude for Gratitude's sake. Thanks for your kind words and the following.

Gratitude is what makes us glow (along with the other lotions):)

Loved your place and thanks for leading me here. Shall be back.

Joy always,