Sunday, October 16, 2005

A lack of perspective

While Jake and I waited in the restaurant foyer for the tow truck to arrive, a young woman bitched to the hostess about the lack of a fire. "We came all this way for the fireplace. A nice fire on a Saturday night, that's why we're here. And you're telling me you can't light a match?" The hostess smiled at her like she was six -- an accurate assessment. "Like I told you, Ma'am, there's a problem. The restaurant fills up with smoke. I can't help you." "But that's the only reason we came here. This is our special evening, we have all our friends together, and we want a fire." Our hostess shrugged and smiled, which seemed to tweak the young woman even more. "You could call the owners. They could give you permission. Why can't you call the owners?" I don't know how many times the hostess had gone over this, but it was obvious she'd decided not to waste any more breath on this nitwit. No matter how many times this woman rearranged "owner," "special evening," and "just a match," all she got for her troubles was a smiling, head-shaking hostess. Finally, she stalked off in a huff. "That woman lacks perspective," I told the hostess. Maybe I found this especially silly because Mother Nature had nearly smeared me and my son a half an hour earlier. Or, perhaps it's because I'm a doctor and it takes more than a faulty fireplace to upset me. I've been known to tell my patients, "Yes, it's cancer, but it's a good cancer. I was afraid of much worse." And I often tell them, "It's my job to worry about the really horrible things so you don't have to." It only occurs to me now that some folks might go home and worry, "What the HELL is he worrying about? Now I'm really worried." Sitting there listening to that dingbat whining about the lack of a fire, I found myself wishing for superpowers. Remember the end of The Crow, when Eric Draven inflicts all of his dead wife's suffering on the bad guy, compressing weeks of horror into a few excruciating seconds? Yeah, something like that. I wanted to give that woman a brief taste of horror. Nothing damaging, mind you, just eye-opening. As in: Look, you. This is what's really important.
Right now, I don't have bupkes for Beth's Smart Bitches Day or Michelle's Trick or Treat Halloween Contest. My muse is holding out on me, the wench. What do you want? Tell me. Tell me! By the way, I really really want to spend some serious kitchen time with Beth. Tonight, she's making pie crust. Check it out. I suspect she's filling that crust with something, but you never do know with Beth.
On a more positive note, I made a sizable dent into my next Tangent assignment, Issue #7 of City Slab. Delighted to report that the lead story, David Niall Wilson's "The Milk of Paradise", is a hit. Editor Dave Lindschmidt sets up some pretty darned high expectations in his opening comments, but Wilson's story delivers. Just a teaser: the story is based on Coleridge's poem, Kubla Khan. Yee-haw, what a tale. D.


Blogger Jona said...

You may not have any super-powers to help that lady in the diner with perspective, but you often help me get some :o)

10/17/2005 03:38:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Thanks, Debi. I try.

10/17/2005 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger mm said...

God I hate people like that. Doug, next time, interrupt, "Excuse me, ma'am, but I'm a doctor and I couldn't help but noticing an odd discolouration on the back of your neck. I don't mean to alarm you, but you really should call Monday and have your physician take a look at it. Monday. Not Tuesday."

Or does you hypocratic oath prevent you from having fun like that?

10/17/2005 09:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Beth said...

Weirdly (or perhaps not), you're not the first person to express a desire to spend kitchen-time with me. It's a sizable list. Generally, I just make people sit down and let me feed them.

You bring the scotch, and I'll maybe let you near my stove.

10/17/2005 09:21:00 AM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Maureen, it's a great idea, but it would only work if I weren't a doctor. She could report me to the Board for something like that :o(

Beth: you're on. Where the hell do you live, anyway?

10/17/2005 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger mm said...

Okay - I'll do it.

10/17/2005 09:50:00 AM  
Blogger Kate R said...

did you ever hear the call to 911 some woman made when she couldn't get a burger done the way she wanted it?

Maybe that lady's moved to your part of the world.

10/17/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger THIS! Christine said...

Go to any airport and extrapolate that woman by a factor of a thousand. (Maybe two) Some of my favs, (btw I don't work in an airport, but I've travelled a lot).

Excess baggage/charges/oddly packaged items that are then directed to cargo.
Delayed flights.
Cancelled flights dues to weather (this one always cracks me up.. would you really want to fly into bad weather?)
Missed flights... I've done this myself. I have to tell you, no one is at fault for missing a flight but YOU.
Denied carry-on luggage.. I love this one, it's a soap opera.

10/17/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

The trouble with these people is they have this mantra playing through their three-neuron brain: "The customer is always right." Well, NO, dumbshits. Sometimes people are WRONG.

I love it when patients try that BS out on me. It's not common, but occasionally I'll get a young couple who insist vaccinations are evil. Um, why? Because you say so?

10/17/2005 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger David Niall Wilson said...

I just wanted to let you know I was thrilled by the comments on THE MILK OF PARADISE...I invested a lot in that one...

David Niall Wilson

10/31/2005 08:39:00 AM  

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