Wednesday, December 14, 2005

number 34...

Apparently, I possess a talent I didn’t realize was a talent: being able to discern the number system at the deli. Horrifyingly, I just found myself preventing fisticuffs over marinated golden beets and asian slaw because a deli full of soccer moms and illegal construction workers couldn’t take a goddamn number.
First of all, I wouldn’t have even had to stay in line had my co-worker not requested cranberry sauce on her turkey sandwich. I mean, I got a bagel dog. That takes 2 seconds. Anyway, like a fully formed human, I took Number 34 and silently waited for my turn. Suddenly, I hear a commotion.
“I was next!”
“No, I believe I was next.”
“No way, lady. It ain’t your turn. I been here for 10 minutes.”
“Well, I left my dog in the car.”
“Like I give a shit.”
Oh god. Don't make eye contact. Thankfully, a fellow numbers genius piped in. “Well, what number are you?”
“Number?”
“Yeah. You’ve got to take a number.”
“No one told me that!”
One would think that the huge, glowing and ever-changing number on the wall would be the first clue. The second? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the guy behind the counter screaming out numbers in ascending order every time it’s someone else’s turn?
Worse, a good four people had no idea they needed a number. Mayhem ensued.
“I knew nothing about a number!”
“I’ve been here for ages?”
“What does this mean? Everyone without a number goes to the back of the line?”
“That’s not fair!”
“Wait. We need a number?”
Ugh. For reasons unknown, this is when I decide to snidely announce, “I’m Number 34.”
Now, why I did this is beyond me. I can only justify my stupidity by stating that there was no way I was going to let anyone stupid enough not to take a number cut in front of me, no matter how many dogs were in their car.
The crowd did not react well.
“She just walked in!”
“I’ve been here for 20 minutes!”
“My dog is in my car!”
“I HAVE to go to work!”
“Wait. We need a number?”
To my credit, I recovered. “Listen. This isn’t a big deal. This is deli sandwiches. I’ll go last. Okay?”
Slowly, the melee died down and civility took over. Sometimes, people need to be reminded of reality. We don’t need to throw down over Dutch crunch rolls and organic potato salad. Indeed, I went last. And when it was finally my turn, I leaned on the counter and ordered the stupid sandwich. As I was waiting, a 12lb. trophy wife walked in, in full “I don’t acknowledge the winter” tennis outfit and stood behind me, staring into oblivion. All of a sudden she said it.
“Um, excuse me. Do I need a number?”
Cue Dutch crunch roll flying through air…

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hate it when people wait until the last minute to decide what they want. They get to the counter and then begin to consider their many options.
What do you want?
Oh, let me think about it for half an hour.

big chris said...

beth,
just read the blurb and it was fantastic. coincidentally
all my jobs have been in burlingame and occasionally
I like to go to the mollie stones and get a sandwich
( its a fucking rip-off but very tasty ) the highlight every
time I go there is the deli drama because the shoppers ( most
of which appear to be white, affluent, and college educated )
refuse to take a number. this creates anger, people on
the verge of killing each, and the talking shit to the people
behind the counter. like you said, how dumb are people ?
there's a big ass red number up high and the deli workers
are calling out numbers. but mollie's must take some of the
blame for this because it seems every time a I go there
the number dispenser is in a different place. 9 times of 10
I've been there someone says they've been in line an hour
and begs to go ahead of me despite it being my turn, I usually
oblige as long as they're nice about. but if they're a bitch
about it I become a total asshole and either say " if I let you
cut I have to let everyone cut " or sometimes say nothing
just point at the number dispenser. good times.
chris

t.p. said...

Beth. Cut it out! Please take a vacation. My ribs are aching and you allow no time for recovery.

xoxo t.p.

Nihilistic said...

Do I have to take a number to comment?

t.p. said...

Hey! Get in line like the rest of us!

Nihilistic said...

*takes a number*

Anonymous said...

I hear the ham is excellent.

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