Sunday, June 03, 2007

An Old School Blog*

My wife and I were given a gift certificate for Pizza Hut a few months back at a baby shower for us hosted by my co-workers. We've tried one other time to use it, but things didn't work out. Apparently Pizza Hut and Pizza Hut Express are two completely and totally seperate entities. One gift card for one does not guarantee food from the other. I drove away from the Pizza Hut Express drive-thru with one of their large Fruit Punch drinks in my drink holder, and spent a few moments in their parking lot pondering whether or not I should return it, seeing as how I failed to pay for the merchandise. I did. I walked in the front door and handed it to some lady at the counter who tried to tell me to keep it. I shook her off saying, "No thanks. I didn't pay for it, and I don't need to be reminded of that when I drink. I don't want to feel guilty."

So, fast forward to today, and I find myself in Melrose Park at an actual Pizza Hut picking up an order I was able to place online.** The clerk who checked me out was younger and female. I'm guessing she was maybe nineteen or twenty. Definitely old enough to be out of high school, though not old enough to get into a bar. She seemed somewhat out of it. She grabbed my order just fine, but distractedly thanked me for my business without giving me my 2 liter of Pepsi. Either way, the transaction went down more or less without a hitch.

As I was putting the food in the car, though, I heard an argument taking place behind me. There was my clerk, being yelled at by the much older, much larger female manager of the store. The clerk kept saying "I'm sorry" and "Please listen" over and over again, while the manager kept shouting statements like "No! You get your baby and you get out!" and "You don't care about anyone but yourself!" and "I'm not dealing with this shit anymore!" again and again. In fact, the manager, after she got back in her car, nearly hit me as she pulled out in a blind rage, screaming at the clerk who was still holding onto the car.

It was surreal, and it reminded me to be mindful of how quick I judge people. I have a tendency to do that. I see someone forget part of my order at a restaurant, for example, and I think "What an idiot! How hard can it be to remember to give me my Pepsi?" I'm the idiot. I should realize, at some point, that I'm just like the clerk in a lot of ways. If something is frustrating or bothering me, I can't help but internalize it and struggle with it and let it frustrate me.

I think about the last few weeks or school, for example, and I remember how short I was with some of my juniors because they were not reading The Great Gatsby. Now, part of my frustration was my own doing - I like Gatsby, and therefore I expect my enthusiasim to spill over to my kids. It just didn't happen. The other part, though, is where I have to watch out. I don't know what's going on in a lot of my students' home lives. They could have unstable families, unstable living conditions, and be dealing with the general drama and day-to-day madness that is being a teenager. So why should I be so impatient with them over a book that they may or may not be reading?***

The strangest thing about the whole confrontation to me is this: I was driving down North Ave. in Melrose Park at 7pm on a Friday night in the "middle" of summer and, as a result of watching a Pizza Hut manager and a Pizza Hut clerk get into an argument about living conditions, I was thinking about my students. Something is wrong with me. Could I possibly miss them already?

Oh. One other thing. I was pulled over five minutes after that because my wife has not put her license plate on the front of her car. Second time in three weeks that has happened. No ticket, though, just like last time. I'm a lucky guy.


* My posts may be a bit sparse on pictures both today and in the future. We have a kid now, and he gets all of the face time with the camera, as he should. No one really wants to see my ugly mug anyways.
** Ooh... how fancy and modern today's world is! Online poker. Online grocery shopping. And now ... *drumroll please* ... online pizza delivery. That is assuming, of course, that you live close enough to a Pizza Hut, which we don't. So, I guess it's more like online carryout pizza.
*** They totally were not reading it, btw. I wish I was able to post some of their journal responses. Yikes.


At 3:51 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

I am sorry about the Pizza Hut gift card experience. I actually researched Berkley and thought I was getting you something close to home and convenient. BUT, it sounds like the experience also served as a wonderfully reflective one for you. What can I say?... I live to bring about philisophical experiences!
I enjoy reading your blog again and hope to meet Little Man Campbell soon! - Kelly


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