Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Petty office gripes

wherein I bitch about that which will give me an aneurysm and quote from Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash

Who the hell, in this day and age, puts popcorn in the microwave and sets it for four minutes? Then walks away. Jeebus, a week later it still stinks. This, along with nuking fish, should be a hanging offense. Hey, Retardo Montalban, next time push the button that says POPCORN.

My name is spelled correctly on my emails. I also repeated my contact information and correctly spelled my name in big, bold letters. Yet you insist on misspelling my name. Twice.

Korean. That's funny. Work up the business case, get it approved, then we'll talk. Otherwise, you're just some sales weasel who probably won't even exist next month.

Who ate all the brown sugar Pop-Tarts? Now I have to walk my lazy ass upstairs. Bastards.

Seriously, that's a you problem.

It's a French press, I use it to brew loose leaf tea. I prefer darjeeling. No, it doesn't do anything. It's just tea - twigs and leaves. You just drink it, it doesn't cure cancer. this was an actual conversation that caused the other person to cry.

Now I will read from the prophet, Neal Stephenson. Whom, in the holy tome, Snow Crash wrote the following concerning burning microwaves:
The Deliverator honks his horn. This is not a nominal outcome.

Window slides open. That should never happen. You can look at the three-ring binder from CosaNostra Pizza University, cross-reference the citation for window, chute, dispatcher's, and it will give you all the procedures for that window-and it should never be opened. Unless something has gone wrong.

The window slides open and-you sitting down?-smoke comes out of it. The Deliverator hears a discordant beetling over the metal hurricane of his sound system and realizes that it is a smoke alarm, coming from inside the franchise.

Mute button on the stereo. Oppressive silence-his eardrums uncringe-the window is buzzing with the cry of the smoke alarm. The car idles, waiting. The hatch has been open too long, atmospheric pollutants are congealing on the electrical contacts in the back of the pizza slots, he'll have to clean them ahead of schedule, everything is going exactly the way it shouldn't go in the three-ring binder that spells out all the rhythms of the pizza universe.

Inside, a football-shaped Abkhazian man is running to and fro, holding a three-ring binder open, using his spare tire as a ledge to keep it from collapsing shut; he runs with the gait of a man carrying an egg on a spoon. He is shouting in the Abkhazian dialect; all the people who run CosaNostra pizza franchises in this part of the Valley are Abkhazian immigrants.

It does not look like a serious fire. The Deliverator saw a real fire once, at the Farms of Merryvale, and you couldn't see anything for the smoke. That's all it was: smoke, burbling out of nowhere, occasional flashes of orange light down at the bottom, like heat lightning in tall clouds. This is not that kind of fire. It is the kind of fire that just barely puts out enough smoke to detonate the smoke alarms. And he is losing time for this shit.

The Deliverator holds the horn button down. The Abkhazian manager comes to the window. He is supposed to use the intercom to talk to drivers, he could say anything he wanted and it would be piped straight into the Deiverator's car, but no, he has to talk face to face, like the Deliverator is some kind of fucking ox cart driver. He is red-faced, sweating, his eyes roll as he tries to think of the English words.

"A fire, a little one," he says.

The Deliverator says nothing. Because he knows that all of this is going onto videotape. The tape is being pipelined, as it happens, to CosaNostra Pizza University, where it will be analyzed in a pizza management science laboratory. It will be shown to Pizza University students, perhaps to the very students who will replace this man when he gets fired, as a textbook example of how to screw up your life.

"New employee-put his dinner in the microwave-had foil in it-boom!" the manager says.

Abkhazia had been part of the Soviet fucking Union. A new immigrant from Abkhazia trying to operate a microwave was like a deep-sea tube worm doing brain surgery. Where did they get these guys? Weren't there any Americans who could bake a fucking pizza?

"Just give me one pie," the Deliverator says.

Talking about pies snaps the guy into the current century. He gets a grip. He slams the window shut, strangling the relentless keening of the smoke alarm.

A Nipponese robot arm shoves the pizza out and into the top slot. The hatch folds shut to protect it.

As the Deliverator is pulling out of the chute, building up speed, checking the address that is flashed across his windshield, deciding whether to turn right or left, it happens. His stereo cuts out again-on command of the onboard system. The cockpit lights gored. Red. A repetitive buzzer begins to sound. The LED readout on his windshield, which echoes the one on the pizza box, flashes up: 20:00.

They have just given the Deliverator a twenty-minute-old pizza. He checks the address; it is twelve miles away.


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