Posts Tagged With: Decatur

BOGO Day at Subway – The Finale

Last I left you a couple of weeks ago the time was 3:35pm and I was standing in what looked like a Subway sandwich shop but what, in actuality, may have very well been the Twilight Zone what with all the weird things going on at that point. If you’re just joining us you can read HERE, HERE, and HERE to get caught up. And now…

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I laughed as I took a look at the clock on the wall as it read 3:35 which meant that I’d been foolish enough to stand pat in line at this particular Subway for over nearly 20 minutes, 30 minutes if you count the time that I sat in the car listening to the Braves on the radio get the final three outs in their afternoon game against the Phillies. How bad must I have wanted to take advantage of Buy One, Get One Free at Subway? I guess about as bad as I wanted a hamburger from a Hardee’s that I thought was being robbed, but I digress. But there was light at the end of the tunnel because there were only two people ahead of me now. Two young men, somewhere between the ages of 18-20 if I had to guess, were standing in line in the typical ‘hood uniform of sagging shorts, nondescript plain shirts – one a white wifebeater and the other a black t shirt at least 3 sizes too big – white socks, and houseshoes. Both of them deemed it appropriate to come out of the house wearing fuzzy houseshoes. After giving them the quick once over I was doubtful that this would be a swift transaction, then once one of the young men asked the following question, I knew I should probably pull up a chair because this was going to take a while: Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, Decatur Stories, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

BOGO Day at Subway – Pt. 3: Frustration

Okay folks, if you haven’t done so you need to read THIS BLOG and THIS BLOG to get the back story here. Or you can just read this one and miss out on what’s already happened in this thread. Here we go…

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Time: 3:19pm

The hustleman induced laughter had just about died down both amongst the Subway patrons and the workers and things had returned to normal. I was looking over the menu when I heard something all too familiar; it was the unmistakable sound of an impatient Black female sucking her teeth. Having grown up in the house with my two older sisters I learned early that when you hear that sound the probability is better than 70% that there’s about to be some raised voices in the room in a short matter of time. The woman a couple of spots ahead of me in line was standing arms folded with a huge Michael Kors bag on her shoulder. When I say huge I mean that an airline would have to measure it to make sure that it would fit in an overhead compartment before a commercial airline flight. It was a nice bag but far too big for a neighborhood jaunt to Subway for a sandwich; Aside from her ridiculously large bag the very next thing that I noticed were her eyelashes which were Disney character long – Bambi, Lady from Lady and the Tramp, Ariel the Little Mermaid – they all would have killed to have the eyelashes that this lady had glued to her eyelids. While her lashes were attached to perfection, the eyes they adorned were currently shooting darts into the back of the gentleman in front of her. Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, Decatur Stories, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BOGO Day at Subway – Pt. 2: Sock Man

Hey you! You should probably read THIS BLOG first before you start reading down there. Don’t worry, we’ll wait.

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Date: Saturday, April 13
Time: 3:15 pm
Place: Subway Restaurant in Decatur (where it’s greater). GA

The line for sandwiches at the Subway was at a standstill but I paid it no mind because “E.T.” by Katy Perry was playing over the store’s speakers and I was GOING IN singing along with the lyrics! One of the “sandwich artists” paused from sprinkling oregano on the sandwich in front of her and flashed a look in my direction that said “why this Black dude standing here singing this song by some white chick?” Just as I was about to flash her my million dollar smile, I saw her eyes go towards the door; immediately her expression turned quizzical which caused me to seek out the object of her confusion. Standing just inside the door of the restaurant was a short stub of a man; a Black man wearing black jeans and a black short sleeved shirt. A blue duffel bag was over his right shoulder and held aloft in his right hand was a yellow piece of paper, printed on that paper were the words “Sock Man”. He stood there just inside the door for a beat and then shuffled his sandaled feet across the tile about ten paces until he was standing right in the middle of the place. Continue reading

Categories: Atlanta, Decatur Stories, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

BOGO Day at Subway: Part 1

It’s been some time since I’ve regaled the lot of you with a story about my hometown and current place of residence, Decatur, GA. There are so many moving parts to this particular story that I’m pretty sure that I’ll have to break it up over a couple of days, maybe even a week. If you need to know what the people here in Decatur are capable of you should check out THIS BLOG and THIS BLOG as a point of reference before moving along with this one. And now without further ado, here is my latest Decatur Story.

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Last Saturday was beautiful, nearly 80 degrees, fluffy clouds floating about, and I was feeling good. I’d just finished a great workout at the gym and was pretty hungry afterward. I didn’t want to ruin my workout by eating junk; the closest thing to healthy was either a grilled chicken salad from the local Chick-Fil-A or a turkey sub from the Subway up the street. I really didn’t want to bother with having to go inside the mall to get the salad so Subway was the easy choice. As I turned into the lot listening to the Braves game I noted to myself that the lot was far more crowded than it should have been for 3:00 in the afternoon but I paid the extra traffic no mind as I parked and made my way to Subway’s front door. And that’s when I saw it, taped to the glass door on plain white paper was a sign that said:

Customer Appreciation Day! Buy one foot long sub get another Free! Continue reading

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Attack of the Whatchamacallit

There was a ball game, a glass sliding door, and a cocker spaniel with bronchitis. No, that’s not the lead in to a joke by some second rate comedian, rather those are the main components in this little ditty that I’m writing today.

I’m a sports nut and will watch any sport on the set, even a game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. I loathe the Yankees and the Red Sox but it was Sunday night and my sports pickings were slim; I was in the unfortunate position of relying on those teams to provide my sports entertainment for the evening. Surprisingly the game wasn’t all that bad, tied in the late innings with a potential go ahead run for the Yankees standing on second base; I even shudder to say that it was entertaining; at least entertaining enough to make me forget about Mocha, my sister’s Labrador snoring like a grown man on the floor next to the couch and Shadow, my sister’s Cocker Spaniel hacking and snorting away in the corner of the den. Pardon me a moment while I tell you all about Shadow just for kicks…

Shadow is old. Shadow is old in human years, I’m afraid to even do the calculations of his age in dog years for fear that the number might top 250. Shadow occasionally loses a tooth simply munching on his dinner. Shadow has gone completely grey around his nose in stark contrast to the rest of his jet black body. Shadow is completely deaf and I question his eyesight on occasion when he bumps into something. I fully expect Shadow to sit down one day, look at me and say, “In my day that big box of Milk Bones only cost $1.99!” And while he’s still playful and spry and will jump and wag his tail when he sets eyes on you there’s no doubt that he’s an old pup, he was diagnosed with bronchitis earlier this week and has the worst runny nose this side of your neighbor’s toddler next door; that’s why he was coughing and hacking in the corner while Yankees were trying to score the go ahead run against the Red Sox. Anyway…

Like most creatures that are old Shadow has to relieve himself more often than most so my sister got up to let him and his younger dog partner in crime, Mocha, out of the house right around the time that Eric Chavez was digging into the batter’s box on the TV. I heard the glass patio door slide open and the dogs’ footfalls across the kitchen floor but nothing else as I was committing the ultimate sin and actually getting sucked into a Yankees/Red Sox game. The crowd on the TV cheered with enthusiasm as Josh Beckett delivered a beautiful curve ball right down the middle that froze the Yankee batter and ended the Yankees rally…and then another scream, not from the television but from the room behind me. The patio door was flung open and my sister was in the process of scampering, turning over her kitchen table and chairs in the process.

“What IS that? What IS that?”

She kept screaming it over and over again to which I could only reply “What is what?” as all I could see was her shuffling in reverse away from the door.

“Oh my God! It’s ON me!”

My big sister was now transformed into the little girl in the yard that gets grossed out when she saw a bug as she cried out “Ewwwww!” in a loud grown up voice.

“What IS that? AAAHHHH and it has wings! It’s flying! What IS that?”

Now she means business. She’s grabbed the broom from the closet and is swinging wildly at this thing that I still have yet to see. My thought process at that point is that she has completely lost her flippin’ mind.

And then finally I did see it.

Dark. Menacing. Droning deeply. Bigger than a waterbug. Slightly smaller than a crow…making its way from the kitchen towards me the den. I didn’t know that we had these things in Georgia! What are those things called again?

Cetera? Nah, I’m thinking Peter Cetera…the former lead singer of Chicago

Sicily? No…that’s a city over in Italy.

Cece Peniston? Nah…that was the cutie that sang “Keep On Walking”.

Dammit, what are those things called? It’s right there on the tip of my tongue…oh yeah! Cicada. That’s the word I’m looking for, or in this case, that’s the thing that I’m looking for…cicada. It was a cicada. About 3.5 inches long, great big wings, and when it landed on the end table it sounded like I dropped my keys on it, it was a big boy, or girl…like this.

I was looking at it sitting there still trying to figure out exactly what it was and was snapped out of my curiosity by a broom headed in my general direction. Ever the girly girl, my big sister didn’t want to get close to the thing in her den so she decided to get all Jackie Joyner-Kersee on me and heave the broom like a javelin at the bug Olympic games style sending just about everything that was on the table onto the floor including the insect which fluttered down to the floor and buzzed a little surely asking in its own Cicada language, “Did this chick really throw a broom at me?”

“Get it! He’s right there. Get it!”

At this point she’s still doing a dance in the kitchen trying to shake the fact that the bug was just on her leg. The dogs are back in the house at this point after having finished their business in the back yard and Mocha is looking quizzically at the bug that’s sitting on the floor; she has that look in her Labrador eyes that says “I’m gonna chase that thing right there… then maybe even eat it.” She tilts her head then looks at the bug then looks at me as if asking me “Can I have it?” I’m pretty sure that if Mocha had eaten that bug my sister would have just fell out in the floor and died so I grabbed the broom from the floor nearby and shooed her away, just as I did that, the cicada looked about ready to take flight again but I couldn’t have that.

I took the broom and doing my best lumberjack impression I went about hacking mercilessly at the thing. I’d smash it into the carpet and every time I’d raise the broom the bug would buzz in defiance. So I smashed it again…and again…and again…and again…each time harder than the last. My sister was screaming at me to kill it, Mocha was running in circles and jumping and barking, the glass patio door was still flung open so now every moth in Decatur was flapping around the florescent kitchen light.

Shadow is deaf, old and oblivious to all of this; he was standing at the pantry door with the sniffles waiting on his post-pee dog biscuit.

Finally it was done. The announcer was back from commercial and welcoming me back to Fenway Park where the game was tied and the David Ortiz would be leading off the Bottom of the 6th inning. I was sweating, books that were once on the end table lay scattered on the floor, Mocha’s tail was wagging furiously as she stood ready to pounce on whatever was left under the broom, my sister stood 15 feet away still not convinced the coast was clear.

Shadow was still waiting on a dog biscuit with a runny nose.

Soon order in the house was restored. The bug was swept up and disposed of, my big sister’s heart rate returned to normal, the patio door was returned to a closed position, and the broom/javelin was placed back in its place in the kitchen closet.

“What WAS that?” My sister was still asking as she made her way upstairs and then again channeling her inner girly girl said, “That was grody!”

I went to the closet and got two dog biscuits, one for Mocha for being a good soldier and being willing, I assume, to eat the bug to protect my big sister and me and the other for Shadow who was still standing there sniffling and snorting patiently waiting for his snack;  then I reclined on the couch to watch the two teams I love to hate…but not before I grabbed the laptop and googled “Cicada” to see exactly what they are and where they  don’t live so I can look for a nice place there.

~thanks for reading

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Categories: Decatur Stories, Family, Humor, So Incredibly Random, Sports | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Adventures in Decatur – Gas Station Blues

Hey all.

Perhaps it’s because they know they have a captive audience, maybe it’s because with gas being $3.40 a gallon they know you’re going to be standing there for a while if you plan to fill up whatever sized tank you have in your car; but panhandlers work a gas station pump area better than the  staffers that are actually paid to work there. I believe we have all been approached by the gas station panhandler at one point or another; all with their own hooks, lines and sob stories. I had one not long ago and this guy had no sob story at all…what he had was a problem with successfully constructing a pitch.

It’s right at 1:00am and rather than wait to go to the gas station in the morning I decided to pull in and go to the QuikTrip on the way home. It’s deserted for the most part being that it’s late and its a school night so I have my pick of the pumps.  I choose the one right in the middle of the station and hop out of the car and attempt to ready myself for the lube-free onslaught that the gas pump is going to put on my minimal finances.

I’m sweaty, tired, and my legs hurt from about 3 hours of salsa dancing; all I wanted was to pump my gas, go home, get in the shower and crawl into bed. I triggered the gas nozzle and watched the numbers start spinning and that’s when I heard it; those words that most of us have had the pleasure of hearing once or twice at the gas station…

“Ummm…excuse me, brotha…”

I tried to ignore it but it came again just from the other side of the pump, “Hey brotha, excuse me…”

Skrap’s Note: Why do they always want to go to the “brotha” card…it’s like they are trying to reel you in with the “we are family” routine before they hit you up with the pitch.

I looked to my left and shuffling over to me was a lean brotha, might have been about my age, perhaps a year or two older, wasn’t broken down looking or anything, just a regular dude. So I answer him and wait for his story…wanna hear it? Here it go…

“Excuse me, brotha, I don’t mean no harm or nothing, I don’t want no money, I ain’t out here begging. All I need is some gas…”

You can go ahead and insert the record scratch sound and confused tilted head dog picture here. Now, he doesn’t mean any harm, that much is true as he didn’t mean any at all; its the rest of his pitch I can’t get with at all. Dude doesn’t want money, but he wants gas which costs…money. I tried to replay it in my head but it didn’t make sense the second or third time I heard it internally so I said it aloud.

“So you don’t want any money, but you want some gas…”, I say to dude.

“Yeah, my car right there. I ain’t beggin’ or nothing like that, I just need to get home and I need some gas.”

So many options. Should I…

  1. Tell dude that if I don’t come up on a gig of my own in the next week or so I’ll be right here next to him at the QuikTrip competing for panhandling ground like Avon Barksdale and Marlo Stanfield competing for corners in West Baltimore. Or…
  2. Sit down on the hood of my car and try to explain in my calm wanna be English professor voice how flawed his pitch was and how you can’t claim not to not need money when in fact you want will cost the person he is asking money. Or…
  3. Just clam up, give him the dollar in quarters you have in the cup holder that you planned on spending on a Coke, and go home and blog about it.

If you chose 3 then you are the winner. Dude looked like he wanted to give me the screw face because what he wanted to do was push his car to my pump and get some gas off of my pump which is why he said he didn’t want money, he just wanted gas. But guess what, boys and girls, that would have cost me…MONEY! I told dude to take the dollar and keep it moving and he did right over to the older white dude who had just pulled up 3 pumps over where he was dismissed as quickly as he came. When I pulled out of the lot he was standing there in the middle of the station looking for another taker in the city of Decatur

There but by the grace of God go I…

~thanks for reading

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Adventures in Decatur – KFC and Me

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll go.”

If there’s one fault in life that I have it is that I am far too accommodating for my own good. I am too much the nice guy to let the chance to do a favor pass by. This is especially true for my parents, considering that whole raising me and putting me through school thing I think that when something needs to be done for them then I need to hop to it and do it. I should really develop a sixth sense for when that niceness can go wrong.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll go”

But really what can go wrong? This task was simple and I really don’t care much for my parents driving after nightfall because they are the kind of drivers that I scream at when I’m on the roads. So not only am I looking out for my parents by running an errand for them, I’m actually doing the local citizens a favor by keeping them in the house.

The Mission: Obtain dinner from KFC for the Parental Units and Grandmother

The Goal: Two piece dinner for Mom, Two piece dinner for Granny, Chicken Strips for Dad

The Location: Decatur, GA (cue dramatic music and lightning flashes)

Okay, I know, it’s Decatur and it’s a calculated risk but again, this is a favor for the parents. At the time it was just before 7pm, I was to meet some friends downtown at 7:30 but there would be plenty of time to grab dinner, deliver it to my family and get downtown to rendezvous with my people. In theory it worked perfectly; but in reality considering my run-ins with other establishments in town and coupled with my bad luck all together with fried chicken it would be a train wreck.

I pulled into the parking lot at about 7:10, right on schedule, and headed to the front door where, surprisingly the line wasn’t that long, only about 4-5 people deep at this point. After stepping inside the joint I see the usual fare, sagging jeans, Atlanta Braves caps in every color, the guy in front of you in line that smells like he’s been smoking something illegal, nothing out of the ordinary except for the inordinate amount of people in the dining area. Some were milling about on their cell phones while others were sitting at tables talking, all without food in their possession and all with an unmistakable scowl on their faces. Just when I was wondering to myself what was happening over there the person ahead of me a few spots orders. Here’s the exchange:

Customer: I need a 3-piece dinner with a breast and two wings with cole slaw and…

Cashier: It’s 16-18 minutes on that breast, wings are about 5 minutes out

Customer: How many minutes you say for a breast?

Cashier: 16-18 minutes.

Customer: Man…this some BULL****!! It don’t take that long for chicken to cook!

Cashier: All those people are waiting for their chicken too; they have to get theirs first.

Turns out that the people scowling and milling about are people that have been waiting for their chicken to finish cooking and based on the frequency of their watch checking the natives were growing quite restless. There wasn’t another KFC for miles so I had to stick this one out. It’s now 7:17, no shot at being on time with my friends downtown; a Chrisette Michelle song hit on the store’s speakers so I sang a little to myself while people lost their minds over chicken.

Customer in Line: I need to speak to a manager.

Cashier: He will only tell you the same thing that I told you, sir.

Customer in Line: Well, something needs to be done.

Cashier: We’re cooking the chicken as fast as we can…

All the while I sing along with Chrisette as she sang about seeing a former lover in the street with a new love. By the time the chorus kicked in a man in baggy skinny jeans and a wannabe platinum chain approached the counter and inquired loudly. “What’s up with the chicken…it’s been 15 minutes! What’s going on, man!”

The cashier who was still trying to explain to the customer in line that the manager couldn’t make the chicken cook any faster turned her attention to her new problem and replied, “It will be ready shortly, sir.”

“It’s been 15 minutes!”

“I’m sorry for the wait, sir. Can I offer you a drink while you wait?”

“You can offer me my chicken!”

“Sir, your chicken will be ready in a moment, would you like a drink?”

“I’m hungry, that drink ain’t gonna help me out!”

Meanwhile I’m steadily singing along with Chrisette and noting the emergency exit 15 feet to my immediate right in case this gets out of hand.

At this point the manager made the mistake of coming out of the little manager hatch that he was holed up in wearing his little blue manager button down shirt with KFC embroidered on the right and keyring with hundreds of keys to goodness knows what. The new problem turns his attention to the manager now.

“Hey, I know you’re the manager, man. What’s up on my chicken?

“I apologize for the wait, sir. It’s going to be just another moment.”

“All she offered me was a drink, you can’t do no betta than that?”

“No, sir.”

“Look, there’s a piece of chicken right there, that drumstick, let me have that.”

“Sir, I can’t do that.”

And he probably COULD have done that but you KNOW if he gave that one guy a complimentary “I apologize for the inconvenience” drumstick everybody in there was going to ask for one. Including me, likely. Chrisette has finished singing now, the notes of her lost love song trailing into silence and what comes on next? OutKast. No Luther Vandross, no watered down jazz from Kenny G, but OutKast. There’s nothing like a little southern rap music to fuel the ire of a hungry man wanting his chicken.

“Man, the drumstick is right there. I’m in here 25 minutes…” – exaggeration – “and I can’t get no drumstick for my trouble? Y’all wrong as hell, man!”

“Would you like the drink, sir?”

“Hell, naw! I don’t want the drink. Keep your drink.”

It’s 7:26. I’ve ordered at this point and sitting with the rest of the gang in the waiting area as we sipped on our free beverages. I would like to say that I was enjoying the next song that was playing over the store speakers but the sounds of frustrated customers both inside the store and coming in from the drive thru window was drowning them out. The line was about 10 deep now, all with arms folded rocking back and forth from heel to toe and back again. Each time the cashier giving the ETA for golden brown fried chicken and having to explain herself…

“No, we didn’t run out of chicken and have to go to the store to get more.”

“No, we’re not just being lazy

“No, it’s not taking so long because we have to pluck the chickens.”

…before, finally, my number was called at 7:37. I’m officially 7 minutes late from meeting at the hangout and easily 2 adult beverages behind but none of that matters right now because I’ve got my chicken. I really didn’t even care if the order was right to be honest. They could have just handed me three warm boxes filled with rocks and I would have run out of there all the same. The young worker extended the bag toward me and said “Sorry for the wait, God bless you” to which I replied, “No, God bless YOU. You need it more than I do with these characters in here.” He grinned a little and headed back to his station.

At 7:52 I unlocked my parents’ door and entered with the chicken to which Mom quips, “We were about to send a search party out for you. Everything alright?”

I could only manage a nod as I dropped the sack filled with what I hoped to be the correct order on the kitchen counter.

My dad entered the kitchen fumbling for his box in the sack and said, “Tough night at the chicken house, huh?”

“You don’t know the half of it.”

“I’m pretty sure I do. Thanks though.” Then he left the room with the prized box of chicken strips in his possession.

At 8:13 I was at the bar ordering “the strongest rum and coke you can legally pour, please”. Next time, the parents go themselves.

~thanks for reading. 🙂

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Waffle Induced Worry – Driving with Dad

Hey all! If you’ve been here to the South then you know a couple of things. You know that our winters are short and our summers are humid.  You know that the mosquito is the regional bird of the south. And you also know that there is a Waffle House every 3.5 miles on whatever street you might be traversing at the time. Waffle House is like Coca Cola in the south, it’s a freakin’ institution. Everyone in this area of the world can tell you exactly how they like their hash browns, I prefer scattered, covered, and topped, and even if you don’t like the place everyone has a late night Waffle House story because after hours it’s pretty much the only place open; those bright letters looking like hovering yellow Scrabble tiles bidding you welcome after a late night salsa party or wild night out with friends. Most everyone loves the Waffle House in one way or another, my Dad does, or he did, until they started construction on one less than a mile from my parents’ house. Now he’s not so sure.

If you’ve frequented this blog for a while you know that my Dad worries; in fact, it’s almost like he likes to worry. It’s his own little adrenaline rush of sorts; it gets his blood pumping to fret over something. He can be in the midst of a normal conversation about something normal and then – Boom! – there’s something to worry about! Like the Waffle House.

I had to run Dad across town last week to go get his car from the mechanic. I hadn’t talked to Dad in a couple of days so the 20 minutes in the car would give us boys a chance to chat it up in the car with some light conversation over his favorite jazz station on the radio. Our ride was going great until we passed the brand new still not opened for business Waffle House on the corner of Memorial and Candler Roads in dear ol’ Decatur, GA. I, for one, am excited about the new Waffle House as it is going to be closer than the one that I used to have to frequent on the off chance I had to make a hash brown run so I thought that I could start a little small talk about liking the idea of having a new Waffle House nearby. Bad idea.

Me: The new Waffle House should be open soon, Dad. They’ve already paved the parking lot and finished the inside.

Dad: It’ll be closed in a week.

Me: What? Why do you say that?

Dad: A Waffle House? Here? On this corner? Where do you think knuckleheads will go late at night when they want something to eat? Someone will be shot in a week.

Me: Dad, really? This isn’t a bad neighborhood.

Dad: You’re right, but bad people have cars and hooligans get hungry and Waffle House doesn’t close.

Me: So you think that someone is gonna get shot in a week over a waffle.

Dad: I’m not saying someone is going to get shot over a waffle. I am saying someone will probably get shot while eating one though!

Me: Dad, really?

Dad: They should have opened a mini police precinct in the parking lot.

Me: But Dad, all the other Waffle Houses are open 24 hours too. There haven’t been any shootings there.

Dad: Maybe, but this one is new, you know how people like to mess up new stuff.

Me: So you’re saying that I shouldn’t go there on the off chance I want late night food?

Dad: Nope…I’m just saying you should get it “to-go”.

And it went on and on like this in the car about all the people that would be maimed whilst eating waffles and hash browns and orange juice at the brand new Waffle House up the street. How the kids from the teen club around the way would swarm on the place after they finished staying out long after any teenager should be out in the first place. And, oh, goodness what about Friday nights after the high school football games when people are just hanging out, they don’t want waffles, they’re just in the parking lot with their loud music looking for trouble. And never mind me telling him that I used to do the same thing when I was a teenager after high school football games and it never amounted to anything more than me sitting on the hood of my car with my radio up too loud with my friends because, for goodness sake, all he said in response was that’s because I had parents that raised me right and taught me about consequences so I knew better than to fight with someone over something stupid much less shoot at somebody. And he’s not saying that the streets are full of orphans without parents but that the parents today aren’t as strict with their kids and that’s why they are running the streets putting bullet holes in waffles at 2:30am when they should be at home in the bed and even more than that what about the…

“DADDY! We’re here…”

I made the right turn into the mechanic’s establishment in Hapeville, GA and there sat Dad’s car in the parking lot to the right. He looked over to it and smiled knocked out of his Waffle Induced Violence Diatribe by the thought of a new transmission in his beloved Ford. I put my car in park and asked him if he needed me to stick around for a minute and he waved me away saying that he just needed to pay the mechanic and then he’d be gone. Then he grabbed his walking stick and started his cool stroll across the parking lot around the corner and out of sight. I sat in the car for a minute still dazed and processing all that was prophesied to happen within the first week at the new Waffle House just a mile from my parents’ home and came to the rapid conclusion that I’d better dine there within that first week or end up being a victim in a hail of bullets over hash browns covered in cheese and chili.

~thanks for reading 🙂

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Categories: Atlanta, Decatur Stories, Family, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Breakroom Vigilance

I’ve heard people say that Decatur is a strange place filled with strange people. I can concur with that for the most part as I’m not all together sane from one day to the next. Perhaps it has something to do with the sign I’m born under but I can’t confirm because I know absolutely nothing about what sign’s attributes are compared to another. Anyway, in “grey” Decatur where I grew up I was always amazed at the near bi-polar nature of those in my neighborhood, where smiles and jokes in amongst my neighborhood crew could, within minutes, transform into an argument or a fight over the simplest of things. Remember that scene in Goodfellas where Joe Pesci turned a simple comment about him being “funny” into a near murder? Yeah, something like that except with taller Black people. Anyway, it’s a term that I’ve fondly termed “going Decatur”; when something happens to one of us and, at the drop of a hat, we go from mild mannered to nuclear meltdown in 3 seconds or less. And that’s what happened to me yesterday.

I was brought up in a home that stressed doing the right thing, more than anything though I was taught to respect other people’s property. I was placed on punishment only twice in my life and one of those was for taking something that didn’t belong to me. My mother and father had a way of teaching me a lesson in that they only had to teach said lesson once or else my right to life could very well be removed; shame on me then for thinking that everyone had someone in their lives to teach them similar lessons. Yesterday, I went to lunch with a co-worker, initially I wasn’t going to go because I brought lunch from home but then they said that they were going to get Italian and I immediately caved because I LOVE Italian food. I went to lunch and ordered this MONSTER of a calzone that was filled with pepperoni and cheesy goodness, it was beautiful, as if the concoction were hand tossed, stuffed, baked, and served by some Italian angel in Heaven’s best Italian restaurant. I made it about halfway through the calzone before realizing that if I took another bite I was going to need to be carried out of the restaurant due to food coma.

I left the restaurant with what equated to a full sized Calzone by any other restaurant’s standards; it was going to be a great item for dinner later once I got home from work last night.

You know where I’m going with this right?

I’m in sales. I’m relatively new in sales. I’m not incredibly good at sales. So when I actually have a success I’m in a pretty decent mood as I was last night when I left the office, albeit late, last night. I was bundled up in my coat and scarf and put my hat on (it’s actually very cold here in Atlanta lately, must be all the transplants from up north) and went to the fridge in the breakroom to get calzone that I was planning to finish as soon as I got home. Then I opened the refrigerator and noticed that there was a gaping hole in the spot in the fridge where my calzone used to be. I’m not quite sure what I thought staring into the refrigerator for 5 minutes would fix, perhaps I thought if I stood in front of the open refrigerator my calzone in the little brown takeout box would magically reappear, or maybe the little elf that lives in every refrigerator would prance out and give me an explanation of what happened or at the VERY least, give me my $7 that it took to buy it in the first place. I work in an office full of adults, in size anyway, it was unfathomable to me that someone would simply say “hey that looks good, I’ll take that” and then do it which brings me to this.

There is no way that anyone would know that there was a cheesy, deliciously gooey calzone in that box unless they opened it and looked as it was a plain brown box that couldn’t be mistaken for anything else in the fridge at the time, this isn’t a case of taking home the wrong Tupperware, someone was in the refrigerator shopping. Some trifling S.O.B took the time to move the items on top of the box, open it, consider it potentially yummy and remove it.

Here I was in a good mood because on my last dreaded call of the day I finally got someone to say “yes” to me and then in the space of 10 minutes I’m standing in front of an open refrigerator about to totally go Mount Vesuvius over a $7 calzone that someone in the office felt like they deserved more than the man who paid for it. I stood there in the refrigerator for about 2 minutes easily, looked in the freezer, in the crisper, everywhere that you can look in a refrigerator but nothing…nothing but that sick, sick feeling of knowing that what was yours ain’t yours no mo’. I’m grateful to God that I was the last person in the office because I was completely ready to “Go Decatur” and not in the regular sense of the term; I was going full scale, no holds barred, hide your kids, hide your wife, Decatur. Having a new job and being the new guy in the office was to be damned; I was ready to blame any and everybody, interrogate co-workers and even the company President if I had to in order to find the culprit. “What did you see? Who do you know? And daggonit , why are there no cameras back here?!” By the time I finally closed the refrigerator door I was so mad I was shaking and had to take a deep breath and compose myself in order not to snap at the first person that I might see after leaving the office.

My saving grace was that I hung out with some friends last night to start my birthday celebration week so that totally prevented me from sitting down at my computer last night and tapping out a scathing letter to post on the refrigerator door when I got to work today and trust me, from what I had mentally drafted in my head I probably wouldn’t have lasted here through the end of the week so thank God for that small miracle.

I guess there’s no real moral to this story and certainly no happy ending (for me at least). But this can’t be isolated, there are likely fridge thieves amongst us all in our respective workplaces out to steal the hopes and dreams of leftover happiness for a segment of the American workforce. To you I say, be vigilant, protect your lunch and the lunch of others, secure your sodas from stray sips and from those looking two subtract one from your six pack, and by all means, if you catch one of these low lives doing their dirt do your due diligence and kick that bastard in the back of the head. This former Calzone owner thanks you in advance for doing your part!

     ~thanks for reading

Categories: Attempts at Seriousness, Decatur Stories, So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

Twelve Days of Skrap Vol 1 – Ketchup Snob

Well, it’s December, the greatest month of the year because this is the month that houses my birthday. On the 12th of this month I’ll grow another year older and wiser (allegedly) so to give you something to read while you wrap my birthday gifts I decided to write a little something about me for every day leading up to my birthday on December 12. Some will make you chuckle, others may make you go “Awwwww”, others you may regret having wasted the time to read all together but I’ll put them all here anyway. So here goes with Volume 1: Skrap, the Ketchup Snob. Enjoy.

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A few days ago I made mention of the fact that I was a “ketchup snob” which got a chuckle from a few of my friends and a quizzical look from most others that didn’t know what in the world I was talking about. What better place to explain myself than in the blog that I have so deftly not posted in for a while.

When I was a kid there was nothing better than “yay-yay”. For those of you that don’t speak Skrap that is what I called ketchup when I was a kid (somewhere around age 6 or 7 I actually started calling it ketchup, probably after having been threatened by one of my older sisters). Anyway, “yay-yay” went on everything, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, a facet about me that decades later still holds true, nothing is safe from a few ounces of liquid tomato, except pancakes…even I can’t imagine how heinous that would be…anyway. More so than my love for ketchup is my love for a particular brand of ketchup and that brand is Heinz. When the good people at Heinz started making Heinz ketchup I believe that was the one day that Unicorns roamed freely about the earth ridden side-saddle by beautiful Mermaids (they had to ride side-saddle, you can’t very well straddle a unicorn with a tail); the Mermaids were followed by a parade of Leprechauns floating about on slices of rainbows and little Cupids set aside their bows and arrows and traded them in for miniature bottles of Heinz ketchup that they poured merrily on the meadows of grass causing four leaf clovers to sprout all over. Yes folks, Heinz is magic and I knew this as a child. I have a cousin who lived in a Hunt’s Ketchup household; I spent the night there once and only once. I have more than once asked restaurant workers that offer other brands of ketchup if they actually think their offered brand is better or if they are just looking to openly say to their customers, “we’re cheap as hell.” I take my ketchup loyalties very seriously. Which brings me to a few weeks ago.

Mercifully I managed to get off America’s Unemployment Line about a month ago (praise God) but of course that whole week in the hole thing stinks when you’re looking to collect your first check so I was still pinching pennies very tightly. I went to the store with the express purpose of picking up a few things, some spaghetti, some ground beef, and some “yay-yay”, I mean, ketchup. Everything was fine until I got to the ketchup aisle. There was ketchup everywhere, it was like looking into the Romper Room magic mirror of ketchup. There was Hunt’s, and the knock off store brand, Del Monte, Red Gold, and some organic thing pretending to be ketchup, there was ketchup everywhere. But, to my horror, there was no Heinz ketchup anywhere; and just when I was about to shed a single solitary tear like the Native American man from the old pollution commercial back in the day what do I see? Heinz ketchup! But, alas, a problem, the only size they have is the largest size; I’m apparently not the only person in the neighborhood that likes Heinz because all the smaller and less expensive sizes were wiped out. The size bottle they had that was remaining was right at $6.00 and, remember, I’m pinching pennies. I can’t put the chicken back because I needed something to stretch through the week until the first check, spaghetti has to stay because it’s quick to make and, well, cheap. I could have bought the ketchup but that would have run into the last bit of money I had and I couldn’t delve there because the “low fuel” light on my car had already been illuminated for two days. So there I am, alone with my thoughts with “Night Shift” by the Commodores playing in the background over the store speakers staring at the three $6 bottles of Heinz ketchup wondering how badly I really needed ketchup.

My common sense kicked in and said, “Hey man! What are you, kidding me? You got three shelves of ketchup staring you in the face. That one right there, RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU is $1.99, and the one on the shelf below it is $1.49. Just get that ketchup and let’s go, it’s cold in here and I’m tired of listening to The Commodores.” Looking to be fiscally responsible, if a man with $17 dollars in the bank CAN be fiscally responsible, I put aside my Heinz dreams and actually reached for the devil that is Hunt’s Ketchup and then:

“Man, **** that.” I actually said that aloud while carrying a grocery basket listening to the Commodores sing the chorus just one more time. Who does that? Who is brought to expletives by a decision on ketchup? Well, apparently me! (That makes three things that make me curse, the other two are the Falcons, and traffic). I decided that I would not betray my beloved Heinz for if I could not afford her, then I would have no ketchup at all. I turned my nose up at the cheap trollop named Hunt’s and headed to the checkout aisle with the chicken and the spaghetti.

So yeah, I’m a ketchup snob; I’ve been brainwashed by the machine out of Pittsburgh, PA and I wouldn’t have it any other way and as I found out I’d rather have butt naked hot dogs and fries than to soil either with a less than worthy product. Take that Hunts, Del Monte, Red Gold, and organic knock off pretending to be ketchup.

~thanks for reading 🙂

Categories: So Incredibly Random, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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