More Chilling Tales of American Service

Well, I’m a regular at a place now for the first time in months, and I suppose it feels kind of good! Still, while I don’t feel like I’m so regular that I deserve full disclosure of the establishment’s darkest, grossest secrets, the staff seem to think I am. Honored as I feel, this makes for some gross interactions, which add a fresh coating of awkwardness to that which I described in a previous post.

Today’s interaction:

Me: “I suppose I’ll just have a coffee.”

Clerk: “Sure.”

So far, so good. She reached for a mug. Passing it to me, she twisted her wrist and peered inside the mug along the way.

Clerk: “Gotta always check first, that’s something I’ve learned.

Those who claim the Japanese are the only people who communicate through abstract insinuation are smoking too many blunts. Allow me to translate:

Clerkish: “Gotta always check first, that’s something I’ve learned.”

Plain English: “The mugs are likely at all times to be filled with maggot eggs, feces, and the semen of disgruntled short-order cooks, which I know because it’s really happened before without any of the staff noticing until a customer consumed some of it.”

And then, the awkwardness, rushing in like tear gas.

Me: “So you’ve worked here long, then?”

Clerk: “Surprisingly no, just a fast learner.”

I barfed.

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