Another day, another Dick Jones self-query: Am I IN a foreign country I wanna know?
Now, I already know that I am “somebody”. I used to think that I was a nobody, but then I noticed that, every day before Peggy drove off to work, she left a list of stuff that needed to be done that day by “somebody”; as in: “Somebody needs to pick up my dry cleaning, and somebody needs to find a place to get these slacks hemmed for me by Wednesday…” – and that “somebody” was ALWAYS yours truly!
Anyway, “somebody” needed to get the aforementioned dress slacks hemmed for Peggy by Wednesday, so I jump into the wheeled conveyance and drive down to my usual dry cleaners, remembering the “Alterations” signage in his window.
I wait in line (I guess a whole lotta people spill shit on themselves over the weekend), idly watching people dropping off their rags to be dry-cleaned. Since I’m the fourth moron back in line, with as many morons behind me, I notice that the Pakistani(?) owner, who sounds like he’s been in the US of A for all of about 9 days, begins every exchange with the query “Phone Number”? He then types said number into his magic moh-chine, and up comes the information that he wants.
Now – I KNOW that MY phone number resides in his magic moh-chine, but that’s not why I’m there; I’m there to find out if one of his unseen alteration minions can hem these slacks in ONE day. My turn comes, I put the slacks on the counter, and I begin to speak…
“Phone number”? He fairly SHOUTS at me, cutting me off before my second word has fallen outta my maw. I continue on with my hem question; exactly 3 words later, I hear – “PHONE NUMBER?!” I ignore his second request for my phone number, and get 3 more words into my query. “PHONE NUMBER!?” – this time with SO much irritation in his voice that EVERYONE behind me is looking at us (mostly him) uncomfortably.
“Oh, you want my PHONE NUMBER?! Do you have a pen and a piece of paper? I’ll write it down for you.” He looks at me a bit puzzled, but hands me a pen and a scrap of paper – I write slowly, in huge block letters FUCK-YOU. “There’s my phone number – how ’bout THAT?!”
“Scratch THIS fuckin’ mook offa my service provider list!” as I’m greeted with four separate smiles on my way out d’ah d’oh…
So I gets back into my car, oddly unruffled (Hey – it IS Monday), and drive exactly 1/2 mile up the road, to ANOTHER dry cleaning establishment. As I go inside, I see that THIS place is run by a Chinese woman. She gives me a nice smile, and of course – asks for my phone number. Apparently your phone number is the virtual “key to the castle” in the modern, English as a second or third language dry cleaning facility.
I wave off her request, and ask her if she can have these pants hemmed by Tuesday night. She says yes – after 5PM tomorrow, noting that they close at 6PM. “Great!” says I. “Phone number please?” She asks. O.K.; I’ll play – I give it to her. “You not in system” says she. “I KNOW!” says I, but I give her my phone number again S-L-O-W-L-Y. “You not in system” she says again; I feel my blood pressure begin to rise; I grind my teeth together and silently count to 10. Big smile – “Well, let’s get me in that magic system of yours, shall we?” “Name please.” I spell out my last name for her – “J, O, N, E, S.” – she gets flustrated.
I hand her my CA Driver’s license – she’s GOTTA be able to read, right? She looks at it, then types into HER magic box “RICHARD JAMES”, my first & middle names; “Welcome Richard James!” pops up on her magic box screen that is visible to the customer.
I unconsciously shift my testicles around in my u-trou, ’cause that’s what men DO when they are suddenly uncomfortable. “No, no, no – Richard is my first name, James is my MIDDLE name, and Jones is my LAST name – get me?” I then pull out a second ID, also with my full name on it – she looks at it with an equal degree of flummoxity. She starts typing into her magic box keyboard again, and up pops “Welcome James Jones Richard!”
“Do you have a pen and a piece of paper?”