Pick Your Poison

If it were only that easy.

As I promised. Here is a stab at an old Hank classic:

I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry

Also as promised (don’t stop me now, I’m on a roll), here is the short story Restraint:

Restraint

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon and I was taking advantage of the bank’s extended weekend hours to transfer some funds and get some information on one of my accounts. After I parked, I passed a mother with three kids, each pulling her in different directions. I smiled. She returned it with a roll of her eyes and a half-smile which spoke volumes of her maternal instincts. She finished her ATM transaction, counting several twenties out, and herded her children into the red SUV. I smiled to myself and entered the bank.

There were two tellers, an elderly Latino woman and a young man who looked like he wasn’t ready or able to shave the intermittent hairs sprouting from his acne-covered face. His clothes aspired to business casual and were in dire need of a good ironing. With fourteen obviously impatient customers to serve, I looked to see if the two shell-shocked employees had any help lingering in the wings. I decided to make my transactions online when I returned home, but I did want to speak with someone about the questions I had so I took a number from the plastic roller and sat down. I had just turned my phone on to surf the web and kill some time in anticipation of a lengthy wait, when a very energetic young blonde girl bounded up to me.  

Extending her hand, she announced “Hi! I’m Gidget. How can I provide you with awesome customer service today?”

I stood and offered my hand in return. She grabbed my hand and gave it a surprisingly strong squeeze and shake. I looked to the two lines, now containing at least ten customers each and asked, “Is this a good time? I can wait a few minutes if you need me to.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” she said. “Maria, you’re OK, aren’t you?”

Maria shot her a look that was unmistakable in its meaning. Hell no, I’m not OK you fucking idiot, does it look like we’re OK? But Maria just uttered a soft “OK.”

Now it was the customers’ turn with the eye-rolling.

“See?” Gidget affirmed, “Everything is awesome! Right this way, we can sit in my office. Can I get you a water or coffee?” Her blue business suit did not have one wrinkle and her makeup looked like it was done professionally. She also looked to me to be about fourteen years old.

“No thanks, I’m good,” I said.  I shot another furtive glance toward the tellers as several customers decided they’d had enough and left through the fingerprint-smudged front door.

“Awesome!” Gidget exhorted, pointing to the chair in front of her desk. “The name on the account you are inquiring about sir?”

After providing my name, address, and phone number, I was greeted with a “perfect!” or “awesome!” after each answer. My exuberant Customer Service Specialist was really on top of her game today. I decided my information was neither perfect nor awesome but bit my lip as her phone rang.

I counted exactly nine “awesomes” in her brief conversation, and as she covered the phone receiver with her French nails, she whispered “Thank you for being so awesome and patient, I’ll be right with you.”

I smiled again and said to myself: Really? Is awesome the only fucking word you learned in college? Not everything is awesome, and NOTHING is perfect. I hope your stupidity and lack of business acumen does not extend to teaching your children, that is if anyone was even more stupid or drunk enough to have sex with you. You just said it again. You’ve been on the phone exactly three minutes and you just said your tenth “awesome!” I cannot believe the idiots that run this bank even hired a fucking fool like you to represent them. Maybe, just maybe, if every one of your customers did not have a functioning brain and were twelve-year-olds, you might be considered “awesome” yourself. I, however, DO have a functioning brain and am NOT a twelve-year-old so fucking ENOUGH with the “awesome” already!

Gidget truncated the phone call with her eleventh “awesome!” and smiled back at me. “Thank you so much for your patience and understanding Mark, how are you doing today?”

For just one millisecond I thought I had the perfect response, but then thought No, that would be too easy. Also captured in that split-second I could see my beloved mother’s bony index finger wagging in my face. “There are no liars in this family Markitos.”

I looked to Gidget and smiled again.

“Awesome Gidget, how are you doing?”

Stay well.

Published by maddogg09

I am an unmotivated genius with an extreme love for anything that moves the emotional needles of our lives.

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