Sometimes when you least expect it, in the most common of places, if you happen to be paying attention or your timing is just right, you can see some of the most amazing things.
Today I was out running errands at lunch, and before heading back to the office I decided to swing by Taco Bell for an incredibly tasty and oh-so-nutritious meal. Normally I try to eat a little healthier, but I was in kind of a hurry and I figured it was better than McDonalds and, wait....why am I defending myself to you? You're not my mother. Or even my workout buddy. Besides, the point isn't that I was eating at Taco Bell, that's just the location.
Let's try to stay focused here...
So, I'm at Taco Bell. I've already ordered, and I'm just sort of standing around waiting for someone to yell "number 205". As I wait, I'm watching the staff bustle around doing their jobs with all the precision and grace of, well, Taco Bell employees.
As he zips past me, one employee in particular catches my eye. I don't know his name, but I've seen him here on numerous occasions, sweeping, clearing tables, and cleaning with an enthusiasm that, frankly, I've just never been able to muster for such tedious tasks.
Today he is helping a customer find a "to go" lid for her Nachos Bell Grande. His first attempt fails as he delivers the bottom half of a taco tray. Close, but no cigar. Soon, with a little help from Sheila behind the counter, the right lid is found, the nachos are saved. Our friend shuffles off to the cleaning-supply closet.
Now, for the life of me, I don't know what made me look. Maybe it was the soft sound of his mumbling, or maybe just pure dumb luck. But for whatever reason, I turned to my left and there he was in the supply closet. Having a conversation.
With a mop.
I couldn't hear the conversation (and let's face it, it's rude to eavesdrop), but it seemed to center around the fact that the mop was having a little difficulty standing on its own.
His voice was calm, almost soothing, as he gently took the mop by the handle and leaned it against the open door. He turned his head, pretending to look away, then watched out of the corner of his eye as the mop slowly slid down the door towards the floor. Intervening at the last moment he once again took the mop by the handle, instructed it on how to stay in place, leaned it against the door, and feigned looking away. Again, the defiant little mop began its descent to the floor.
Not being a man of limitless patience, he decided that more drastic measures were required. He seized the mop and lifted it completely off the floor. I almost felt sorry for it, dangling there in his left hand as his right hand thrust forth an accusing finger and he softly but firmly scolded this mischievous mop.
Once, twice, three times he shoved the mop head against the floor, moving and adjusting it until the tassels lay just so, splayed out like the legs of some woolly starfish. He leaned the handle against the door and tentatively released it, stepping back slowly, all the while coaching it to remain.
This time, it stayed. I watched as a smile slipped across his face and he puffed up like a general inspecting his troops. He gave a swift nod of approval and went back to work in the closet, glancing back from time to time to assure himself of his victory. Only when he was certain that it wasn't going to fall did he reach over, grab it, and begin mopping the floor.
I was still standing there smiling to myself as the woman behind the counter shouted "number 205" for the third time.
My point? Well, I suppose it's just that people see the world in very different ways, and live their lives in very different ways. Some people have geeky computer jobs and don't get out in the sun enough, and some people....well, some people talk to mops. All day, every day it's happening all around you, and you can walk right by without ever even noticing, blinded by the uniformity of your own daily rituals.
So next time you're out, take a moment to stop, look around, and smell the tacos. You just don't know what you're likely to find.
See that job title? Check it out: "Spy". How cool is that? I know, you're probably wondering what it means to be a spy for an international organization like Intrepid Media, huh? Well I'd love to tell you, but I can't. It's all part of the spy game, baby.
ABOUT ROGER STRIFFLER
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IF YOU LIKED THIS COLUMN...
10.23.00 @ 4:55p
I enjoy talking to my dog.
I also have invented a voice just for him tat he answers me with... with all the answers dictated by his facial expressions.
I know the dog at least hears me. And we don't know... perhaps inanimate objects do hear us when we speak.
10.24.00 @ 10:01a
But in as far as they don't respond, it still makes for a pretty one-sided conversation. Besides, I don't know that I'd want to hear what a track light has to say.
10.24.00 @ 10:23a
Actually, I've dealt with some pretty obstinate machines...not the least of which is my car...and I swear they've responded to my verbal coaxings (and threats).
As for the track-light - it would really depend on where it was mounted, now wouldn't it?
10.24.00 @ 7:36p
I think "how" it was mounted would make for a livelier discussion.
Not that I'd know.
10.25.00 @ 4:54p
Oh, I am SO biting my tongue right now...