Bagels of the Grateful

#Workplace

Wed, Jan 16th, 2002 05:00 by REVSCRJ ARTICLE

For all the shit I give hippies, truth is: I really like them more than most of the cliques Humans have coagulated into; but GOD FORBID that I should ever have to work with that many of them again! GOD FORBID I should ever have to listen to SO MANY GODDAMN HOURS of Grateful Dead, collectively, for the rest of my life.

On any given especially sunny day SOMEONE would be "too sick to come in", or "had their car break down in Big Sur" (the amount of times that cars mysteriously broke down in Big Sur was just surreal...) and- come 'harvest' season- everyone would slow wayyyyyyy down. Hippies-god bless'em.

The job itself was non-stop drudgery, y'know: basic shlepping bagels to one person after another in an endless stream all day long. I'd come home smelling like hot mayonnaise with poppy seeds in the most inexplicable locations.

At least I had no problem scoring dope. I could eat for nearly nothing. Life was good.

Speaking of dope, often I'd get pretty ripped during my breaks then come back in to start making sandwiches again. This one time a guy orders: garlic bagel- toasted- with mayo, hot mustard, egg, salmon and herb cream cheese.

I stand there for like 5 long seconds and he's looking at me as blankly as I was likely looking at him and then I come out with: "Damn man, that sounds REALLY good, I mean REALLY! I'm gonna have THAT for lunch! Wow, egg and salmon- talk about 'rich'! Have you had it before or is this something that just came to you, coz no one's ever ordered that from me before- it sounds REALLY good!"

He looks at me in a way that makes him appear to be stepping back slowly and says "Uhhm... yeah, it's good... can you make it?"

I jolt a little, because I was imagining the flavor pretty intensely, laugh, roll my eyes stupidly, and make it for him. He would never order from me after that. Straight edge weirdo.

So, anyway, I'd been there for like 6 months or so and this one day I feel particularly beat down by the High School lunch rush so I go out front in an ebb and lay down on some warm bricks to bake in the sun for a moment.

I love times like that, where for a moment your body just forgets itself to the heat and you drift through a series of disconnected yet sometimes amazingly potent thoughts. This one passes through "God... I know this place like the back of my hand..."

A minute or two later I sit up and stretch with that break's-almost-over resignation and in the midst of it I look down at my hands and realize that their backs are TOTALLY unfamiliar to me. Scars I can't place, colors that are wrong... new hair!

"My GOD" I think "I don't know the backs of my hands!"

I simultaneously laugh and feel like an utter idiot (an ability that has made my life a lot more tolerable).

So I sit there staring at them trying to ingrain the image into my skull. It's odd, I can still remember what they looked like then (ask me what I did yesterday, however, and I'd have to strain).

I went inside and mentioned to the guy I was working with whose reaction is:

"Uh-heh! Thas'a trip Rev!" and he started looking at his own
hands... the
palms...

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