Beware of the “O”
“I’m going to kick your boss into the river!” said Lois* as I slid open my window.
I blinked. “Oh, really?”
“Yes, she was pretending her ears don’t work this morning. I said hello to her at the laundromat, and she didn’t respond!”
“What can I get for you?” I asked cheerfully, attempting to change the subject.
Lois quickly ordered a two-scoop caramel sundae and resumed her attack.
“Do you hear that ‘O’?” she whispered to my coworker, Bridget.
“That ‘O.’ You know, O-W-L,” Lois spelled.
“Ohhh, an owl!” Bridget laughed.
“Well, what do you call an owl?” retorted Lois, waspishly.
Bridget and I looked at each other, trying not to chuckle.
“What? Didn’t your boss teach you any English?”
Bridget didn’t miss a beat. “Are you sure she knows any?”
“Well, make sure you don’t send that ‘O’ to my backyard, or I’ll kick both of you into the river!”
“That will be $9.97,” I told the young mother at my window.
I waited as the woman attempted to locate her wallet in the bowels of her diaper bag. Upon finding it at last, she triumphantly withdrew a twenty dollar bill. But instead of giving the payment directly to me, she handed it to the child in her arms.
“Give the money to the lady, sweetie,” she cooed.
The little boy, not more than two-years-old, seized my tip jar and promptly shoved the bill into it.
“No, no, dear! To the lady,” she twittered.
Shyly, the toddler offered me the money. I counted out the appropriate change (a ten dollar bill and three pennies) and put it in his pudgy hands. Without a second’s hesitation, the boy closed one fist tightly around the coins…and plunged ten bucks into the tip jar!
I held my breath.
“Silly!” laughed the mother, “You want to keep the pennies?”
A few minutes later, I watched the pair stroll away. With his hand still closed protectively over his treasured pennies, the little boy licked the last of his ice cream cone, smiled, and disappeared from sight.
If You Give a Bulldog Ice Cream
A one-legged man hobbled up to my window accompanied by his bulldog.
“My dog wants some ice cream,” he growled.
I returned with our traditional “pup-cup,” a small bowl of vanilla ice cream topped with a slice of hot dog.
“He don’t need no hot dog,” grunted my customer, “And that’s too much ice cream.”
I brought back a smaller, ungarnished bowl.
“He wants a cone.”
With great trepidation, I opened my window and presented the smallest ice cream cone I had ever served. The ice cream barely rose a half inch above the cone.
“Would you like any napkins?” I asked, hopefully.
The man remained silent for an agonizing moment.
“What I want you to do,” he said deliberately, “Is take a spoon and scoop off half of that ice cream. That’s too much. And you know what happens if you give a dog too much ice cream.”
“What happens?” I wondered aloud.
“Well, it ain’t pretty,” he scoffed.
I took back the cone and did as he asked.
At last, the man and his bulldog returned to their motorcycle. I peeked out the window and caught glimpses of the dog slurping his diminutive cone. Judging by the look in his eyes, I doubt he would have minded that hot dog at all.
The Rollerblading Minstrel
As I drove home over the bridge, precisely at sunset, I spotted the rollerblading minstrel.
There he wobbled, shirtless, head thrown back in exultation, strumming a guitar like a rockstar hero.
People are interesting.
*Names changed to protect identities