Monday, June 27, 2011

5 Star Subs

27575 Euclid Ave
Euclid, OH 44132
(216) 732-7750

by Kingtycoon Methuslah

So yesterday I didn't want to wake up. Man I didn't. I came to just up on five and discovered that my head and shoulders had found the sweet spot in the bed after probably all night of searching and they did not want to surrender. I did though because I'm fairly responsible, eventually. This did mean though that I missed out on having enough coffee. Having enough coffee is a real concern for me in the mornings because I'm out too early to stop and get some anyplace and on the two hours of bus I take every morning - there's not a lot of useful stops anyway - so it's on me to be properly supplied for my odyssey.

Which got me to seriously thinking. What if I was my grandfather? There's a story in our family. Long ago, when the British still ruled Egypt my Great Grandfather Methuselah would go to the city to work on the docks for ten piasters a day. Then when my grandfather was big enough - like ten? He came too. He unloaded a boat for his ten piasters and then went and bought fruit with it - the next day he sold the fruit to all the longshoremen and came away with twenty piasters and on and on. In this story I guess it's important to remember that the piaster is some fraction of a penny.

But I was standing around at the stop on 276th and Tungsten thinking about it - I could, when I get a paycheck - I could just go and buy a jug of coffee... I could buy a carton of self-made cigarettes and box them up - I could take donuts - I could merchant it up - be a merchant - maybe after a while work my way up to getting a food truck - like the roach-coach... Go from bus stop to bus stop in the early hours? I was thinking and imagining this. And counting up the people at each stop. Could I get a dollar out of each? Average a dollar? How much money do they have anyway? Taking the bus? Is this a sensible business?

I finally figured it's probably not as much as I make doing my data entry job. I don't know - maybe I'll still buy a jug of coffee one morning and some cups - give it a shot. It's not like I can't just drink all the excess.

On the second leg of my three legged trip I just read my book about the Crimean War - which is very, very good. It was an alright trip I guess? The driver looks at me with some kind of wary suspicion - she wanted everyone to fill out a survey about her the day before but I declined because I'd never ridden with her before - so who knows what I think - I believe she lost her competition about this survey because she seems ill - well not ill - because she's plenty friendly - but I guess indifferently disposed toward those of us who thwarted her efforts.

On the one hand I'm not protestant enough to respect people who value their work performance. Mainly because - you're still working for someone else - for crumbs from the big table. On the other hand - I can see that there's a lot of functioning that happens in the world based on that dynamic so I guess I value it, as a consumer. Could I keep the coffee warm enough? Would people care if I mentioned in passing about General Raglan's performance at the battle of the Alma? Could I, would I sell people the donuts?

Leg three - the kids everyone knows by name don't ride today which means - silence - relatively anyhow. Sometimes there's singing. Nobody remembers any part of "Three Blind Mice" besides those three words - so those three words are chanted forever in a way that loses its endearment quickly. So in silence. I have a good idea and am writing and scribbling, fast as I can, racing the bus to get it all down, or most of it - I'm writing a book you know - on the bus - it's alright - 10,000 words in week #1 - which is an alright pace.

Work is... work. I like it fine - there are many malingerers, malcontents and I'd say - Malefactors. Really this is a job I could do from home - I could do it as a contractor - say. In week #1 I've knocked out a thousand records - the old man who sits dexter is up to 200, the young man who sits sinister is up to 400. We all started on the same day. I'm thinking - I don't have to be here to do this - I should do it at home, heck, I should get another job and just do this on the side - at night when I'm bored anyway and just watch old tv shows - that's how it should be. They could make a deal with me to do a certain amount in exchange for a certain amount that's how it should be.

Talking to the man in charge afterward while waiting on my bus he says that in the spring that was sort of how it was - but that these complaining malefactors - they'd abused the system to the point that exists now - where breaktimes are enforced with draconian alacrity, and clocking in and out and mandatory hours of operation are strictly enforced. That's the way of things you know. This is the pattern of complaint: "We aren't treated in the way that we want to be treated humbug!" And to me... Waiting on the bus I decide that this is the x-y axis. You have dignity and you have comfort - you sacrifice one to have the other. I ride the bus because I think asking for rides and looking for assistance is undermining of dignity. I think getting in a car and paying all kinds of money and having that kind of responsibility etc... is a big trade up in exchange for comfort that comes at the expense of having some dignity and self determination. "Man, I gotta sell my blood, my car payment is due." That kind of thing. So I have no expectation of comfort at work and certainly don't complain about being asked to take out the trash because... Because it's just pathetic and shitty to complain about that - while it's virtuous and correct to do what is needed without comment.

Complaining - fie.

Going home I get to a neat stretch of the war in the Crimea and am engrossed. On leg #1 Wayne comes on the bus.

The day before I'd made his acquaintance - a nice enough guy - Wayne. He's a displaced person, crippled by a life of hard work and recent family deaths. He tells me stories about the people at the hobo jungle at 185th - naming names and gossiping lightly and good naturedly about who's a grouch and who's friendly. Mentions how the fishing is good but hard in the runoff stream.

This boy gets dropped off at the stop while we're sitting around and I'm sharing my cigarettes. He's one of the... I dunno - aggressively hillbilly-gay boys that you see a lot around the area? Very WT and super aggressive with the staring and gross attempts to flirt. "You're really tall!" He shouts at me from across the parking lot. Approaches and insinuates himself into me and Wayne's conversation. "I sure am." I reply.

True story - I hate flirting and really don't like it when a dude gets the predatory smile on me. Anyhow kid wants to now dominate the conversation and starts going on about how he's a karate badass and then calls attention to a big scar on his eye - "My ex did this to me."

Wayne is supportive. "Well why'd that happen buddy?"

"He was drunk."

Wayne: "He?!"

Boy: "Is that a problem?"

Wayne: "Looks like it was for you." Which raises a laugh - because it's a nice day and smiles all around.

Bus is caught and on to the penultimate stop. Waiting at Tungsten and 276th again. It's a long dull wait, and people there - they're all grouches - we all say to each other: "RTA runs when she wants to." - Except I say "... runs when he wants to..." Because I think buses are boys.

But tired and hungry I run to the sandwich shop on the block and the Palestinian(?) guy there sells me a sandwich with a long sales-pitch. "Hey bro - it's better than Subway - you get a lettuce and tomato sandwich at Subway bro - I got the real thing - one pound of meat on each one. I know. I used to work there. You tell your friends bro, you come back every day okay. Hey bro - I take food stamps for these sandwiches - you remember - hey! Hey, Schaadi! Get him a menu. You don't forget right bro?"

I realize - you understand - that this is what my grandfather would do. He would figure out this sandwich shop.

So I get a sandwich and finally get up on the 28 and head back home- past the apocalyptic windmill at Lincoln Electric - there's always gossip about it - is it really the biggest one in the country? For all I know - I only know what I overhear on the bus. I have an all day pass but don't want to go anywhere else so I hand it over to a kid who wants one - the first person to look up when I offer it. I have a pang - I mean, is it virtuous to give it away? Isn't the RTA in some kind of trouble- should I make everyone pay their share? Or is it benevolent to share what I have? Realizing that my grandfather would have sold it and not given it away.

I go home and eat what turns out to be a great sandwich - a pound of roast beef - which was the ration of beef given the British at Balaclava it so happens. A pound of beef each - the better to fight the Russian heretics.

So these things happened.

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