5.31.2006

Swave and sofa-skated, c'est moi

Periodically Miss Snark takes a day trip to hell.
Usually it is she herself who makes the travel arrangements.
Today was such a day.

First, she had a lunch date followed by an editorial meeting.

It's never good to have two important events back to back cause you never know when the trains are going to stall, the counter chick is going to place cherry pie in your lap and a la mode sur ton tete, and all taxicabs develop a sudden aversion for Lexington Ave.

Or...what happened today.

Miss Snark is seated at the lunch table with her guest. She asks about the soup of the day. No soup. A review of the lunch menu ensues. I hate food fussbudgets almost as much as I hate ...well..I think actually I hate food fussbudgets more than anything. You know..those people who ask how the biftek is prepared at Hatties House of Hash? Well, I'm not one of those people I hope..but I don't eat some things that are common on menus so soup is usually an easy, no fuss choice.

So now, here I am, going over the menu item by item with the server. Miss Snark knows she's creating the impression she's the WORST sort of fussbudget. And it's one of those things that only gets worse..and worse...and worse. Finally we find something. Miss Snark at this point would rather eat the napkin than ask about ingredients one more time.

Lunch progresses. Laughter all around. Then the bill arrives. Miss Snark seizes it, noting she has only 15 minutes to get across town, gathers up her parcels, flings the check with Amex at the waiter...who sneers at Miss Snark and says "cash only".

oh dear dog.

Miss Snark's lunch guest pays the bill. Did I mention it was a prospective client?
Miss Snark insists on rushing off to the nearest bank to extract funds. PC protests, Miss Snark insists.

Miss Snark goes to ATM...gets two twenties. Realizes with horror that the bill and tip was $30. Oh the dilemma...does one hand over the two twenties, or only one? Both choices seem wrong somehow. Miss Snark races to the teller!! Get change! Yes! Just as she gets there, an elderly lady with a red wheelie cart (ubiquitous in NYC) reaches the head of the line and goes to the only free teller....and proceeds to count out ...very very slowly...quarters, nickels and dimes. Then she gets to the pennies.

PC waiting patiently of course (probably thinking Miss Snark is a NITWIT for carrying no cash, a sentiment MS is also entertaining).

Finally the teller is free, Miss Snark races to the window, gets the two tens, races back to pay the PC...and realizes she's not left herself enough cash for the taxi to the next meeting...which is now about 60 blocks and 60 seconds away.


Sartre famously said "hell is other people". Miss Snark says "I am my own hell".

57 comments:

Maya said...

At that point, I would have recognized the universe was conspiring against me and been tempted to go home to bed.

I admire MS's resolve and stamina and am relieved she didn't really end up sporting ice cream on her shining locks. KY would have been mortified.

Sheila said...

Where in NYC is there *cash only* with a waiter? I can see throwing dollar bills across the counter at McD's but a place with wait staff...?

Hope your evening is better! Have a sloe gin with Mr. Clooney.

Anonymous said...

For the past nine months I have read you, Miss Snark, from an urban setting. I wondered how you would transport to a cabin in the hills of Tennessee where I now find myself. You travel nicely. Is KY afraid of bears?

Elektra said...

Don't worry, Miss Snark, this happens to everyone. I've a friend who insists on dragging me to sushi restaurants, despite the fact that I won't touch the stuff. I usually have to end up begging the waiter for a kiddie menu and some chicken tenders...

Anonymous said...

I know it's not nice to laugh at other people's misfortunes. But I was laughing out loud, especially at the end when you realized you didn't leave yourself enough cash for the taxi.

Miss Snark when you're done with agenting, become a comedy writer. The resturant and bank scenes were hilarious.

Robert Billing said...

Personally if I were the PC who had got as far as actually having lunch with you, I'd gladly have paid for meal, taxi and a gift-wrapped bone for KY.

I'm middle-aged, plump, balding and write SF. Any chance of an offer? I thought not.

Can I take this opportunity to coin the term "Snarkaholic" for someone who can't stop reading this blog?

ColoradoGuy said...

Or perhaps "snarkist" for one who frequently uses references to this blog in conversation/discussion.

Anonymous said...

This might brighten things up a bit:

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/48465

Anonymous said...

Sheila, there are TONS of cash-only spots in NYC, with waitstaff. True, they are usually smaller and less expensive establishments, but plenty of places where many folks would love to eat do not take credit. Guess they don't have to. How do you like them apples, AmEx? One of the many reasons to love NYC....

April said...

Whenever something like this happens to me, people tell me that "I can use it in a book someday."

It's not a comforting thought.

HawkOwl said...

Well I have to agree it was all your own doing. LOL You mustn't have been a Girl Scout in your younger years. (In fact given your references to your age, I suspect your youth predates Scouting by a few decades.)

Kimberly said...

I have to agree, time to go home, hide under the covers, and pray tomorrow is better and Clooney filled.

rb said...

I dunno, Miss Snark. I'd clearly be impressed by your attention to detail. As opposed to the nitwit I ran into at the grocery store a few weeks ago, (my old boss/friend) who forgot his ATM card, and was left standing there with his wife and their 16 dollar bill. So, thinking I'd do the polite thing, I ran my ATM card through, paid his bill so they could take their groceries home, and he called me the next day so that I could come to his place of business and pick up the money he owed me. I couldn't make it. (Don't you think he should've brought the money to me? And even after that, he never made the attempt to get the money to me. It's been weeks. I mean, drop it in the mail. Put it on a Starbucks card and shove it under the doormat. Whatever. He is a nitwit. *You* went out of your way to make it right. That shows class. If that PC doesn't appreciate it, then you didn't want him/her. But I suspect they do appreciate that attention to detail--which tells me you're going to make things right, even if you have to go out of your way, and no matter who might be waiting down the line. Fill the gin pail. You deserve it.

LauraT said...

Oh Miss Snark,

I hope you are taking it easy after a day like that! It is ridiculous for any place not to accept credit cards. Even McDonald's does now. So, here's hoping for a really nice weekend.

theinadvertentauthor said...

I have experienced this phenom many times. It seems that late just keeps getting later; there must be some kind of Murphy's Law relationship here somewhere.

Recently a client insisted on giving me a tour of her horse stables. I was in 3 inch heels, and had scheduled lunch with another client. Not only did I need to scrape the horse plop from the soles of my favorite footwear, but also a generous spritzing of eau de toilette borrowed from the nearest department store!

kis said...

What kind of dumb-ass restaurant has no soup and doesn't take credit cards? Or interac direct debit? I live on a boil on the ass-end of nowhere--in Canada, no less--and there isn't a restaurant in town that doesn't take visa, MC or Amex, for dogsakes! And if I treated my customers the way that waiter treated you, I wouldn't be expecting a tip. Maybe a beating with the business-end of a stiletto, but not a gratuity.

Speaking as someone who waits tables while waiting for the literary world to discover my genius, I'd have to say the sneer was completely uncalled for.

Cheryl Mills said...

You mean money comes in paper form? How...quaint.

Anonymous said...

And what, pray tell, did Miss Snark do? Did she thumb a ride to the editorial meeting? Did she hike it? Did she offer to agent the cabdriver's book? Did she pull out her trusty cell phone and call with apologies?

We await the second installment.
Another Snarkoholic.

HJinPA said...

Oh, Miss Snark. A friend introduce me to your blog a while back, and I love checking in daily. But I read this and was laughing...not at you, but with you. Unless you weren't laughing. In which case...well, I still was and that makes me appear less than kind. SIGH.

Seriously, had I been your guest, I wouldn't have minded.

Did you make your meeting on time?? Were you even close to on time?

HJinPA

lizzie26 said...

Ever think of making your blog into an anthology for us snarkaholics who snarkist a lot? (Thanks to Robert Billing and Colorado Guy.)

Chumplet said...

I had lunch in Yorkville, a swanky part of Toronto, with my aunt. We paid our bill and were finishing our coffee.

The waiter apparently thought we weren't going to tip him, so he snootily pointed out that it was customary to leave a tip.

We just as snootily informed him that we were planning to leave it on the table when we left.

Well, after he sniffed and drifted away, I found about three dollars worth of Canadian Tire money (you canucks will know what that is) and we stood on the sidewalk, giggling when we watched him through the window getting his well deserved tip.

Cudd said...

It's nice to know you're human too, Miss Snark.

Though one of the first things that came to my mind...

Why didn't you simply write a fresh check to your potential client to the amount of the bill with a tip for the trouble?

the green ray said...

Miss Snark, don't worry, it was just a really bad astrological day. I was nearly in Hell myself. But it was good to hear an agent's side of the story. My former agent kept me waiting for literally 40 minutes at a pub in London with some wild story - and then didn't have any cash to pay for the lunch or a job that she hired me for. She delivered the quids to my hotel the next day. So it's always good to hear the other side of the story. There are always two sides - at least.

Cheryl Mills said...

Write a check? Oh dear dog, I'm going to faint dead away. People are expected to carry paper money AND paper checks? I thought money was something you kept on a keytag, and swiped as you walked by the register.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean *gasp* that MS gets Nitwit of the day? ;-)

Alison Ashley Formento said...

Anyone who's lived in the Apple know that all the "cash only" places are money-laundering spots for the mob. At least, that's what my super told me when I moved from Arkansas, where, even redneck hillbillies take credit cards. Now, if I could just get used to wearing shoes, life would be a lot easier.

Gina MarySol Ruiz said...

You poor darling. Where can I send the gallon of gin?

Anonymous said...

"Just as she gets there, an elderly lady with a red wheelie cart (ubiquitous in NYC) reaches the head of the line and goes to the only free teller....and proceeds to count out ...very very slowly...quarters, nickels and dimes. Then she gets to the pennies."

Are you certain you don't want to be a writer, Miss Snark? That was wonderful. I'm a cashier at a hardware store when I'm not writing. The elderly people and their change!! It's so important to them to count the change (when they can see it well enough to distinguish a nickle from a quarter.) The discussions! The explanations ("the change gets so heavy"). Their sad, shivering hands. They never seem to notice the line forming behind them. Bless their hearts - I'll be there someday myself, sans the change ceremony - God willing.

kis said...

Chumplet,

Heh heh, Canadian Tire money! You must've been saving up for a while, to make three bucks of it. I think you have to spend a hundred bucks to make ten cents worth or something. The most I ever got at any given time was thirty cents.

I hope that waiter appreciated how much time and effort you went to collecting it. And just to shaft him for being an asshole! Brilliant! Too bad the stuff's actually worth something at Crappy Tire. Maybe he bought himself a key-chain.

We Canucks may not say stuff it to your face, but we find our own special ways, don't we?

Deb said...

My sympathies, Miss S. But how in bejabbers is one person supposed to know all this stuff? Flush 'em. You're only human. Pet the KY for a while tonight & decompress.

As Mom used to say, "If that's the worst thing ever happens to you, you're in pretty good shape."

T2

Hmmmm said...

So does this mean that the PC knew Miss Snark's true identity BEFORE their harried lunch meeting or did s/he find out now?

Anonymous said...

Harried Mom, that is not true, and I not only have lived in NYC, but still do. I also have waited tables as a struggling youngster, and I can tell you that plenty of spots don't take credit because THEY DON't HAVE TO--i.e., they are hot spots and people will come anyway. That way they avoid paying the big credit card companies 5% or whatever a small business now has to cough up to take credit. Golly gee, have pity on the poor small business person. Credit cards may be convenient for we users, but they're expensive for small restaurants to take. Oh, and by the way, as a waitress I lost 5% of my credit card tips at the places I worked where credit was accepted.

~~Olivia said...

I bet MS took a cab for as far as her ten dollars would take her. Then she hoofed it the rest of the way.

Either that, or she went back to the ATM for more moola.

Thanks for the laugh!

anne altman said...

All-You-Can-Eat Juicy Riblets at Applebee's

busywriter said...

Uhm... I have a question. If you had been able to pay for the food with a credit card, would you have had the money to take a cab? And if not, if all you had was the $10 left after taking the $40 out to pay PC back, how were you planning on getting to your appointment in the first place?

Just thinking.....

mkcbunny said...

Recently, I went into Neiman Marcus to find something specific not sold elsewhere. I found the counter that sold the item, the clerk bagged it, and I handed him my Visa card. He wrinkled his nose at me at said, "We only take American Express." Only? ONLY? I looked in my wallet and did not have enough cash. He said, "We will accept a personal check." All I could think was, "Who carries checks anymore, and who ONLY carries checks and American Express?"

I guess it's their way of limiting their clientele to people who actually have cash. I left.

Elektra said...

I think harried mom was joking. And if not, can you give me a good recipe for possum pie?

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Oh my. I cringed just reading this! Hope your meeting went well to make up for this! After all you went through, Karma defnitely owed you one!

M. G. Tarquini said...

I want to know who the genius was that decided ATM's should only dispense twenties. Notice how hard it is to get change anymore? We're a population trying to break the damned twenties because the lawn guy and the cleaning lady are NOT about to fork over ten bucks change.

Know what I am forced to do in my quest to gather ones, fives and tens? when somebody asks me if I have change for a twenty, I look him in the eye and say, 'No.'

Simon Haynes said...

First, catch your possum ...

archer said...

I don't get "cash only" restaurants, and I don't get "We no serve alcohol" restaurants, and I don't get books in bookstores that are wrapped in fucking cellophane like they are Salome and if you want to see the rest you have to get the head of John the Baptist, either.

Alison Ashley Formento said...

Yes Elektra,
Not pie, but possum cobbler is one of my favorites. It's served in several high-end spots--which take credit cards. Tips of moonshine, readily accepted.

MM said...

I have had this day many times...

Anonymous said...

No alcohol restaurants = the restaurant either cannot afford or cannot get a liquor license.

nir said...

Oh, dear. Have some hugs and commiseration. And an extra bottle of gin.

Anonymous said...

"No soup for you! Don't come back for a year!"

Cynthia Bronco said...

ibid Lizzie26 !!! And I want an action figure too that comes with KY and gin pail accessories (George Clooney sold seperately).

JerseyGirl said...

Miss Snark races to the teller!! Get change! Yes! Just as she gets there, an elderly lady with a red wheelie cart (ubiquitous in NYC) reaches the head of the line and goes to the only free teller....and proceeds to count out ...very very slowly...quarters, nickels and dimes. Then she gets to the pennies.

Poor MS! Reminds me of an old Looney Tunes cartoon, wherein a married woman (think: the 1950s) goes around to the supermarket, etc., etc., finally gets to the bank, wherein...the first free teller she attempts to get to about 50 people manage to squish in ahead of her.

Turning to the next free teller...a little old lady manages to step in front...and count out a bag filled with coin, wherein she counts verrrrry slooooowly...

The best part of the cartoon was when her idiot husband couldn't believe she'd had such a harried day. She clunked him on the head with a rolling pin: "Little man, I've had a busy day!"

That said: Maybe you should've taken your stiletto to that waiter's head. Or something.

~Nancy

Inkwolf said...

Poor Miss Snark!

But the moral of this story is: Don't live in New York.

Funny, that's the moral of every story I read about New York...

Deirdre said...

Here's hug #1, to help you feel better.
Here's hug #2, to apologize for laughing so hard.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Dear Elektra:

http://www.cooks.com/rec/search/0,1-0,possum_pie,FF.html

Kristin said...

If it makes you feel any better, I hardly EVER have cash on hand. That debit card is my best friend when I am out and about. Just yesterday I took the kids to Burger King, where I have always been able to pay with a credit card/debit card. They were out of paper for the machine.

They were out of paper?? No sign on the door to let unsuspecting debit card junkies know before they enter the establishment. I have 2 hungry children and no cash.

I walk across the street to the gas station. They don't have an ATM. They direct me to a bank THREE blocks away. So I walk there, and have to stand in line with CARS while I wait for my chance to get out $20 so I can pay the d*** cashier at the d*** Burger King.

I feel your pain. The restaurant didn't take credit cards?? They gotta be nuts!

Anonymous said...

Inkwolf, we New Yorkers try to make sure that's the moral of every story, to keep it to our snarky selves.

Cheryll said...

Sha'el, Elektra & Harried Mom,

Possum Pie! Um-ummm, haven't had that in years. But I still have the recipe.

I also have one for Cooter Pie. But I don't know what a Cooter is.

Anybody? Many Southern recipe books (well the white trash ones, anyway) have recipes for cooter, so I don't think it's a joke...

Cheryl Mills said...

I know what a cooter is. That's not a cookbook. It's a sex manual.

Anonymous said...

A business associate calls me and asks me to take him to lunch at my club. You can't use cash or a credit card at this place. You walk in, sign in, and when the plates are empty, walk out. The damages, including tips, appear on a bill they send you at the end of the month.

Took the man to lunch. He never offered to pay me for his half. Okay, we both know I can afford it and had he offered to pay I probably would have said to forget it, but that's not the point. He called and asked me to take him, so he should have offered to pay. Felt less warm toward the guy after that.

I applaud MS for wanting to settle with her PC right away, but a nice note with the cash sent around that same day would have had more class than having the guy trailing her to the bank. And she wouldn't have been late for the next appointment.

On the other hand, if you'd determined during lunch you wanted no more contact with the PC, then paying him off and sending him on his way might have been worthwhile, even if it made you late for your next meeting. Depends on how important the second meeting was.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Oh thou of the dirty mind! Cooter Pie is not what thou thinkest. It be not thine privies. It be Turtle Pie:

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1848,147181-253202,00.html

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1826,147180-252202,00.html