Tuesday, November 10, 2009

An Example of the Nonsense Some Women Put Up With

This allegedly true story was written by David Menzies, who is heard every Friday on Charles Adler's national radio show on the Corus Radio Network. It is written from the perspective of his female friend, Sharona. Full permission was kindly granted by Mr. Menzies to post it here.

I know, I know . . .

I said it was over as in *forever* with James when his brand new Mustang GT turned out to be a radio-controlled toy car. I know I vowed I’d only date men with a real vehicle.

But James is persistent. He kept calling me (from his mom’s house) and I ignored his calls. I think that had something to do with his 13-year-old friend, Tobey, admonishing me for calling James’s Mustang a “toy” as opposed to a remote-control vehicle.

But the last message I received from James was so compelling and made me so curious I just had to give him one last try at keeping our relationship intact.

Alas, like Charlie Brown being enlisted by Lucy to kick the football, I should’ve known better.

In any event, James left a message on my voicemail noting that he was getting into business for himself. He was tired of working for “The Man” and like his friend, Fast Freddie, he was going to re-invent himself as self-employed entrepreneur.

Fast Freddie, by the way, is a friend of James who drives a mobile catering truck. As James told me, it will mean getting up at 5 in the morning so that he can prepare his inventory and do his routes, commuting from job site to job site to serve up hot coffee and fresh pastries to hungry construction workers. James pleaded with me to help him on the first day. I knew he likely really didn’t need my help, that he just wanted to get back together with me. After all, these catering truck businesses are one-man operations.

Still, I admired his initiative. He’s going to get up at 5 a.m. instead of the crack of noon. And finally, James obviously now had a set of wheels that wasn’t a toy. In fact, I imagine a catering truck must’ve set him back quite a bit. Perhaps I was wrong about my pathetic Peter Pan? Maybe he had grown up at long last?

I phoned him back. “OK,” I said. “I’ve arranged to take the day off work. I’ll help you out on your first day.”

“Great, Sharona!”, James enthused. “And don’t be late! Us entrepreneurs like to hit the road when the rooster is singing.”

The next day I showed up at James’s house, or, more accurately, his elderly mother’s house, at precisely 5 a.m. When I rang the doorbell, I was surprised to see James mother, Agnes, at the door, in her housecoat.

“Hi, Sharona,” said Agnes. “Please come in. But please keep it down. James is still sleeping.”

I was rendered speechless. What happened to that rise of the rooster jazz?

Anyway, I followed Agnes into the kitchen. The table resembled an assembly line. Agnes was making peanut butter and marmalade sandwiches, wrapping each sandwich in cellophane. I estimate she had made about 80 sandwiches, most of which had Agnes’s thumbprints in the bread.

“Would you like to help me out, dear?” Agnes asked. “You can get started on the Liverwurst sandwiches.”

I thought I was still dreaming at this point. I’m supposed to be helping James with his catering business and here I am with Mumsie preparing a family picnic for the ages at quarter past 5 in the morning.

“Agnes,” I said after making my 10^th Liverwurst sandwich. “What’s all this food for?”

“Oh, it’s for James’s new catering business,” she said joyfully. At this point, she sneezed, saturating about 7 peanut butter and marmalade sandwiches in the process. I felt queasy.

“Oh… kay…” I said. “James will be selling these sandwiches?”

“That’s right,” said Agnes. “As soon as my teddy bear gets up.”

“But, Agnes,” I said, somewhat exasperated. “I don’t think a lot of people eat peanut butter and marmalade sandwiches.”

“James does!” she snapped back.

“And with all due respect, Agnes, I don’t think a lot of people eat Liverwurst.”

“James does!” she snapped again, and let out a hearty sneeze in the process.

Like an idiot, I continued making sandwiches. At 6:45, Sleeping Beauty finally arose, stumbling out of his room as if he barely slept.

“Hey, Sharona, what’s up?” said James, yawning. He was clad in a pair of Joe Boxer briefs and a T-shirt bearing the image of Aquaman. As he yawned, he began to – how do I put this politely – scratch his fishing tackle.

“James,” I said, somewhat irritated. “I thought you wanted to hit the road at 5.”

“Well … 5-ish…” he said. “Say, Ma, what’s for breakfast?”

“I’ll have your oatmeal on in a jiffy, son. Maple and Brown Sugar or Cookies ‘n Cream?”

“I want the one with the little dinosaurs,” said James, and this apparently made perfect sense to Agnes as she waddled off to boil the water, leaving me with the Liverwurst and Wonderbread.

“Hey, how ’bout those Leafs?” James said as he cracked open the paper.

“James!” I snapped. “Should we be doing your catering route by now.”

“An army travels on its stomach,” responded Col. Klink.

It was almost 9 a.m. when we got out of there due to James’s need for a sit-down breakfast, a long hot, shower and his “morning constitution.”

“I’ll get my wheels – meet you out front Sharona,” he said.

I was thankful for the fresh air. The scent of marmalade, Liverwurst and what James left behind in the bathroom was making me gag.

When James emerged from the garage, he was not behind the wheel of a catering truck. Instead, he was rolling out his bicycle. He had attached a wagon to the back and a carrier over the rear wheel. The carrier had a Bunn-O-Matic coffee maker, which appeared to be powered by a generator in the wagon. The coffee urn was held in place by duct tape and bungee cord. A sign read: “Catering by James in a Jiffy”

“Isn’t this great, Sharona?” said James beaming.

“James – your … your truck is a … bicycle?”

“Not just any bicycle, a Mongoose,” said James.

I began to feel like a cobra.

Next out of the house was Agnes with two humungous backpacks. The sandwiches were packed – as in jam-packed – inside. I looked in my backpack and saw squished Liverwurst sandwiches co-mingled with peanut butter and marmalade sandwiches. For the second time in one morning, I almost puked.

“Hop on, Sharona,” said James pointing to his handlebars.

I knew it was useless to ask, but I asked anyway: “James, for the love of God, please tell me you are kidding?”

“No, c’mon Sharona – we can do this.”

I explained to James that since I was older than 7 my days of riding on a bike’s handlebars were over. I told him I would get into my Honda Civic and meet up with him at the first job site.

James agreed, gave me an address, and peddled off with his food and coffee. Actually, just the food. When he went off the curb and onto the road, the coffee urn fell off, smashing into a million pieces. James looked over his shoulder, shrugged and kept peddling. Agnes waddled back into the house to get a broom.

I got into my car and drove in the precise opposite direction of James, having no intention of meeting him at a construction site or anywhere else – ever again. About 40 minutes later, I received a phone call. Since it was from James, I let it go to voicemail. When I retrieved the message, it was a plea for help. He suffered a flat tire at his first stop. He found out the hard way that a construction site doesn’t exactly resemble a velodrome. He desperately needed a ride home because he was:

A. Lacking in funds for a cab; and

B. Nobody was buying those co-mingled peanut butter and marmalade and Liverwurst sandwiches (gently seasoned with Ma’s good ol mucous.)

I never returned the call. After all, I had done my part: I had already put in four hours of labour. Without compensation.

Today, I can never look at peanut butter, marmalade or Liverwurst without getting the feeling to throw-up. Ad for Jimbo, for all I know, he’s still at some construction site trying to bum enough money to get home to Mama.

No comments: