Sunday, June 18, 2006

Looks like I picked a bad weekend to quit losing my temper.

The fifty-something woman with far too much makeup looked quizzically at the standard La Rosita’s selection of four – count ‘em, four – freshly made sauces intended for diners to joyfully slather on tortilla chips while waiting for their uniformly wonderful meals.

“Don’t you have any regular salsa?,” she whined.

It was all I could do to restrain myself from reaching over and plucking out her false eyelashes.

Israel, the owner of La Rosita’s, recently told me that when he first moved to New Albany and opened his much admired taqueria, he was entirely befuddled by frequent requests for burritos and other menu items to be served “enchilada style.”

Finally someone explained to him that this was standard operating procedure at Tumbleweed, where numerous New Albanians were initially exposed to a very loose approximation of Mexican-style cooking and still want the same thing done the same way – and their Coronas spiked with lime – more than 20 years later.

I’ve often speculated that there’s a “gene of adventurousness” that carries with it a propensity to learn new things and take chances – and that this gene has been efficiently bred out of much of the gene pool in New Albany and Southern Indiana.

Is it nature or nurture that causes otherwise functional people to ask: “Don’t you have any normal beer?”

“I can assure you that they’re all quite normal,” I usually answer, “and in fact, we make our own beer right here in this building.”

“But … but … don’t you have any AMERICAN beer?”

Perhaps there’s a “map comprehension gene” gone awry, too.


My Friday afternoon was going swimmingly, and I’d settled down to a small pizza and a ConeSmoker, absorbing a smidgen of each before being told that the vehicles parked in the NABC lot all had Pizza Hut fliers and refrigerator magnets on their windshields.

A moment later I’d traversed the hundred yards between my business and the neighborhood’s Yum! chain outpost and was standing at the counter, towering over a baby-faced young man obviously masquerading as manager, wagging my finger, and loudly expressing profane displeasure at Yum!’s tactless invasion of my property.

“That’s a public lot, sir,” he intoned.

“It’s private property,” I responded, “and you’re trespassing on it when you scatter litter on it.”

A sample was duly slammed to the counter.

“But strip malls are public property,” he replied.

I was struck speechless at his vacuous garbling of the basic facts of American life, but only temporarily, recovering to provide a brief lesson on the meaning of private vs. public property, why “no soliciting” signs are posted at the doors, and the fact that he had ten minutes to remove the advertising paraphernalia before I called the police and let them reinforce the message.

Evidently something in my presentation struck the “I’m responsible, aren’t I,” nerve in the manager, who dispatched a peon forthwith, and the latter – obviously an unambitious stoner – quickly comprehended the situation far better than his boss.

“This was a pretty dumb thing to do,” he said as he went about the task of collecting fliers and magnets.

Yes, I thought to myself. It was.

Doesn't anyone ‘round here know how to play this game?


If you were visiting the Public House or Pizzeria last evening when the thunderstorm moved through, I apologize for the inconvenience when we lost virtually all electricity just after 8:00 p.m. After Cinergy/Duke Energy predicted as much as a three-hour wait for repairs, the decision was made to begin shutting down early. With the exception of draft beer pours, there’s simply little that can be done in the dark, as walk-ins lose their chill and the room gets steadily more heated.

I'm heading there now to make sure everything's working properly.


antzman said...

If you don't mind me adding a salute to the jerks who decided to take a crowbar to my soda machines in front of my store on Saturday night. I hope the enjoyed the meager $3 they got out of the machine (Yes we do empty them every night just like the sign says). The light sum must have angered them enough to then smash the hell out of the machines, thus making me have to submit an insurance claim. Quite a Father's Day present to walk into this afternoon.

The New Albanian said...

Todd, I'm with ya.