Life Slice: #426

I should be writing my book. But I spent three hours plotting the final act this morning and that’s enough for today. Plus, it’s too hot to think, the laptop is toasting my nuts and my arms are sweating on the keyboard. Generally uncomfortable. I’ll be sleeping in the buff tonight, on top of the sheets, at the mercy of any mosquitos which may have found their way in.

And no, I’m not going to turn on the air con. You should have seen the electricity bill last month.

I don’t miss the Canadian winters, though. That’s a pendulum swung too far the other way.

I was in university in Regina, Saskatchewan back in the late 70s, early 80s (I think this was the winter of 79/80) and I had a weekend job delivering pizzas. I drove a Datsun 510 with a fucked clutch and iffy radio.

The clutch wasn’t a problem in the winter. I’d pop it into neutral and roll to a stop at the traffic lights, and when it turned green, I’d rev the engine, slip the manual transmission into 2nd gear (I got good at getting the RPM right for that to work) and the back wheels would spin on the snow/ice until they caught, and I’ll pull away from the lights.

The shitty radio was a different matter.

Anyway, I was working for this tiny pizza joint, two tables, primarily delivery, not eat-in, run by a really obnoxious guy who cut corners at every opportunity. He couldn’t have made very good pizza — business was horrible. Which sucked, because I got paid per delivery.

I brief diversion to describe Tony in 1979.

Skinny, frizzy hair (I still had hair) and the self-confidence of a whipped pup. Amazing how much can change in forty years. I was terminally shy, had my face stuck in a book if I wasn’t doing schoolwork (or delivering pizza) and generally a “keep to myself” kinda guy

One night — a really quiet night — the pizza shop owner popped out to, I don’t know, buy drugs or something, and asked me to mop the floor including the single bathroom (employees only). Remember I only got paid per delivery. I could have, and should have, told him to stuff it up his arse. But 1979 Tony wouldn’t do that.

So I mopped the floor. Including the bathroom.

He came back about an hour later, freshly blown, or whatever, went into the bathroom to snort some coke (or whatever), and came out yelling at me for not mopping the floor.

I HAD mopped the floor. It’s entirely likely I did a shit job, but I mopped the fucking floor. And I told him so.

He put me in a headlock and threatened to beat the crap out of me. I would have taken this to HR, but he was HR. So I pushed him away, pulled on my jacket and left, into the -25C winter night, hoping like hell my car would start.

He followed me out, yelling and swearing in what I assume was Italian, in his shirt sleeves, working up a lather. I pulled the car door shut, locked it and rolled the window down a crack. Stuck the key in the ignition and really, really, really hoped the car would start.

He leaned his head down to the crack in the window and told me he was going to bash my teeth in and, I swear to god, timid Tony smiled and said “Great. That’ll pay for the rest of my Engineering degree.”

The car started, I lit out of there and to a much larger pizza place run by a Greek family a couple of blocks away and got a job delivering them that night. And it paid better, too.

Moral of the story? I don’t know. Maybe something about knowing your value and not settling. Settling is death. I shouldn’t have settled for the shit job in the crappy pizza place. But I had to go through that, I guess, to know it was a shit job in a crappy pizza place.

Dammit. Now I feel like pizza, and it’s 11:30 at night.

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