Saturday, October 17, 2009

Knock, Knock, Porkchop

Yesterday I tried to have an honest, no bullshit conversation with the door-to-door meat salesman. He resisted me. Then last night I had this scary realistic dream that “they” were trying to drag me away to the mental institution. The two events are related.

First of all, I tried to talk, human to human, with the meat salesman. Midmorning I heard steps on the front walk, peeked out of my office window and saw a guy striding up to the front door with a determined look on his face. Then I spied the meatwagon idling on the curb. It was a new one I hadn’t seen before, but it had pictures of steaks plastered on the side. No mistaking the situation. I jumped up and opened the front door before he had a chance to knock.

“Ah, the friendly neighborhood meat salesman,” I said with a smile. He smiled suspiciously back at me, but only paused a second before launching into his spiel. “Good morning. Sorry to bother you, but I deliver premium steaks and seafood to several of your neighbors and…”

“No you don’t,” I interrupted.

“What?” he asked, now looking a little thrown off his game.

“ I know the situation. You get my name either by chatting with me or from my mail and then you feed my name to my neighbors to establish credibility. You guys come by here fairly often.”

“I’ve never been here before,” he said defensively and then he blushed. Which was cute. And appropriate, since he had basically negated his own assertion that he delivers meat to my neighbors.

“I didn’t mean you specifically come here often. I meant your genre.”

“My genre?”

“Yes,” I said, “your category.” (Blank look.) “Door to door meat salesman.”

After a minute he says, “What? Don’t you eat meat?”

The tone was fairly acerbic but I let it slide. People get knocked off center when you force them to veer from the script. Now we had a moment of silence. I continued to smile pleasantly and he tried to figure out where to go from here. Finally I got bored of waiting.

“Look,” I said, “Can I speak to you totally honestly?”

“Okay,” he said looking concerned.

“Your approach is all wrong. You guys come on like used car salesman with a bunch of slick lines and, well, lies. It doesn’t inspire confidence. Especially for housewives alone in the daytime, your prime marketshare. The whole thing rings like a big con. Which I think it is.” I was on a roll and coming to a profound piece of advice. But he just couldn’t help himself.

“I’ll tell you about a scam,” he jumps in enthusiastically “ ..and that’s the big chain grocery stores. You have no idea the kind of processes their meat and seafood go through.”

“That may be true, but it doesn’t make me want to buy meat out of the back of your pick up truck.”

He was starting to look truly annoyed and was likely asking himself why he was wasting time arguing with some weird chick when he could out scamming far less demanding customers. Some ususpecting senior citizens maybe.

I gave it one more try. “If you were to lose the high pressure smile and just say something like ‘Hello, I run a small business here in Palm Desert selling high quality steaks at wholesale prices. Can I show you the steaks I have today?” Something like that would almost work on me. Well, like when I was 25 it would have almost worked on me. But at any rate, it would be such an improvement.”

He looked at me thoughtfully for a few seconds. He didn’t look annoyed anymore. I smiled. I felt happy. I felt like we might have communicated. He was going to give me an honest response.

“It’s Ralph’s and Albertson’s who are the con artists….”

I sighed, stepped back inside, and shut the door. He didn’t get it. I don’t think he even tried to get it. People are impenetrable sometimes.

On a side note:

Last week a woman came to my door selling handmade tamales. She had her two children with her who looked to be older-elementary-school-aged. She was pushing a baby stroller containing a huge metal cooking pot that looked like it had been forged in the middle ages. When she lifted the lid, a cloud of steam came out and the smell was fantastic. How could there be steam when she is walking door to door? It defied physics. Only the young girl spoke any English (which made me concerned that the boy might not be in school). They were all very well groomed, friendly, and had impeccable manners. I bought two dozen and tipped the kids for having such nice manners and for helping their Mom. I told her to come back next time. (The tamales were unbelievably good.) The point, obviously, that I will buy food from people hawking on my front step. Just has to be the right people and the right food.

So then, the night of the front porch heart-to-heart, I had one of those forever long, viscerally realistic dreams. A team of guys in paramedic uniforms were trying to capture me and take me to the mental institution. One of the guys was the meat salesman from that morning. I kept running and barely escaping and at one point had myself barricaded inside a bedroom. I wasn’t alone actually. My husband was in there too. He was stretched out on the bed watching TV while I was leaning on the door. The medics began pounding from the other side, the door began to creak and splinter. I leaned all my weight against the door. “Honey!", I yelled desperately, “get me a chair or something to put under the door knob! I can’t hold them off!!” He turned and gave me a sympathetic look and seemed torn. He obviously wanted to help me. He cared for me. But also the game was on. It was a tough situation, I’ll admit. Then the door began to give way and I woke up.

That’s it. I don’t have an ending or any kind of wrap up for this blog. I tried to connect on an honest level with the meat man. It led to a crazy dream about being crazy. And, as back story, I bought tamales that some nice lady was pushing around the neighborhood in a baby carriage. The end.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Business Time

I give you The Flight of the Conchords. These guys make me laugh and laugh. The radio version of this song is even better, but it's fun to watch them perform.

And if you liked that one. This one is my favorite of theirs just for pure silliness.