Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ain't Technology Grand?

Three guys roll up to the restaurant two minutes before closing and get sat in my section. 

After a long work day, I cringe a bit at having to go through this routine one more time when all I want to do is sit down, eat and have my celebratory end of the shift beer.

I go over to greet the new table and one man shows me live streaming video on his phone of his empty house. "Wanna see my house?" he asks as I watch a spinning ceiling fan, empty room and nothing else.

"Hmmm. Great. Ok, have you all been in before?" I say moving along the conversation to the task at hand.

"That's it? We get right down to it, huh?" he says 

"Yup." I say with the slight acknowledgment that you have arrived mere seconds before we are closing and no I don't want to stare at your empty house on your iPhone. I want to take your order.

I walk away giving them time to peruse the menu and decide on food items. When I arrive back at the table, the man is still staring at his phone and again tries to convince me how cool this is. 

"Look, there's my house. There's my dog. There's his wagging tail. There's my dog sitter. What do you think of all this?" he asks

Really dude? 

Ok...."Well, I think...Why are you looking at your empty house while you're on vacation?" I respond honestly.

His friends chuckle.

"Look, I need to make sure my dog sitter is treating my dogs right. I want to make sure everything's ok. She could be treating them badly. If she treats them well, I'll give her a bigger tip when I get home." 

Do you really think the mention of you being a big tipper, will make me change my mind about your odd fixation on those home cameras? 

"You need to trust people more." I tell him.

"It's not about trust. You need to verify that people aren't going to rip you off." he schools me.

His friends now tell me that's he's had the same dog sitter for seven years. I walk away and decide to give them more time to decide on anything other than looking at an empty house via his iPhone.

I come back to get a drink order and he asks me what kind of beers we have so I slowly move the list in front of him. 

"Ok. Ok. I can't read the list because I forgot my reading glasses."

"I have some readers inside I can get you." I say and bring him two pairs to try. One works and after he decides on nothing to drink I have to ask the most obvious question in my mind.

"If you can't read the beer list without glasses, how are you watching your house?"

His friends laugh and he looks shocked and responds "Oh you're a feisty one aren't you?"

Yup. Especially when you show up late and we have to go through this little dance. I just want to sit down and eat some ceviche.

I finally get an order out of them and start delivering food. He keeps showing me his phone camera at each visit to the table trying to convince me this is great.

"Look I haven't seen this dog sitter in two years. I text her when I leave town, I watch to make sure my dogs are ok and then I send her a check. I need this in case anyone breaks in. Look I can see if there's a break in, call the cops and yell at them to get out all over my phone."

He shows me his front door and tells me the speaker is on and to say something. "Get away from the door!" I yell in a Grover sounding voice.

"Hey, technology is good." he says now pointing to the handheld computer on my hip I use to put orders in. 

"Yes, technology is good." I say pulling it out and shaking it. "I send in love notes to the Chef but I don't watch him on this to make sure he's making your food. I trust he's doing it and if he's not, I send him more love notes." His friends are now busting up in laughter.

"Look, its fine. I'm ok are you ok?" I say.

"Yeah, I'm ok. I'm just. Well...I'm Italian. I'm just passionate about things - its better than being a bump on a log"

Passionate. Really?? I'm slightly annoyed at the mention of being Italian and "passionate" as an excuse for being stubborn and paranoid. And this Spanish woman knows something about being stubborn which is probably why neither of us is giving in.

But mostly I'm annoyed that this person, so afraid of being hurt, is claiming passion as a description of what he is doing. Passion is not just any old feeling. 

When you wall yourself off to everything and then finally feel something - good or bad - is that "passion"? No, that's called "emotion". 

And the roller coaster feelings you get when feeling out of control are not passion either. They are not knowing how to let go, feel and trust.

Passion to me is something that grows inside like a fire. You have so much love in your heart for it that you let it grow and eventually share it with another because there's not enough space in your body to contain it.

That passion connects you to a person, a painting, a sport, a thought. It grows so big you must share it and it is a joy to do so.

After being so engrossed in his empty home in Arizona, he asks me what my name. "Its Penny"

"Hey if we got married, you'd be Penny Price!"

"Nope, I'd be P-squared." I correct him. 

Now he looks even more shocked I know a math term which makes me look at him and let out a monotone low voice saying "MATH...." to acknowledge "yes, I have a brain."

When asking if there's anything else these gentlemen need I get an invitation to join them back at their private island. 

"Will we be watching your house from that island?" 


"Nope, I'm good but thanks." P-squared OUT!

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