Sunday, June 21, 2009

On the nature of queueing

Once, on Carlisle Street, I saw an elderly Russian man and woman square off in the street, both refusing to step to one side and move around the other. I swear they stood their for five minutes, feet squarely planted, heads thrust forward and down. Just like the North-going Zax on the Prairie of Prax!

Recent reading about post-war British rationing spoke about women spending three hours in the 'tripe queue' or the 'kidney and heart queue'. Ak ak, cgh, hk euuurk...

The other day, I popped into Glicks to pick up some bagels for the lovely Sailor Lily. Glicks is always a bit of an ordeal. They have a take-a-ticket queueing system. Which works by everyone taking a number and then barging the the front, trying to get served first and giving the death stare to anyone pushing in ahead of them, protesting loudly that 'I'm next' and daring anyone to say otherwise.

There was I standing demurely at the back, when out comes Mr Glick(s?) - a decrepit, Dickensian figure who terrifies one with the notion that he's surely going to drop dead while tottering over to get your 'everything' bagel. He crooks a finger at me. I'm alarmingly conscious of fifteen death stares turned in my direction. Oh no, I stammer, these people are next. No, emphatically, with a shake of the head, and points again - you, here. Two blueberry bagels please. Mr Glick/s dodders about behind the counter, clearly confused to find himself in a bagel store. I hold my breath, uttering a quick prayer: please don't let him die getting the shiksa's bagels please don't let him die getting the shiksa's bagels. He makes it back to the counter alive. What the heck, I'll risk it: a medium sweet challa please. And off he careens, hands and lips trembling. Fifteen pairs of eyes bore holes in the back of my neck. We get through the transaction, both alive, and he charges me two dollars with a wink, a twinkle and another decided nod of the head. Ta da! Today I am the chosen one! and I scuttle from the store before I get crucified.


Sailor Lily said...

the medium sweet challah was, I must say, worth your adventure with Mr Glick.
When I waved a morsel teasingly under Finn's nose he howled with excitment, or perhaps a desire to grow teeth on the spot.
delicious thanks, as is your tale of its getting!


i love it... i can so see that scene... you are one feisty shiksa!!!!

donnasoowho said...

I've never noticed the ticket thing before - do they only have it on week days?