Monday, July 17, 2006

Apologies to vegetarians...

I can appreciate that those that work in the wonderful world of catering can get a little pissed off at having to do their underpaid work. But why is it always me that has to suffer their bad nights? A simple order for a portion of chips, for the vegetarian love of my life, and a small doner kebab, for meat and high-carb loving me, took such an age for the large bleached blonde hoopy earringed one behind the counter of Ikky's Kebabs (TM) to comprehend that, for a second, I thought I'd actually mastered Japanese to such an extent that I had slipped into using it without realising. "What," she said, with all the stroppiness of a million teenagers, after staring at me with a face like thunder for nigh on 20 seconds, "you want kebab meat and chips?" "No. A portion of chips, and a small doner kebab, with everything on it." "A small doner kebab?" I stepped back and checked the menu board just in case I had dreamed that there was such an alternative to "medium", "large" and "super large". And there it was. "Yes, small. With everything on it. And a portion of chips". She tutted in disgust. "Do you want them wrapping up together?" Now, call me old-fashioned in a 21st century kind of way, but I've got used to a kebab being served in its own separate polystyrene container, the chips in theirs, and, although in the cold light of day I may have completely misunderstood what she was suggesting, my mind now reeling by how complex this was all gettting, but I was bombarded with visions of my beautiful kebab nestling next to M's meat-free supper in the bottom of a carrier bag, chilli and garlic sauce slopping over it all. So, I stared at her as she had stared at me, and offered an abrupt, "No!" "So, a small doner and a portion of chips?" "Yes." She shouts through to the back. "Put me some chips in!" A man in a blue track suit appeared and did the honours but this was obviously too much trouble for the profit margin Mr Ikky had set himself, and the £1.75 an hour they were earning, and the pair of them banged about in the kitchen and occasionally glanced at me to check I still wanted to go through with this whole exercise in mundanity. The pitta bread took the brunt of their frustration as the blue track suited man heated it up for a short while in a pizza oven, removed it with some metal claw contraption that kept it at the kind of arms length reserved for a freshly laid piece of excrement, and handed it to the blonde bombshell, who had, by now, acquired several spots that she didn't have when I walked in to this culinary hell hole. She slapped the pitta bread on to the stainless steel work surface and set about hacking it to pieces with what I'm assuming was a very blunt blade. Eventually, the fodder was prepared and all that was left was to add "everything" to the doner. "What do you want on it again?" "Everything." Again, a tut. "I want everything on it. I did say that, you stupid fat spotty cow," I thought about adding but all that sprang forth was "please". More banging about as she fulfilled my bizarre request to wrap the two dishes seperately, the whole lot then hurled in a bag and dumped on the counter without a word but the serious undercurrent prevailing.
"What took so long?" asked M in the car. "It was my fault. I ordered a kebab." And the night had started so promisingly, as our favourite theatre director had entertained us down a country pub with his anecdotes about the time he performed in a wardrobe with Monty Python's Michael Palin.

Listening: Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped

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