I love old people.
I used to wait tables at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville. A lot of old people would come in for the Sunday champagne brunch. They were fun — a hell of a lot more fun than most groups. (Families were the worst. They'd run you ragged, making all sorts of demands — "Can we get some apple juice for Junior?" — and finding all sorts of things to complain about — "Junior's apple juice isn't cold enough." Families left huge messes and very, very small tips.
Not so with the old people.
The old people were very accommodating. When they asked for something special — like tomato juice or prune juice — they'd say: "Take your time, take your time." And then when I brought them the prune juice, they'd slip me a dollar tip. Especially if I kept the champagne flowing, they'd joke with me and tell me stories and then, when they'd left, I'd find an enormous tip. For some reason, at that stage in my life old women were very attracted to me. I was not beneath flirting with them. Hell no! My biggest tips came from parties of old women, parties that I'd drowned in champagne and charm.
I just got a call from an old man named Eugene Brody. "I live over here in southeast Portland," he told me. "Sellwood, they call it. I live on the knoll just south of Powell and just east of McLoughlin."
He wants some boxes, but he can't drive out to get them. He totaled his car three years ago and hasn't been able to replace it. He needs boxes in which to store catalogs, and he gave me very precise measurements of the size he wants.
I tried to interrupt him to ask questions about the boxes, but Eugene just kept talking, explaining how he's had these boxes for years and years, and that he bought them from a place that used to be down in the industrial area, but now that place has moved to Tualatin, and on and on.
Then he enthused about the shelving on which he stores the boxes.
"It's Metro Shelving," he said. "It's the finest shelving you will ever lay your hands on. I've used a lot of shelving in my life, boy, and this is the best. It's made right here in Portland, and you can find it all over the place. There's a place in Oregon City that has it. It's made of steel rods spaced every twelve inches, and each shelf can hold two hundred pounds. My shelf right here is holding over a ton. You owe it to yourself to take a look at this shelving."
He wasn't trying to sell me this product, he was simply letting me know how much he loved it.
In the end, I referred him to a different company, though I wish would have at least goaded him into speaking for a while longer.
I love old people.
[Update: As I was writing this entry, I got a call from Delores, who works at one of our distributors. I'd sent Eugene to this company when I decided we couldn't help him. "I just wanted to thank you," said Delores. "That was one of the best referrals I've ever had. He was quite a character." Eugene had dazzled her, too, had told her that he's eighty-four years old and on Social Security. His fax machine is down, and it will cost seventy-five dollars to repair it, but he doesn't know if the next Social Security check, which comes during the third week of the month, will be enough to cover it. He told her about the shelving, too, only he added that he bought it in white so that it matches his décor. Delores and I both will have had good days if only because we spoke to Eugene Brody.]
On this day at foldedspace.org
2004 — Little Things Sometimes it is the little things which make me happy.
2002 — Suckers It's a big day in Geek Land: both the extended The Fellowship of the Ring DVD and the Attack of the Clones DVD are released today. I'm not likely to buy the Attack of the Clones DVD, but you never can tell.