We walked into Dunkin' Donuts the other day. A man spoke to us before we could reach the counter.
He had a head-set on. The place was rather slow but by the bustling of the employees you'd think there was a line 20 starving people long.
He said everything,
like firm statements
still came off as friendly and lighthearted.
Yes. Can I help you. I'd like a half dozen donuts A half dozen. Yes. Which. Yes. 5 more. 4 more. 3 more. 2 more. You have 1 more. He put the box on the counter. Something else. a coffee Something else. an iced latte Something else. a hot chocolate
Meanwhile he was glancing at other co-workers, talking on his head-set. Breaker breaker, I imagined. Another man was leaning and flicking a large iced latte cup toward us as if asking a question with it that I did not understand. Head-sets, everyone was wearing a head-set. I was trying to remember if we were really in a donut place because I was beginning to think we were on the tarmac of a very important airport. I imagined them all picking up those long reflective wands and suddenly landing planes behind the counter. I began to duck instinctively. We're talking about putting donuts in boxes here I thought. Coffee into cups. Money into registers. Is life getting very very difficult for no particular reason or am I becoming more and more simple-minded, something I thought entirely impossible.
I stood back a little and waited for my stuff. Another customer came up and the non-question-mark-using man lifted his chin at him. Yes. The customer pointed to me and said he thought I was next. The man behind the counter glanced a humorous glance at me and flicked a hand in my direction that meant, Eh. I don't care about her. Again, in a friendly way. The customer sort of smiled at me and I shrugged and said, "He doesn't care about me," and we all smiled and they carried on with the intense donut ordering process.
It was a serious Dunkin' Donuts experience. Compared to donut shopping as a child 35 years ago, say, it felt like one of those bomb drills we did in the basement of our elementary school.
Just yesterday, my son and I went into a different Dunkin' Donuts in a different state. We had a half hour to kill so we sat down to eat our breakfast sandwich and bagel. There was a young lady mopping the floor. She mopped from the front door foyer, down one length of tables and then started on our side and mopped up to our feet on one side, walked around us and mopped from our feet on the other and down that row of tables as well. When we finished eating, we walked out very carefully. And Seth was thoroughly confused. "Mom, just what was that lady doing with that long handled device and all that water?"
No, he didn't really say that. But that's what I was thinking.