Monday, September 8, 2008

Mildridiots, Volume 1

Mildridiots is going to be an ongoing series in which I relate stories about the lunatics that frequent the place where I work, a small sandwich shop named Mildred's.

First, some background: Mildred's has been around for some 40 years, and it has never changed. The menu has been the exact same (except for a brief crazy period a few months ago during which we introduced a new sandwich and then quickly removed it), and some locals have been coming here for 30-plus years.

There are only four employees, not counting the owner, an aging, hilarious hippie by the name of Nels Nelson (seriously). All of us employees work our shifts solo (not counting lunch during weekdays, when Nels sticks around for a few hours to make the soup of the day), and since not many people come in - it's a long, long way from the campus, where Madison's pulse is - most of my shifts consist of me reading, watching movies or TV shows on my laptop, or writing this blog post right now.

For those of you not familiar with Madison, it is for the most part populated entirely by two groups of people: college students, and aging lunatics who grew up during the Vietnam War and have totally warped their minds through the use of various recreational drugs throughout their lifetimes. And since Mildred's is so far away from campus, guess which half of Madison's population we get as customers?

So that's Mildred's. No one fascinating has come in yet today, so I'll just recap some of my all-time favorite (or least favorite, in one particular instance) customers.

Alan From Madison
This guy is definitely my all-time favorite. He hobbled in one day on his crutches ("My friends used to call me Hop-A-Long," he quipped) and ordered a beer. He then sat down and just started telling me all about his life, completely unprovoked. If he is to believed (and, really, there's no way any of this stuff was made up), this is his story:

Alan From Madison (quick history of that name: he told me he's from Michigan, and then ten minutes later when I asked his name, he said, "They call me Alan From Madison." So that was confusing) has been hunting the Dog Man for over 100 years. Who is the Dog Man? Oh, just a werewolf-type dude that's been running around killing people for about a century or so. When I humored Alan From Madison and asked, "Wow. Where does he come from?" I got a simple one-word answer that almost made me laugh out loud: "Hell." He then clarified: "Well, that's what I think. Others think he's the spirit of a dug-up Indian burial ground." So, either way, not good news.

Anyway, we talked for about half an hour, and eventually he left, but not before issuing me a stern warning: "He's been seen around Madison, so don't go out at night, and stay in well-lit areas. And if you see a seven-foot dog man, run." As if I'd walk towards someone like that.

La Croix Guy
Ugh. This guy is the WORST. He is the son of Sophia, an older woman who runs a breakfast-only shop right next door to us. Oh, and he's certifiably insane. He comes in every day and orders a berry La Croix, and then sits down and drinks it for at least three hours. Sometimes he keeps to himself, which wouldn't be that bad except for the fact that I just want him to leave so I can open up my laptop and resume whatever movie I was watching before he came in. Other times, he does crazy shit. Once, he requested that I turn the radio up. REALLY LOUD. I did it but then gradually turned it down a notch until it was back to a reasonable level. Another time, he told my friend he hated the color of his shirt, ran home, and came back in five minutes with a shirt to give him. His best moment, though, was when he crumpled up his can, grabbed a book from our bookshelf, and positioned them oh-so-carefully in the outstretched hands of the random mannequin we have by our ATM. He came back four hours later and retrieved the items.

He also has two children, for some unknown reason. One is a son who looks like he's around thirteen years old, and has to have some form of ADHD or something. He's insane. He pesters me with questions about everything whenever he's here, and La Croix Guy never lets him get any soda because, "If this is what you're like without sugar, imagine what you'll be like if I give you some." Which is by far the sanest and most reasonable thing that guy has ever said. His daughter is a toddler, who likes to grab everything at her level and throw it around the store. The son actually tries to pick up after her, but La Croix Guy sternly says, "NO. Leave it." So that's respectful of him.

He drives me crazy.

Sexy Cerebral Palsy Aide
This girl comes in every Sunday with a man named Jessie who has cerebral palsy. I thought she was his sister, but I have recently learned that she just volunteers to take him out to eat every week. Which makes her even more attractive. They do this thing that I've never seen before, where she has a keyboard printed out on a piece of paper, and he points at the letters on it to spell out words and sentences to communicate with her. It's pretty amazing.

I have sort of a crush on her, but it's kind of an awkward situation and I've never gotten up the nerve to say anything more than, "Anything else with that?" or "$5, please." I would like to use the keyboard thing as my in - say something like, "Wow, I've never seen anything like that before, that's amazing," - but every time I'm about to, I feel like I'm using Jessie or something.

So nothing will ever happen between us, and I'll just admire her from afar.

Oh, and Jessie has another girl who comes with him very, very rarely, and she's a super bitch. Doesn't use the keyboard or anything. Luckily, I know Jessie's order better than she does, so he's able to get what he wants instead of, "Just give him some turkey on wheat bread," like she said to me last time. Seeing her instead of Sexy Cerebral Palsy Aide is a terrible way to end the weekend.

That's all I can think of now. I suppose I should start closing down the store anyway, since no one has come in for the past two hours.


honeybunny said...

I like this.
More please.


tishamay said...

Use the paper keyboard to talk to the sexy girl. :)

derder said...

Next time I drive through Madison, we're going to Mildreds!