Five milkshakes to go, please.

So on Monday, I went to work really looking forward to my day. I had my violin practice after work, and I’d been having a crick in my neck all weekend, so I decided that I would go get myself a massage at lunch.

I fixed random bugs for four hours then got on my Revive (love that bike) and headed down to RiverCenter Mall, a blight upon the historic downtown of San Antonio except for the fact that they’ve got a massage place there. Massage places go a long way towards redeeming other sins.

I rode very slowly down the alley that leads from Alamo Plaza to one of the entrances to the mall. Slowly so as not to run into a pedestrian. They hate that. The alley is bordered by all sorts of shops, so there are naturally lots of pedestrians. It’s kind of a slow-motion slalom thing.

I got to the end of the alley, where there are a couple of trees poking up through the brick which I normally chain my bike to. This time, there’s a young man on a cell phone leaning against my usual tree. Rather than disturb him, I walked around a set stairs that formed a dias leading up to a jewelery shop near the entrance to the mall. The dias has three brass handrails leading up it, and the handrail closest to the mall entrance runs along a wall that has a dead-end corner three feet away. There was absolutely no chance that anyone would materialize out of that corner and find my bike an obstruction on their way up the stairs, so that’s where I chose to lock it up.

As I’m in the process of disentangling my Krypto-cable, a woman appears on the steps and tells me that I can’t park my bike there.

“Well, is there a bike rack somewhere around here that I can use, then?”

“You can’t park your bike on these steps.”

“Ah. Yes, you said that. Is there someplace else I can park it?”

“You can’t park your bike on these steps. This is a commercial zone.”

At this point I started raising my voice, for no other reason than that the woman was PISSING ME OFF.

“Look, is there anyplace in this alley that’s not a commercial zone?”

(Voice shaking slightly)”I have to go.”

And with that, she walked back inside the shop.

I know that most of the rest of the civilized world deals with this kind of thing on a routine basis and shrugs it off, thinking little of it. But having someone yell at me and then be unwilling to even try to work out a solution really, really pisses me off. I would love to get to a place where these things don’t get to me so badly. And, of course, this little blast of tension came just as I was going in to get a massage.

At this point, the guy standing next to my favorite tree had left, so I rolled the bike the four feet to it and locked it up. As I walked in to the mall and past the food court, I resolved to get a milkshake and accidentally spill it on their precious commercial steps on my way back out. Every day. For a month.

That was really not so bad. I got over it by the end of the day. But then, just as my violin lesson was starting, I got a call from my boss telling me that I had to take care of a mass-mailing for work. Mass mailings are difficult because every time the company wants to send out a mass e-mail, they have subtly different criteria concerning the recipients. Sometimes it’s all customers with a Windows box. Once it was all customers with *only* Windows boxes. Sometimes it’s only customers with servers in certain datacenters.

The point is that every one of these mass mailings has to be implemented using a hand-crafted query of our database. These queries are difficult to write, and the mailings are extremely hard to pull off without something going wrong. Like sending three copies of each e-mail to all of our customers. There’s nearly unlimited potential for improvement.

I got this call just as my lesson was starting, and was informed that the requestors had expected the mail to be sent that morning. Gee, no fucking pressure. Thanks.

I finished the last portion of the query that night at 11:45. I went home and very gradually relaxed into sleep. I am still feeling cranky and irritable about the way the week started, but I’ve got a couple of positive things going for me that I’m trying to hold on to. By Friday I may be in a very good mood. We’ll see.

No Responses to “Five milkshakes to go, please.”

  1. Cari Says:

    If it makes you feel any better, chances are she’s a miserable person. Maybe she’d had a really crappy morning getting all kinds of abuse from customers and finally decided to stand up for herself and you became the target for that because you were there…and then once she did try to take a stand she wasn’t quite sure how to do it… Who knows what happened to her before you got there to make her feel like she needed to react like that to you.

    Poor thing. I’m sorry you had a crappy day. I hope the massage was good, anyway.