No Meatloaf Today
By Jana Martin/MOLI
written 8/29/07 for my daily design column which is now defunct on moli.com, which is now ... different.
An accident prevents the Boiceville Design Committee from meeting
Every Thursday there's a meatloaf sandwich special at the diner. Yesterday being Thursday, there was supposed to be meatloaf, and therefore the newly formed unofficial Boiceville Design Committee (which formed last week) was going to get together and discuss important issues in design. Today the subject was going to be sustainable design.
First a little background on the committee members:
Hal: Head builder. Most of his work is on second homes for people from the city. He's now learning more about sustainable design because that's what people want. In his most recent job he was supposed to install a windmill but the buildings department couldn't figure out the permits. The clients want him to install it anyway.
Sal: Works for his Dad. Sal has an engineering degree. He tried to point out that windmills cost way more than they'll produce for a weekend house. The clients scoffed and called him insensitive to the Earth.
Kassie: The waitress and (turns out) the meatloaf maker. She lives with a teacup chihuahua and her husband, a stonemason, who's the size of a house.
Then I got a phone call.
Kassie: Hey this is Kassie from the diner.
MOLI: Cooking meatloaf yet?
Kassie: No meatloaf today. We had a catastrophe.
MOLI: Oh no.
Kassie This big guy came in last night and sat down and broke a chair.
MOLI: And so no meatloaf?
Kassie: So he moved to the chair on the other side of the table and broke that one too.
MOLI: He was that big?
Kassie: You wouldn't have thought it looking at him, but he had a few tons of extra. Something about the way he sat down. But on the second fall he also broke the bone at the top of his ass. The whats-it.
MOLI: The coccyx?
MOLI: So no meatloaf.
Kassie: I had to drive the guy to the ER. My husband was pissed.
MOLI: Because he couldn't drive?
Kassie: My husband? No. He can drive like a bear can shit. He can drive with his eyes closed and his hands in his pants, and you can tell him I said that.
MOLI: Wait. You're mad at him?
Kassie: He's acting like a big baby.
MOLI: You mean the chair victim.
Kassie: No. My husband. I'd be in bad shape too if I broke my ass. Maybe I should. Get some time off. I can sit on a donut pillow and get waited on hand and foot. Imagine.
MOLI: So the chair victim's doing okay.
Kassie: He's not the one that has to fix the chairs. An order's up. Call me back.
I called back. What Kassie says, I do.
Kassie: (answers by rote) Sorry, no meatloaf today.
MOLI: Kassie, no, it's me.
Kassie: People are very upset about this lack of meatloaf thing. Hal and Sal are going for pizza today instead. So no meeting. No one seems to care about that poor guy who broke his ass. I hope he's not a shoe salesman, where they have to sit on those sloping stools.
MOLI: Can I just ask you something?
Kassie: I've heard that before.
MOLI: Your husband was pissed because he has to fix the chairs, but not because you had to take the guy to the ER, and not because you couldn't make the meatloaf?
Kassie: You just got that? Boy are people dense. Or maybe I need to lower my medication. Or raise it.
MOLI: Sorry. It was a just a little unclear.
Kassie: It goes like this: My husband is really good at fixing things, but he hates to do it. He especially hates fixing chairs. He himself has never broken a chair in his life despite being as big as a brontosaurus. So he lacks sympathy.
MOLI: You can't just throw out the broken chairs?
Kassie: Well thanks to who knows what or who, or maybe the whole global-warming thing, we are now on a green kick over here. What is that word? Sustainable? We are switching to unbleached kitchen cloths, which turn dishwater gray the minute you use them. Very appetizing for a customer to watch. And there was a suggestion that I wipe down the counters with vinegar. I said why don't I just knock over a bottle of salad dressing instead.
MOLI: Isn't it pure white vinegar you use?
Kassie: I know all about that. My grandma used it on everything. Smelled like hell. Some changes are for the better. This sustainable diner thing is going to last about a minute. It is not sustainable, in other words.
MOLI: Can't you just do more recycling?
Kassie: I know who I'd like to recycle. The conversation went like this. Boss: 'Darn. Can you get your husband over to fix those?' Me: 'He can try. Or we could just replace them.' Boss: 'We can't just keep wasting our resources. Do we throw out a guy when his ass breaks?'
MOLI: You may want to look into that medication change after all.
Kassie: Today's special is toast.
Next week, when the meatloaf resumes, the committee will be discussing the design of chairs.