At first it seemed somewhat unreal, that the person I was speaking to on the phone was possibly a robot or one of those “Madame Merconi” fortune-telling carnival machines come to life. You know the ones with spooky glowing eyes, a rigid Charlie McCarthy puppet-like jaw and palm facing up eager for your quarter and an open-mind.
The voice on the other end of the line quickly went from semi-unintelligible to socks-in-the-mouth syndrome and then silence. Silence? Did I say something? Offend someone possibly? No, probably not. It wasn’t one of those kind of conversations, where two people manage to agitate one another in 15 words or less. Following the silence, the person, a woman, maybe in her mid-30s, I wasn’t sure, chimed back in. She finally spoke, “Yes? Hmm? What you want?”.
I slid the menu across my desk, quickly scanned some food choices and then responded that I wanted a combo. “What combo? Yes? What? Hmm?”, she said once again in a rushed, there-isn’t-enough-time left today attitude. Right then I had an impulsive desire to ask her some of the questions I had on my mind throughout the week.
Questions like if there really is a meaning to life (and I’m sure that answer could be quite lengthy) I’ve often wondered if there’s a condensed answer in the form of a tabbed, color-coded Cliff Notes guide? Or, would I ever be able to schedule a meeting with the Dalai Lama in my lifetime and had if were blessed with such an opportunity, what would be the first thing I’d say?
Eventually I snapped out of that mental state and told her that I’d have the orange chicken today, with an extra fortune cookie because if anything I was convinced that little slip of paper might be able to answer at least one of my questions.
July 27th, 2019