One Angry Man
and eleven more I have yet to meet
Last week, we had an irate customer at my pizza shop. It’s not my pizza shop, but it’s a place that opened up down my street and I work there a few nights a week to make extra cash to spend on inflation, self-preservation, and vacation. I had to learn how to pour a beer correctly, with just a little bit of foam, in front of eager onlookers.
So this man walked in during the dinner rush and I didn’t see him. I was taking orders and heating up slices in the window and he got lost in the shuffle. If you want pizza, you have to ask for it. People were filing in and out and placing their orders and this man grew angrier and angrier. He wanted me to come out from behind the counter and find him in the crowd and, I guess, curtsy. When I didn’t find him, he grew silently angry. I assume his anger can be attributed to the waning reproductive freedom in America but I didn’t ask.
The next thing I know, he asks to speak to my boss. This is code for—is there a man taller than you that I can yell at.
“Your staff doesn’t know what a line is.”
“I’ve been waiting for almost 5 minutes and everyone else has ordered before me and your staff doesn’t seem to honor a line.”
It took everything in me to keep my composure. I wanted to let him know that, I do indeed know what a line is. I’ve recited many of them at school plays. I used to let boys cross them when they gave me a sprinkle of attention. I waited in one for 2 hours to get a sandwich that ended up selling out so then I left the 2 hour line to go to my favorite sandwich place that I should have gone to anyway in the first place. Now, I certainly know that lines are important.
He huffed out of the pizza shop and onto the street, where I assume he marched right to a protest, taking his outright anger and channeling it into the fight for bodily autonomy. In the movement for choice, this man chooses to be angry at the beautiful woman trying to give everyone their slice of pizza.
I remind myself at the end of every shift that folks like that are rare. For every Angry Dude, there’s a Nice Lady who tells me he was crazy and says I couldn’t have see him stewing in the corner. For every disgruntled person, there are ten who tip well, ask me how my day is going, and tell me how excited they are to eat this pizza they’ve heard so much about on Instagram. And reader, it’s really good pizza.
Part of this whole experience is learning you can’t please everyone. When people want to yell at you and declare their lifelong boycott of the sourdough pizzeria, let their freak flag fly. Let them storm out and walk away. When people want to be angry with you, sometimes for reasons that must be handled by a mental health professional, let them. Nod and smile and wish them well on their journey. Give them a cup of water, because they must be dehydrated, holding onto all this resentment. And then get back to work. Because there’s a lot of pizza coming, and it’s delicious.
The best thing I ate this week:
Were nachos from Foxy’s Bar and Grill in St. Michaels, MD. They had so much stuff on them it was crazy. I felt like a king. I love getting nachos with a crowd because you get to watch everyone strategically Jenga their way to the perfect bite. A little jalapeno, some cheese, not too much guac, a bit of cilantro. Nachos bring out personalities. And they’re fun, you never know exactly what you’re going to get, besides heartburn.