Ever have those times when you feel someone's out to get you? I'm not prone to paranoia, but I'm pretty sure somebody has it out for me. And their method of offing me has been a slow, painful death through of all things...technology.
In the past week or so, pretty much any electrical device that plugs into the wall in our home has gone on the fritz. First the bulb in our big screen TV blew. As the replacement cost is about $400 (yes you heard that right), we're using our 29" for now. Then the back-up battery for Sandy's computer died. Within about a day of this happening we had a power hit that must have fried the circuitry in our oven clock, as it now presents the time in Klingon. Put another way, ever watch the movie Predator with that digital readout the creature had before everything exploded? That's just what it looks like.
Fortunately we have like thirty seven other clocks within about six feet of the oven so it's not much of an issue. (Ironically, the clock outside on our patio fence probably keeps the best time of any of them). Then we lost our satellite feed in a storm. Followed by our phone, followed by our internet. And if you're like me when you lose your internet, it's like a child without their security blanket.
So we call our internet provider and a technician comes out to fix the problem. When he's done everything works fine...until he leaves. The following day a tech from the phone company (who also provides our internet) comes out. He doesn't express much faith in the previous guy, nonetheless he's able to troubleshoot our internet and fix the phone issue. When he's done everything works fine...until he leaves and the phone starts crackling again shortly afterwards. The good news is we are able to use our phone, watch TV and use the internet. I can live without the phone and TV, but giving up the net? If it's a choice between that, water or air I'd really have to think about it.
Okay, so we pull through all that. Then a couple mornings ago I'm driving into work on the 401. For those of you who don't know, Highway 401 has been affectionately referred to as a death trap. The stretch (which I drive daily) that runs through Toronto is apparently the busiest and widest in North America. (Years ago at a performance driving weekend my instructor told me it's the most dangerous highway he's ever driven. Worse than LA, worse than the Jersey Turnpike).
So here I am, doing about 120 km/h, or about 74 mph for those of you who don't speak Canadian. There's a guy in the Audi in front of me, whom I'll refer to as buddy, doing the same speed. There's another guy we'll call dude, in the lane to our left and ahead of us with his right turn signal on. Buddy sees this but doesn't expect that dude's actually going to make the lane change. Well, dude is coming over regardless of who's in that space.
Dude, going about 80km/h (50 mph) cuts right in front of the Audi and buddy has to hop on the brakes to avoid a spectacular crash resulting in certain fiery horrific unprecedented doom. (Okay so maybe that's being a little melodramatic). I divert around this mess through the merge lane. I figured maybe dude was having a mechanical issue and had to get on the shoulder but nope, he just wanted that lane right friggin' now. Apparently he never studied the law in physics which states that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Anyway, this incident was really nothing unusual compared with what I see every day.
That same day I go for lunch. The establishment I'm eating in (which I often frequent) has a great salad bar, which they had just prepared. I think to myself, "Hey Barry, how about a kick-ass salad?" And I reply, "Hey, don't mind if I do," quickly followed by "Hey, why am I talking to myself?" I go to grab some of the tossed salad they've put out and notice it has slivers of..something on it. Now, as someone who is allergic to nuts of all kinds my culinary radar is always out. So I ask one of the staff if these slivers are nuts. My mistake was in thinking this was a simple question requiring a yes or no answer.
Me: (pointing to the stuff on the salad) "Are these nuts?"
Him: "Oh they're (something incomprehensible)."
Me: "Are they nuts?"
Him: "Nah, they're (did he just say nachos?)" Apparently when handling food that can potentially put someone in hospital, speaking in a native language isn't high on the priority list. "Here," he says handing me a sample. "Try it."
Me: "I have a serious nut allergy. They look like nuts, can you go check?"
He goes back to the kitchen and after what seems like forever (in all fairness they may have been doing forensic testing on it) he walks out.
"They're almonds," he proudly professes, smiling, as if it's something as far-removed from nuts as possible. Are you fucking kidding me? SO not impressed at this point.
"I just told you I have a bad nut allergy and you wanted me to eat these. Do you have any idea how serious this is?"
*Blink* Clueless. Like...tossing a cute fuzzy bunny off a twenty-story building and wondering why people are so upset, kinda clueless.
I'm not one to rat anyone out but this could easily happen again, and the next person may not be so lucky. So I go to the manager (whom I know well) to tell him the story.
Me: "You might want to educate your staff on food allergies, one of your people
Him: "Was it __?"
Him: "Oh his English isn't that good, he has a hard time understanding. Next time just ask __."
Me: "Well that's great but it doesn't solve the problem. He should be made to understand. And this stuff should be signed as containing nuts."
Him: "We have the holders, we're just waiting for the tags and (something about the salads being changed around every day. Like I care about the inconvenience of having to change a few signs).
Me: "This is serious shit and it needs to be addressed."
He assured me it would be, the next day he followed up and told me he was taking care of it. We'll see.
PS: Don't bother trying to call. Our phones went down again tonight. *sigh*