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Friday, July 25, 2008

Intoxicating Incident

I’ve been in an ‘off’ mood with an ‘off’ week and I’m glad that it’s over. I’ll spare you a grump session but I must tell you about my first customer this morning. He was an experience unlike any other in my tens years in optical. I still feel my skin crawling and like I need to take a shower.

I’ll begin by describing him: he was tall and very thin wearing a faded black tee-shirt, black jeans, and a black hat. He had a long, scraggly, grey, goatee and colourful tattoos decorating the entire length of his arms. He was 54 years old and looked every day of those years if not more. He also had an ornate wooden walking stick.

It was just after nine in the morning and he was already quite inebriated (or perhaps still so from the previous night) with the breath to prove it. His manner indicated that he thought himself a charming man when in reality he was quite the opposite. Once the doctor went back to the exam room he proceeded to loudly acknowledge the fact that he was surrounded by women and felt very fortunate about that. He punctuated continuous lewd remarks with barks, and meows and purrs. He was so crude that I refuse to repeat them. At one point another customer came in, a woman approximately in her mid-fifties, and he greeted her with an exuberant

“Well, hell-llo mama!”

She immediate got a rather scared look on her face. Fortunately that was the only dealings she had with him. She discretely wished me luck when she passed me as she left a few moments later.

It was probably only ten minutes that I had to spend with him but it was an extremely uncomfortable, squeamish ten minutes! Had he not left when he did I wouldn’t have been able to endure him much longer. I likely would have simply disappeared to the back until he left. There was nothing appropriate about his words and actions and I was extremely uncomfortable and didn’t know how to respond. Somehow I got through the ordeal.

A little later the doctor came out and there were no patients around so I asked how he was to examine considering his intoxication. The doctor said it went all right, and he wasn’t really drunk since he was not slurring his words or tipsy.


He was definitely more than just “happy” but the good doctor is a Mormon and not likely been around many drunks so I let that slide. I don’t have excessive experience either but enough to know this man had been drinking a fair amount. Then I delicately asked about refusing service to a person in that state, to which the doctor replied,

“It’s my call to make,”

in a tone that implied I had no right to even think of suggesting such a thing.

Then I became infuriated.

Did the doc have to listen to crude, suggestive comments? Not likely, being a man and all. If the doctor had heard what this man said and his wife was the one trying to serve him….I bet he’d change his tune!

So I ate two chocolate chip cookies and had a cup of coffee and felt a little better.

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