Thursday, September 22, 2005

Creating a Boredom-Free Atmosphere

The bar needed a tremendous amount of work.  I hardly knew where to begin.  Even after all of the cleaning, the building was in horrible disrepair.  The windows were cracked, the floorboards were creaky, there was no water into the building, there was no actual bar (which is kind of important in this line of work), and various other odds and ends that needed fixing up before we could even think about opening.  Given that this building was just walls, I decided that Crazy Angie and I needed to formulate some type of design.  We needed to decide how we wanted the place laid out.  
“Ok,” I began.  “We have to figure out just what we need in this place.”
“Whaddaya mean?”
“Well, we can’t just have a bar and stools.  We need to decide if we want to have a kitchen, a bathroom, entertainment facilities, stuff like that.”
“Oh.  Yeah, I think all that stuff sounds good.”
“Ok, well it takes a little more work than that.  We have to figure out where we want to put everything.”  We hashed it out for a while and finally came up with several things that we both agreed were absolutely necessary.  We of course, needed a bar, stools to go with it, and the complimentary tables and chairs.  We thought live entertainment would be nice, so that meant we needed a stage and a sound system.  What bar is complete without a bathroom?  Where else would patrons go to regurgitate everything they’d just spent their money on?  
We wanted a kitchen, because what’s beer without pretzels?  And for those who don’t like pretzels, we wanted to offer other appetizers.  We had finally laid everything out when Crazy Angie brought up another requirement.
“I need a lab.”
“A what?”
“A lab.  I need a place to create.”
“Create?  What are you talking about?”
     “Well, I have a few ideas on different types of drinks.”
     I thought for a moment on what Crazy Angie was suggesting.  If we were truly going to be an original bar, we couldn’t be caught doing things the ordinary way.  We needed to be completely different.  We needed to create and invent our own drinks.  This would give us exclusivity.  People could only come to our bar to get our drinks.  It was a great idea.
     “I think you’re right.  A lab would be a great idea.  We need to get working on those drinks as soon as possible.  As soon as our liquor license comes in, I want you to start inventing.  Think you can handle it?”
     “Yeah!  Yeah, I just think I might be able to do that.”  Crazy Angie was happy with the confidence I was showing in her.  After all, we were partners.  And if she could get people to pay to see her act like a loon, I had no doubt in her abilities to create wonderful drunken masterpieces.  
     The first thing we needed for the construction of our bar was an architect.  I had no gift for building design.  Crazy Angie certainly didn’t.  This was clearly a job we needed to contract out.  I was hesitant about re-visiting Ned.  We’d given him too much information already.  My second option was simply checking the phone book.  
     I called around to a few places, but most of them hung up on me when I told them the type of work I needed done.  It seemed that my voice gave away more of my age than I thought.  I tried to sound older, but that only seemed to make them more suspicious and they hung up faster.  I suppose I couldn’t blame them.  If I was an architectural firm and I received a call from a young sounding female, I would most likely assume that someone was playing a prank.  How could they know that I was completely and totally serious?
     Finally, a string of luck!  I came across a strange sounding firm at the end of the list.  Zinger, Stringer, and Carpet-Bringer was the last listing in the book.  I had come this far, and decided I might as well call them.  I had just spent the last several hours berating various unknown people for being so judgmental.  How could I become a hypocrite and dismiss this very strange sounding firm on simply their name?  I called.
     “Zingerstringercarpetbringer, thisis Jackie?”  Jackie had strung all of the names together which made the whole thing sound like one unidentifiable word.  She was chewing gum, which probably didn’t help.
     “Hello Jackie.  I am in need of architectural services.”
     “Well, that’s what we do.  What sorta work are ya needin’?”
     “I need a little rehabilitation work done on a bar.”
     “Uh huh.  What’s the location?”
     “6710 Grand Boulevard.  It’s in pretty rough shape.”
     “Uh huh.  You need blueprints for your construction team or ya wanna use ours?”
     “Well, to be honest, Jackie, I’m not sure yet.”
     “Uh huh.  Business or residence?”
“Uh huh.  Name?”
     “Well, we don’t have a name yet.”
     “Uh huh.”  I had just realized that Jackie had started every sentence with ‘Uh huh’ and it was starting to annoy me.  “You wanna have someone come down for a quote?”
     “Oh, yes!  That would be fabulous.”
     “Uh huh.  I’ll have one of the architects call you to set up an appointment.”
     “Great.  Thank you so much Jackie.”
     “Uh huh.”  With that, we both hung up.  
     I didn’t dwell too much on Jackie or her strange phone manner.  Who was I to criticize?  I hung around with a total nut case—a real authentic lunatic.  It wasn’t long before Tuanna Carpet-Bringer called me.
     “Yees, I’m tryin’ ta reach a Miz Shlic—a Shleech—uh…”
     “It’s Robin.”  I had one of those impossible German names that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.  
     “Raht.  Sorry ‘bout thayat.”
     “Oh, it’s no problem.  No one gets it on the first try.”
     “Uh ha ha.”  She had a perfectly charming southern accent.  “Mah name is Toowanna Carpet-Bringah.  I’m an architect with Zingah, Stringah, Carpet-Bringah.”
     “Oh, good!”  I said.  “I’ve been expecting your call.”
     “Wundahfull!  We need ta git tagethah and discuss youhr buildin’, raht?”
     “Yes, that’s right.”
     “Wundahfull.  When is a good tahm fuh me ta come on down theah?”
     “Well, anytime really is fine.  We’re not really working on a schedule yet.”
     “Wundahfull.  How about I come on down tamarrah, say, ‘roun 3:00?”
     “That sounds fine.”  I was having a hard time not laughing at her accent.  She said “wundahfull” almost as much as Jackie had said “Uh huh.”  We hung up after the complimentary farewells and I actually felt good about Tuanna.  She was the first person Angie and I had dealt with who wasn’t hanging up on us or looking down their noses at us because we were young.  
     I think we ought to be commended for our determination.  We were really attempting the highly unlikely.  We were doing a service to mankind.  Years—no, decades from now, people would be singing our praises for finding the cure for boredom.  We would be celebrities.  Perhaps even win the Nobel Prize.  I smiled at the thought.  But it would all have to wait.  There was so much to be done!
     I summoned Crazy Angie away from her broom and told her about Tuanna.
     “You say she’s southern?”
     “It sure sounds like it.  She has such a neat accent.  It’s, well, it’s kinda sweet.  I don’t really know how else to put it.  Anyway, she’ll be here tomorrow around three.  We have to make sure to come right over after school.  
     How are things coming with the sweeping?”
     “Uh, not so good.  I’m not getting up any actual dirt.”  She looked confused and disappointed. I looked at the broom, making sure there were no defects, and asked Crazy Angie to demonstrate for me.  At once, I saw the problem.  She was sweeping correctly, but the broom bristles were about three inches off of the ground.  I instructed her further as to how to place the broom actually on the floor, and she seemed relieved when a small pile of dirt began to form beneath the bristles.  I just shook my head at her and smiled.  It was Crazy Angie’s little quirks that made her such a joy to be around.
     The next day, Tuanna arrived promptly at 3:00.  She was just as charming as she sounded.  She was a very young, pretty, woman, with chocolate skin and soft wavy hair.  Her face was brightly painted, while still remaining tasteful.  She was very pretty and not at all what I expected in an architect.  
     “Ha theah!  I’m Toowanna Carpet-Bringah, yor architect.”
     She didn’t seem at all taken aback by our ages.
     “Hello!”  I said and introduced Crazy Angie and myself.  Tuanna was wonderful.  She was one of those people who just made you want to smile.  She was so cheerful and motivated.  
     Tuanna was an excellent architect.  We told her what sort of things we wanted and she was full of ideas.  She made preliminary sketches and mumbled as she thought out loud.  Crazy Angie and I just stood by as she worked, answering questions and approving ideas as she asked for input.  She had wonderful ideas for the lab.  It would be in a secret location with a secret entrance.  Crazy Angie agreed that this was essential.  I went along with it.  It seemed like a fine idea to me.  I was sure Crazy Angie had all sorts of weird things she was going to be doing in the lab and the less our customers knew about it, the better.  
     Tuanna spent about three hours with us, just looking things over.  I must admit I was really surprised that she didn’t take one look at us and get back into her car.  As she was getting ready to leave, I thought I’d bring my concern to her attention.
     “So, tell me Tuanna, how is it that you’re ok with working for a couple of teenagers?”
     She laughed.  Such a charming laugh!  “Oh, honey, I’ve worked fuh strangah folk then yoo.  I figuh if yoo need work ta be dun, I might as well be the one ta do it.”  What a refreshing point of view!  
Tuanna left, promising to have blueprints for us by the end of the week.  Once that was done, and everything was approved, she’d send them over to the construction team and they’d get to work on everything.  
‘Wow,’ I thought.  We were actually doing this.  We were actually remodeling a building and turning it into a business.  We were actually finding the cure for boredom.  Just wait until our doors opened to the public!

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