Tag Archives: pizza

All I really want

Man, all I really want to do is sleep in late every day. I don’t want to have any clocks in my bedroom. Nothing but the sun in the sky and that little path it makes across the room as it rises and arcs and eventually hits me right in the face. That’s when I want to get up every day, not because it’s eight or nine or ten, but whenever, eleven, twelve, one, I don’t care. I don’t even want to know what time it is. It’s going to be a clock-free zone, my house.


And when I do wake up, I don’t want to get out of bed right away, not unless I want to. But I don’t want to, trust me, I want to have my phone right next to the bed – again, clock function totally disabled – and I’ll spend a good chunk of time just looking at the web sites that I always look at, flipping back and forth between my stupid web browsing app and my stupid social networking apps.

When I get up, seriously, I need to get one of those doggy doors built in to my front door, so that way I don’t have to put my pants on right away. I can just put my feet into my slippers, they’re right next to the bed, right where I left them when I went to bed the night before. Or, not even the night before, because I really want to evolve past the whole night/day schedule. It’ll just be, when I’m up, I’m up. And when I’m tired, I’ll go to bed, whenever, who cares.

So I’ll just get up and I won’t have to take the dog for a walk, because he’ll have figured it out himself, he’ll know how to use the doggy door when he wants to go to the bathroom, and he’ll know how to clean up after himself so I never have to look at it. Where does it go? How did he learn how to do it? I don’t care. I don’t want to know. I’ll just be content in the knowledge that he’s figured it out, that he only goes outside when he needs to, he doesn’t roam around or chase squirrels or eat garbage, he just comes right back inside and waits for me to give him a little attention.

Breakfast, man, of course I’m going to eat breakfast when I wake up. All I really want is a fully stocked kitchen. I want like a Netflix subscription, right, but instead of paying a monthly fee to have a huge database of movies and TV shows at my fingertips, I want to pay to have that same database available in my kitchen, right in my fridge and my pantry. And instead of movies and TV shows, it’s all fresh ingredients and cool snacks and juices.

And then seriously, all I really want to do is just hang out in my pajamas all day long and play Nintendo. It’s like, come on, I’m not asking for too much, OK, I’m not demanding the latest generation video game consoles, no, just give me a Nintendo Game Cube, all right? Just somebody give me all of their used Game Cube games, because I’ve never really played them, I’ve never played The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker. And that came out when I was in high school. What kind of a Zelda fan am I? How did I make it to where I am today without ever having had a Game Cube?

You want to hang out? Let’s just hang out at my place. “Rob, don’t you feel like going out every once in a while? Getting out of the house?” you might try to bait me into something, a restaurant maybe, “Let’s go bowling,” you’ll suggest. But I’ll be like, “Nah, I’m just going to stay in. Come over if you want, we’ll watch movies, we can play Super Smash Bros. Melee. I’ll call for a pizza.”

And even though you’ll make it out to be like I’m not fun anymore, you’ll hang up the phone and say something like, “All right man, I guess I’ll see you when I see you,” I’ll wait like an hour, an hour and a half, and there’s going to be a knock at my door. It’s going to be you. You’ll have a six-pack and big bag of Cooler Ranch Doritos.

“Come on in,” I’ll say as we set up the controllers for some two-player NHL Hitz. Because that’s all I want to do, yeah, that’s all anybody really wants to do. What else could you want in life, huh? What’s better than just hanging out around the house, playing video games and eating Eggo waffles until you’re so full you have to take a nap?

Just count to five

I was out getting some pizza for lunch. The guy gave me my slices, I paid, took a few steps toward the door and then thought, wait a second, I should have bought a soda. So I took a step back toward the counter, but the pizza guy was facing the other direction, he was standing by the oven, having a conversation with one of his coworkers.


I was really hungry, and I wanted to get home and eat that pizza as soon as possible, but I didn’t want to be a jerk. Still, one second turned into two seconds, and I began to fear that I might be stuck there in pizza counter limbo, my food getting cold, nobody realizing that I hadn’t actually left the building, that I was still standing there, patiently waiting to be noticed, just a soda, please, I’ll be on my way.

By the third or fourth second, I remembered this one time I was at a bagel shop on Long Island. There were maybe four or five people ahead of me in line, but the guy right in front of me, you could just tell he wasn’t in the mood to be waiting, he kept fidgeting, looking around. As soon as the person in front of him paid and walked away, there was this two or three second pause where the cashier didn’t automatically turn his way and ask, “Yes? Next?”

She closed the drawer on the register, she took a bottle of Snapple out from under the counter, and she took a sip. As she was putting the cap back on the bottle, Mr. impatient in front of me, he screams out, “Can I please just get a sesame bagel with butter?” like really nasty, it was a yelling, he yelled out his order, like a total crazy person.

And I have no idea what this guy’s life is like. Maybe he had some sort of a family emergency back home, maybe he needed food in his stomach immediately, it’s pure conjecture. But I don’t know, regardless of whatever it is that you’re going through, I don’t find it ever acceptable to just shout things at people, “You! Give me a bagel!”

She didn’t even say anything. She just got him the bagel, put it in a bag, and he walked out in a huff. It was one of those moments where I really wanted to say something, a, “Take it easy, buddy,” something not too aggressive, but just aggressive enough. But I always get afraid of these random confrontations. It’s like, when I’m at work, I always think, man, if I didn’t have my job to worry about, I’d totally say something to this rude person or that inconsiderate guest. But then I get an opportunity like this in real life, and the moment passes without my having even mustered the courage to do anything.

And I get it, all the time at work, sometimes people have to wait, sometimes people refuse to wait. I think I write this almost every time I mention work or customer service, but you get a certain type of person who sits down and, while you’re in the middle of saying, “Hello!” or, “How’s it going today?” they’ll cut you off and bark out, “Diet Coke. No ice.”

Whenever I complain about stuff like this, or whenever I hear conversations regarding rude customers and their lack of pleasantries, there are always a few sure rebuttals, stuff like, “Well that’s your job,” and, “I’m not paying to be friends with you. I’m paying for a Diet Coke.” Yeah, you’re paying for a soda, you’re paying for a bagel.

And this argument is total bullshit, this idea that because you’re paying, because you are exchanging your money for something, that you don’t have to be nice. Sorry, I don’t mind being polite, but I’m hungry, and it’s my money involved, and so if you don’t like my acting like a dick, I’ll just go ahead and spend my dollar fifty for a bagel somewhere else.

Business is business, and so if push ever did come to shove, if that lady at the bagel place decided to fight back, it would have been a screaming match, the owner would have gotten involved, “Please, sir, I’m so sorry. Please, have this bagel, on the house. We appreciate your business. Please, I beg you, I’ll fire this lady. I value your patronage, don’t leave, here take another bagel, a free dozen.”

Unfortunately, this is the reality of customer service. I’m paying, so even though I shouldn’t be a jerk, I don’t have to not be a jerk. Because I’m paying. If you try to distill every human interaction into a monetary transaction, this is the natural result, where it’s perfectly acceptable to bark out orders or chew out the man or woman behind the counter.

And then the fifth second turned into the sixth second, I snapped out of my daydream at the pizza place, the pizza guy finished his two-sentence conversation and turned around. “What’s up boss, you need anything else?”

“Yeah, can I just get a soda please? Thank you.”

“You got it.”

And I went home, my pizza was still hot. Sure, I think I lost like seven seconds total, and yeah, I guess you can’t really put a price on time. Time is money, right? But everything was cool, I didn’t have to shout out, I didn’t have to interrupt. Everybody just needs to chill out and take a breath. Just count to five, man, just count to ten or eleven.

The soda elitist

Last weekend we had a bunch of people over for dinner. I picked up a few two-liter bottles of soda, which, I don’t know, I couldn’t really figure out how many I should have bought, I had no idea how much soda people were planning on drinking. I’d say in total, about one and a half liters went, but it was like half a liter from each bottle. And so, as the rest of the week went by, I’d stare at these bottles, wanting to dump them all down the drain, but my roommate insisted on keeping them around, “I’ll drink them!” he said.

old soda

And maybe he had a glass the next day, but no more than a glass, because the days passed and I started to keep track of the soda level inside each bottle. Day after day, it wasn’t going down, I told Bill, I was like, “Hey man, we really have to get rid of this soda,” and he was like, “Why? Just leave it there, it doesn’t matter,” but I tried to argue, I was like, “Bill, that stuff’s getting flatter every day, nobody’s ever going to drink it, let’s just dump it, what is it, like three dollars? Come on, you couldn’t pay me three dollars to drink a cup of flat soda.”

But I think I pushed a little too far, now Bill was starting to push back just for the sake of pushing back, which I don’t get, not everything has to be a huge power struggle, but still, he averted his eyes, I think he might have called me a “soda elitist,” which I actually took as a compliment, because yes, when it comes to soft drinks, I think you have to be exacting in your standards. Otherwise why spend money at all on bottled drinks? If you don’t care about the carbonation, you might as well just buy packets of Kool-Aid, it’s significantly cheaper.

We were at a stalemate. I started buying new soda, smaller sized bottles. I’d keep them nice and cold in the fridge. On Wednesday night I ordered some pizzas and asked Bill, “Hey man, help yourself. You want a nice cold Coke to go with that?” It was the Mexican kind, the stuff that comes in the glass “hecho en Mexico” bottles, real sugar, delicious. “Yeah man, that sounds great.” And so I popped one open and extended my arm before laying down, “So, uh, I guess this means we can get rid of those big guys over there, right?”

“Actually,” he recoiled his hand, “That’s a good point. You have the bottle, I’m going to work on those leftovers.” What a jerk. Just admit it when you’re wrong. And he went over to the counter, the bottle had all of these little condensation drops on the inside from having not been opened in so long, when he opened the top, and I was listening, there wasn’t even the slightest sound of any air escaping. That soda had to have been completely flat for a few days now.

But he filled up his glass with ice, I asked him for a glass also, for my fresh Coke, I wanted him to see the bubbles dancing out of the top, when I took that first sip, I made this exaggerated face, like they tickling my nose. “Ahh,” that ridiculous refreshing sound after I took my first sip, to which Bill offered the same thing with his sip, but I could tell by the look on his face that it was gross, he kind of puckered up as he tried to choke it down.

But what came next, it was probably the low point of our friendship. I was like a slice and a half deep into dinner, and I had just taken a huge sip from my drink. While I had the rest of the pizza in my hand, Bill grabbed the two liter bottle and poured the sickly contents of that expired plastic bottle right into my cup, right on top of my good soda. I still had probably more than twenty-five percent of the cup filled with the good stuff, and it was ruined, the rest of my drink spoiled by Bill polluting it with his week-old poison.

I turned my head and said, “Get that shit out of my face,” placing extra emphasis on the word shit, just to really drive home that point, like hey Bill, that was a real dick move buddy, you want to play games with your own soda? Fine. But you’ve totally crossed a line here. And he just kind of smiled at me, “What? Just giving you a little refill,” before taking a huge bite out of his slice, the pizza that I bought for him.

I went into a rage. I grabbed that bottle, I ran to the sink, I started emptying it out down the drain. There were still the other two bottles, and Bill made a move toward the kitchen, like what was he going to do, try and stop me? I grabbed a knife out of the block and stabbed a few holes right in the bottom. “What the hell man? That’s my soda!” he screamed as I placed the leaking bottles from the counter into the kitchen sink.

Bill looked like he was going to make a move, like he was going to push me or something, and so, I don’t know, I guess I was a little more agitated than I thought. I held out the knife still in my hands, like go ahead and try something. Not that I had any intentions of actually stabbing him. The whole situation had steered out of control. And that’s when I screamed out, “Steve!” because while we were fighting in the kitchen, my dog Steve had quietly jumped off the couch and made a move for the pizza. And he got it, it only took him like three or four bites, and he polished off everything.

How many times do I have to apologize?

Of course I’m sorry about those pizzas. I just … look, I apologized already. It’s something that I’ve admitted to, yes, OK, I’m not making any more excuses, right? Right. So it’s like, what else can I do? Besides apologize? It’s not like I didn’t pay for the pizzas. I paid for them. And then I ate them. Were those pizzas meant for someone else? Of course. Obviously. This is all yesterday’s news, you know, at a certain point, I fail to see the benefit in constantly rehashing all of this negativity, my faults, the stuff I’ve already admitted to. I admitted to all of it! And I said sorry. So yes.

Yes. But I paid for them. So let’s get past everything, OK? Past the pizzas, past me going outside and intercepting the delivery guy, look, I’m not proud. I’m ashamed. But it’s thanks to my family, my core of strength, you know, my support system. I can tell these people, look, I’ve made mistakes, and they’re like, look, we get it, not we get the whole buying people’s delivery and then eating it outside of their house, but we get it, like you’re a human being, and you’re sorry.

My wife. She shouldn’t have had to see me like that, at my worst. Those nights I’d come home, she’d have like her own pizza that she had delivered, she’d be, “Honey! Look, I got us some pizza!” and how could I really push any more pizza inside my stomach? But I would. I’d take a slice, you know eat a few bites. I’d be like, “I don’t know what it is honey, I’m just … I’m just not that hungry.”

And when she found out. It crushed her. It crushed us. I crushed us. But she forgave me. You know why she forgave me? Beside I asked for forgiveness. I said, honey, listen, I’m apologizing. I’ve made mistakes. But most importantly, I’ve learned from these mistakes. I’m still learning from the mistakes.

It’s a learning process. You don’t learn how to speak French overnight, right? You can’t stop doing drugs in one day. No, you’ve got to have supervision, you’ve got to make sure it’s not too drastic of a shock. So I’m learning, yes, but I’ve been completely open about my willingness to learn, my wanting to continue to still be at a learning place.

I can do this. But only with you by my side, my wife, my family, everybody. I need everybody behind me on this. And you know, there are so many people out there, so much negativity, do you know how hard it is for me? For my wife? And for me. We’ll be walking down the street and some guy comes up to me and he’s like, “You! It’s you! You know I ordered a dozen wings last night and there were only ten when I opened the box. You stealing wings?”

It’s just that, I can’t … I’m not … who’s to say who’s stealing what? I’m trying. I’m trying to figure out who’s wings I might have taken. I don’t necessarily think they were that guy’s wings, but would that have been right of me to say so right there? To that guy?

I always tip the delivery guys, mind you, you know if they have to come back to your place to deliver a second pizza, don’t get bent out of shape. I mean, yes, you should still tip him again for the second trip, but don’t feel bad about the first trip. Certainly don’t get angry with him. He could have buzzed, yeah, but that’s not his fault, he’s not checking IDs, he gets money, he leaves.

And think about, you know, this has been out there for a while, and so the delivery guys are bound to start recognizing me. And then it’s like, you know a month from now, nobody’s going to give me anything, regardless of how much money I’m forking over. Those boxes I left outside? Yes, again, I’m sorry, but I just thought that since cardboard recyclables were a Tuesday thing on my block that … yes, I get that now, different blocks, different days, different routes. I’m sorry about the mess, about those raccoons that tore the boxes up, I can’t imagine cleaning that up Wednesday morning would have been any fun. But it was just one day, so I’m sorry. So I’m saying sorry. Please, can we please get past this so I can stop saying sorry? Please?

Like I said, this is going to be something that just goes away by itself. I can’t see myself keeping up with this for much longer. It’s exhausting. And I mentioned the delivery guys recognizing my face, right? That’s got to happen sooner rather than later. I can’t keep this up forever. And sure, I suppose maybe I could give one guy like a hundred bucks, and he might still give me your food but …

Look, I’m sorry. I said sorry like a hundred times. This is really so not a big deal. We’ve got crooks out there, guns, drugs. Am I really the most pressing problem in this neighborhood? And no, it does not reflect my work in the community, at a city level. Come on, I’m still on the up and up. Remember how fired up we all got last year when I suggested we make all of those delivery guys wear those stupid vests? That was huge! Come on, just let me have this one thing, it’s not that bad of a thing, just stop paying attention to it. Still pay attention to me, but don’t pay attention to it. Because that’s it. It’s just that. Just the pizzas. And yes, maybe a couple of wings. And heroes. I’m sorry. That’s it. Thank you.

The pizza place close to my house

I went over my brother’s place to hang out and watch some basketball. We drank some beers and ordered some pizzas, we played some cards and I then I got tired and called it a night. “Take the rest of the pizza with you,” my brother told me. “You sure? You don’t want any?” I always feel bad going over somebody else’s apartment and taking anything home, but I really did want that pizza, so I didn’t put up much more of a fight when my brother told me he didn’t want it.

I love pizza so much. It’s been a constant in my life and, as I’ve grown up, as my love for pizza has grown up, so has my appetite for pizza. It’s one of those foods that I could eat continuously without having to stop because I’m too full. If I’m eating pizza for dinner, I need a minimum of four slices just to be satisfied. But I could easily throw back a full pie. And I’m not talking any of those weenie personal pizzas. I’m talking eight real slices.

It was just my brother and me, but it’s always better to get more pizza than less pizza, and so we ordered two whole pies, knowing that there would be a few slices left over. I headed back to my place, only like five blocks away, but when I got to where I was maybe one block away, I saw my pizza place, right on the corner. I didn’t think about this. I’ve never had to think about this, because I’ve never walked back from my brother’s place holding a pizza box.

And so I thought to myself, what if my pizza guy sees me walking past his pizza place and I’m holding a different pizza box? You might think this a little egocentric of me, just assuming that these guys have nothing better to do than stare out the window all night and watching what I’m up to. But that’s exactly how it is.

This pizza place has been there forever. It’s one of these restaurants that changes owners like once every six months. And so something’s not right, not with the business, I mean, the pizza’s good, that’s where I always buy my pizza when I’m home, but maybe the location? I really don’t know what it could be. They have an A rating stamped on the door. They’re all really nice. Like I said, yeah, the pizza’s good.

But there’s never a line. They’re never too busy so as not to notice people walking by. I thought to myself, I’m being crazy, they’re not going to see me, I’ll just hold the box to my side and walk by as fast as possible without …

“Hey! You!” the pizza guy came outside, “Yeah, I see you. I can see the pizza box behind you. What the hell man?”

So I was like, “Hey! Oh, sorry, yeah I didn’t see you. Listen, I’m coming back from my brother’s. We ordered way too much pizza so I’m bringing back the extras. I love your pizza, we were just …”

“Well, why didn’t get pizza from us? Come on man!”

“No, it’s just that, you know, he lives a little that way, so we just …”

“So you what? Why didn’t you just give us a call? We’ll deliver! We deliver anywhere. Or on the Internet. You could have ordered on the Internet.”

And I didn’t know what to say. I shouldn’t have said anything. I don’t owe this guy anything. Look, I get it, you thought, I’ll buy this pizza place, I’ll turn it around. Where five or six owners before me couldn’t get the business right, I’ll somehow make it right. But whatever, maybe the oven’s cursed or something. Like the pizza comes out all right, but nobody ever walks by. I don’t know. I have no idea. But I couldn’t let it go and I kept running my mouth.

“No, it’s just, the pizza place by my brother’s, they do the brick oven style, and it was closer, so you know, we just …”

“Brick oven? Come on man. We have a great oven. Look, just next time, call us up, all right?”

“Yeah, definitely, you got it.”

And I went home and felt like shit, like man, do I have to have pizza again tomorrow? The next day? Like do I have to show up at this guy’s pizza place, like a penance? I didn’t go the next day, or the next day. I had so much leftover pizza that I didn’t need to, and the day after that I wanted Chinese food. And then I worked a couple of night shifts and all of the sudden it was the next week.

That’s when I was like, yeah, maybe I can go for some pizza. So I walked down the block and there was this big sign, “New! Brick Oven Pizza!” and I was like, fuck, I should have just kept my mouth shut. I walked in and the guy was like, “Where’ve you been? Look, I got one of those brick ovens.”

I had to order brick oven pizza. I didn’t even want brick oven pizza. I made the whole thing up about brick oven pizza. Nobody in New York wants brick over pizza, we all just eat regular pizza. It’s the best. And I felt bad, like the guy made me buy a whole pie, like he didn’t make me, but that’s what I always get, a whole pie, and so right away he was like, “A whole pie, right?” all smiling, and I was like, “Yeah! All right! A whole pie!”

And it was terrible, way overcooked. The cheese was all squeaky from, I don’t know what from, the oven, the brick? It was terrible. I never went back. The place was out of business in like two weeks. Every time I left my house I’d be looking over my shoulder, expecting to see this guy, the pizza guy, screaming a big, “Thanks a lot for ruining my business, asshole!”