Did you know how there's this trend where Japanese guys are dating pillows with a girl's anime face and figure imprinted on them? Did you know how there's now a trend where some of these guys are marrying their Japanese pillow girlfriends? Well, it's true. I read it on the internet.
I did lunch coverage at our visitor center downtown today. This is lots of fun because all kinds of people come in and ask interesting questions. I've done lunch and part-day coverage so many times now that I'm actually almost passable at it - I mean, very few of my visitors get arrested for following my recommendations anymore - but I certainly don't have the kind of stories that the regular staff have. One of my dear friends there sent me a list of some of the particularly notable things she's heard.
"How do I become a senator? I want to become a senator so I can represent my people. My people need and deserve representation! My people, well... they’re gypsies."
"I understand that drag queens have to pee too, I just don't think they should do it in the ladies' room."
"I guess some people don’t know any better because no one’s ever died for Iowa."
The thing is, our visitor center staff are held to very high standards of customer service. We love our traveling public, we really do. And while we hear some doozies now and again, we're polite and respectful, and try never to let our customers know that any boneheaded thing they might come up with could end up being blog fodder. Because nobody wants to be blog fodder. Nobody.
Across the room from our travel information desk is the visitor information desk for the particular historic site where the visitor center is located. It's staffed by a different agency, and I'm sorry to have to break the news that this agency's customer service standards are not quite as high as ours. Let me give you an example. Take Dwight... please.
Dwight works at the other desk; right across the room from ours, he's naturally friendly, and regards me as something of a comrade-in-arms against that greatest of all natural enemies, The Public. "Don't you let them push you around," he tells me, quite loudly, in our large and echoey chamber which is open to the rest of the rooms on the floor, including exhibits and a gift shop. "You've got to stand up to these people. If you're too nice to them, they'll just walk all over you."
He then proceeds to tell stories about how he's told this visitor what's what or shown that other visitor who's boss. He speaks loudly - our desks are about 20 feet apart - and he has a high-pitched cackle which he airs freely when he feels he's said something particularly witty. Which is more often than you might think. I glance nervously towards the open stone arch doorway, because, you know, the public is right there. They can hear you.
Last week he came over and showed me an iPhone app that displays pictures of different guns and knives and makes the sound of them being fired or drawn when you tap on the screen. "See, now, this is how you deal with unruly tourists," he told me. He cackled.
One of my coworkers, who works the lunch shift at least as often as I do, has never experienced many of this, the confidences, the cackling, or the iPhone apps. "I think Dwight has a little crush on you," he told me.
"Dwight is married," I told him; "he doesn't wear a ring, so I didn't know until recently; but last week he mentioned his wife - said his house was being remodeled and that he and his wife were butting heads over it."
My friend and I arrived, I'm sorry to report at almost the same moment, at the startling conclusion that Dwight's wife is actually a Japanese pillow girlfriend.
In further news, I intend to continue blogging if I can still get anybody to read the darn thing.