The Check's Not in the Mail...
Music, they say, hath charms to soothe the savage breast. And the lack thereof apparently has the ability to inflame it. When radio listeners on the Monterey Peninsula who depend on AT&T cable to bring them their daily doses of stations like KQED or KRML turned on their radios last Thursday night they heard nothing but static. And they were pissed.
A couple of months ago there was a rumor going around town that AT&T was going to suspend radio broadcasts, and the hiss the listeners heard seemed proof of a nefarious scheme afoot.
Squid tracked down Andrew Johnson, vice president of communication for AT&T, on Friday. He was soothing. AT&T had no idea there was even a problem until they got the first calls late on Thursday. There are no plans to discontinue service, it was just a piece of non-operational equipment. A replacement part had been found; technicians were already deployed; service would be restored in a day. Or two at the most. Don't worry, be happy.
But, Johnson quickly added, "I want to point out that this is a free service--it's not a service that [subscribers] pay for."
Huh? So is that a polite way of saying, "Quit your bitchin'?"
No, no. Of course not. A thousand times, no. But subscribers shouldn't expect to get reimbursed, either. "It's hard," said Johnson, "to refund money for something they don't pay for."
Hot and Sour
Last Friday evening Squid decided to check out Tommy's Wok in Carmel, the relatively new hot spot for Chinese cuisine. With visions of broccoli beef dancing in my head, I squeezed in line with three men patiently waiting for their to-go orders by the kitchen. Presently the Chinese waitress addressed one of Squid's neighbors.
"You here for an application?" she asked.
"No, I need my food," he replied.
"You want job application?" she repeated.
Now, Squid's no race baiter by nature, but this was an olive-complected fellow in a restaurant in famously vanilla Carmel. The implications made Squid squirm. They made the man furious.
"I don't believe this!" he exploded. "I'm here to pick up my food! I live in Pebble Beach!" He turned to Squid in disbelief. "Do I have to dress a certain way? Do I have to be white? When I first got here, the waitress told me I had to wait outside!"
"I apologize, sorry," said the waitress without slowing down as she brought plates of wontons out into the dining room. Several more people streamed into the crowded entryway, all of them white. Someone checked on their orders. Not one of them was offered a job application.
A Latino man next to Squid stared at the ground. An East Indian man on my other side stared straight ahead. A few minutes later, the waitress came back. Prepare for Round Two.
"You need job application?" she asked the Latino guy. Squid briefly wondered if she was brain damaged.
The first man went apoplectic. "He's waiting for the food with me!" he sputtered. "I don't believe this! Who's the owner?" Not receiving an answer, he turned to his friend. "Never mind, I'll find out. They'll be hearing from my lawyer. Let's go." He grabbed his big box of food and with a final shake of his head, he and his friend exited the restaurant into a starry night.
Monday is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We've still got a long way to go, friends.
Soothe a Squid: firstname.lastname@example.org.