Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sly Old Dog- The Man From Del Monte Suit

I’m still mostly housebound. I can now hobble about without the aid of crutches or a walking stick, but holy shit; it is hard going.

Yesterday, I decided that I ought to bask in the short lived sunshine we were enjoying here in the Northwest. I also had to drop off my new and ill advised suit that I recently acquired off at our local Dry Cleaners. The suit itself was ill advised because it’s of a light colour, and needless to say that if you’re as clumsy and messy as I, especially near food or drink, then the odds are you’ll end up with food and or drink spillage on my garments. My usual charcoal grey suits I wear would for the most part adequately hide any such spillages; alas the new suit makes my food indiscretions painfully obvious to all and sundry. So having only worn it once, I was a little aggrieved to be having to take it to the cleaners, especially as I’ve been a suit owner for 7 years and this is the first time in my life I’ve ever taken an item of clothing that I own to dry cleaners. It was an experience to savour nonetheless.

I hobbled in and rang the hotel style bell on the counter and a rather jolly lady came bounding round the corner with a cackling laugh and a spring in her step. I complimented her on the bell, and she said I could ring it again, and I duly obliged.

I showed her the suit, and suggested that because I was foolish enough to purchase one in such a light colour I’d no doubt be giving them lots of business. She laughed and commented to the man who’s appeared from the back room.
”guess where this suit was made” she asked him
“Let me guess… Turkey?” He answered.
“Yeah. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!” She replied.

I gave her a strange look, and she explained.

“Oh I just love Turkey, I’ve been there 47 times! I’m off in a few weeks. I need to get away from all these bloody crap weather”
I just responded with the raise of my left eyebrow and a jocular smile.

She stared to write the ticket and read out loud as she wrote it out, chuckling away to herself as she did it.

“You can tell she’s new.” The man said to me in friendly manner befitting the laid back atmosphere of the establishment.

This time I responded with a raise of both eyebrows and a nod of my head.

I asked them if it would be ready before Friday and I was assured that it would be which came as a great relief to me, especially as Lisa had told me that there was no chance that they’d be able to do it in time.

“Phew. This is my only suit [a lie] and other wise I’d be going to the wedding in my jeans and trainers” I said making idle chit chat.

“Oh you’re going to a wedding.” she said with genuine interest but without looking up from her scribblings on the ticket.

“Yeah, my Dad’s.”
“Your Dad!” She said surprised looking up at me.
“He’s off to his Dad’s wedding…sly old dog eh?” She told the man who chuckled politely.
“Your Dad’s wedding…” she continued laughing and shaking her head disapprovingly.
“…that’s weird. The sly old dog, the sly old dog.”

I was taken aback with this statement. Granted, yes, it is a bit weird, as attending a wedding to any of your parents would be, but no need to call my old man a sly old dog! How does she know that my mum isn’t dead? How can she assume that my Dad hasn’t been a struggling widower for the past twenty years? As these thoughts ran through my head I contemplated for a split seconds suggesting that I take my business elsewhere and that my mum had died, but thankfully I stopped myself. This wasn’t because I didn’t want to get embroiled in a web of lies, but because they were the only cleaners in the vicinity.

She carried on muttering “sly dog” and shaking her head whilst continuing to slowly write out the ticket, when suddenly she looked up at me.

“Is your mum still alive hun?”
“Sadly no…erm… she died 9 years ago” I said without even thinking.

Fuck!!! Why did I say that?! My mum would bloody kill me if she found out I was telling people she was dead.

“Oh my God, I’m sooo sorry hun! There I am implying that you’re old man’s a sly bastard…oh I’m soooo sorry” She looked mortified but nullified it with her warm smile..

I thought that I’d gone too far this time a recalled that episode of Curb your Enthusiasm where Larry’s mum dies, and he uses it as an excuse to get out of things.

“Tell you what, I’ll only charge you for the one item” she said
“Really, there’s no need.”
“No honestly, you must have thought I was a right insensitive cow”
I laughed and re-assured her there was “no need.”
She insisted though and I reluctantly and sheepishly accepted.

I left the shop, and instead of basking in the sunshine, I was wallowing in self loathing and guilt. I decided to go home and contemplate where these heinous things I say come from.

Of course, when I informed Lisa of this little conversation, she looked at me with massive indifference.

“Well that doesn’t surprise me” She said in such a disapproving manner.

I think that could have been the cruellest thing she’s ever said to me.

I contemplated trying to justify it to her but knew she wouldn’t agree. I decided to appeal to her fugal side and told her of the discount.

“What? She’s only charging you for one item?!” She repeated concerned.

“Yeah, she said she’ll only charge me for the one item. It’s only going to be a few quid saved, but it’ better than nothing isn’t it?”

“What did you get cleaned again? Your ‘man from Del Monte’ suit?”
“(sigh) yes”
“And what else?”
“That was it.”

She started to laugh.

“Ohhhh Matt!!!”
“Whatttt!!!???” I snapped back.
“They’ve got an offer on saying that they’ll clean a two piece suit for the price of one item!!”
“They’ve got an offer…usually you pay for the trousers and jacket separately…yeah?”
“…but they’ve got an offer now saying they’ll only charge you for one item if you bring them in a two piece suit!!”
“So?...She hasn’t given you any discount!”

It took a moment before I understood what she was saying and then the penny dropped.

“The lying bitch!!!” I thundered.
“Ha ha ha ha!!” Lisa cackled heartily, I could see the unbridled joy in her eyes at my unhappiness.

I do feel though that I can take the moral high ground on this though issue, after all as far as she’s concerned, my mum did die, and offering me a discount that already existed is no way to treat a potentially lucrative customer such as I. Lisa recons it’s karma, but I disagree. Regardless whether my mum is alive or not, she still shouldn’t have referred to my dad as a “sly old dog”.

As I said to Lisa; “Had she called him a ‘sly old fox’, then I’d have been okay with it.”

(Follow links)

Ivor Cutler- Who Tore Your Trousers James?

Pavement- Easily Fooled

Jeremy Warmsley-Dirty Blue Jeans

The Young Knives-Tailors

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