It's way past beddy-bye time but joys shared are doubled, or
quadrupled, (and sorrows halved) or something like that.
It's public news now and no longer under-covers; I've landed the account for
sushi services and Asian food specialties for Aetna Insurance Company's
headquarters in Hartford, Connecticut. All we have to do is sell product, and then I'll be installing another sushi bar at
Aetna's enormous claims processing center in Middletown, Connecticut. There'll
be a lot of consulting work to do, also, as their foodservice operations are
undergoing a multi-million dollar overhaul and I'm certain that at the very
least I'll be able to get a bit of work outta that, too.
We started out with a wee bit of a hiccup. Now, Aetna's security policy is
legendary. Everyone, I mean everyone, must be vetted
(including criminal check etc.) and must carry a magnetic, photo badge at all
times when on-premises. So me and Jack, the head sushi-dude, followed my client
(Director of Foodservice) into the bowels of the Security office (there must've
been 20 people working in that office alone). We had mug-shots taken and badges
made and parking permits issued and swore that we'd not divulge any Aetna
secrets under penalty of loss of a pound of flesh or our first-born or something
Jack feels the same about his Aetna credentials that he does about his
Foxwoods Resort and Casino V.I.P. card. (For me, it's just something else I
have to remember or I'll look like an idiot; and I forget things. A lot.) So we
do the refrigeration install, and Jack finishes up making the
spot for our operation his own, and we bade the folks who remained (it was
about 4:00 by now) goodbye, and headed toward the loading dock, where our
vehicle was parked.
We made it all the way to a glass sliding door (through which we could see
our vehicle). Neither key-card worked the door, as promised. Try as we might, we
couldn't get the attention of the security guard about 75 feet away, in his
office but with windows and a door open (he looked like he was surfing the
'net). Well, I was about to turn around and Jack misread the sign on the door
which said "PUSH IN CASE OF EMERGENCY - ALARM WILL SOUND" for a sign
which simply meant that, "if this door doesn't slide, push the darn thing!"
Have any of you pushed on a door that's meant to slide open via a motor (like
the ones at the supermarket)? It's a difficult task, and typically renders the
door inoperative until reset. Well, that happened to us. As Jack reached for the
door with both palms vertical, time seemed to slow down. I could hear myself
like a tape-recorder going far too slow: "Nooooooooo! Dooooon't doooo thaaaaat!"
A buzzer buzzed. Loudly. Radio noises sounded from speakers. From some
microphone somewhere a lady was asking "do you know there're 2 individuals
leaving area (who knows what) without authorization?" The security guy jumped
up. All the loading dock doors descended at the same time, red revolving
lights flashing. Jack was scared and asked me what to do. I told him not
to move. Two guys (with guns) came running around the corner from some other
door. They waited for the loading dock security dude.
I was scared that I'd alienated the people I wanted on my side the most,
security, 'cause without them I can't get stuff in and out expeditiously. And
sushi fish waits for no man if it's a summer day of 90 degrees.
Security dude came running over and told us it was okay. We just had to go
back upstairs and fill out a "security violation" form. The guys with the guns
accompanied us. Literally a half hour after we'd been in the same office
to get our badges in the first place, a morbidly obese woman who seemed in
charge of things was interrogating us as if we were Bonnie and Clyde. (I felt
like Bonnie.) The woman doing the interrogating was butch.
She looked at Jack: "What possessed you to push an alarmed emergency bar?"
Jack didn't understand. I translated. She said, "Can't he speak English?"
Jack was enraged. He was about to give her some of the poorer examples of
English (you know, the ones that cause movies to be rated R) when I calmed him
and told her that no, in fact, he could not. "Does he have a Green Card?"
Now Jack was horrified. Culturally, even if one has earned one's green card,
the Chinese feel that it can somehow be taken away if asked for by anyone
other than a bank they're depositing money in. I convinced him to show her the
card. Now he was trembling with fear. I wanted to hug him and tell him
everything was okay, but I was, literally, on the verge of tears, awaiting the
arrival of my brand-new client, assuming we'd suffer his wrath, as well.
Nobody bothered to tell us that it happens all the time. Until, of
course, my client did.
We'll be up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow; do our duty, and then run the restaurant
until 11:00 p.m. Hey, it's a dirty job, but someone's gotta do it.