This is where I have to disagree with my fellow employees when it comes to Betty. Because she is by far my favorite person to work with. I think I decided this the day our air conditioning broke at work and I heard her asking a special request from my boss.
"Dad gum, sir, I am sorry but do you thank you could turn up the air? I'ma sweatin' like crazy and I'ma gittin' big, red welts all o'er my body 'causa this heat. I mean, shoot, I can't take it with this hot mess and this tight bra rubbin' up against me makin' me itch and gittin' all these rashes underneath it."
"I'm sorry, Betty, but it's broken. There's nothing I can do about the air conditioning until the A/C guys come in on Monday to fix it."
"Well then, you thank I could jus' go to the bathroom real quick like to take off my bra? I can't work with all these rashes it's giving me 'causa this heat."
"Um. Okay, Betty. Okay."
"It's just this bra---"
"It's okay, Betty. Just go. No need to explain. Just go. Go."
In case I hadn't heard her request earlier, Betty was kind enough to return from the bathroom and personally explain to me what article of clothing she had just removed as I was ringing up a customer.
"So you had a 6-inch turkey and a foot-long---"
"I jus' went to the bathroom to take off my bra."
"Uhh...um...right. So that was a 6-inch turkey and---"
"It's giving me all these rashes on my breasts 'causa this heat. I don't want no rashes on my breasts when I gotta friend who I like to get with when he has his condoms---"
"Right, right. I totally understand Betty. I would take mine off, too, if I could. Let me just ring up this customer real quick. Could you do me a favor and bring me some receipt paper?"
"Sure thang, honey, lemme tell ya, it's way easier to move around this place without that bra rubbin' all o'er me..."
This was Day 1. Then came Day 2.
"Alright, sir, so you had a ham combo with a medium---"
"Well, had to take off my bra again."
She really does just appear out of nowhere sometimes.
"Yep, didn't wanna risk gittin' any more a'those lil' red bumpies."
"I understand, Betty. I wouldn't want any little red bumpies, either."
"No, sir. Not with this heat. Hey, do I got hair on my back?"
"Um, let me just ring up this customer real quick and i'll get the hair off of your shirt for you, Betty."
"Thanks, sweetie. I'ma go dab under my shirt with some paper towels. I'ma sweatin' like crazy 'causa this heat."
And then came Day 3.
"And what kind of cookies did you want with that, ma'am?"
"Well, bra's off again."
She really does grow on you, ya know.
"Oh yeah? Still too hot?"
"Well yeah, it's too hot! This heat'll kill me, bra or no bra!"
"At least you have the option."
"You should do it, too, girl, if you're gittin' rashes like I am, hell."
"Maybe I will, Betty. Maybe I will. Let me just get these cookies for the customer first."
"Alright, I'll help Sarah put them vegetables on these peoples' sandwiches."
"Okay, Betty. Sorry, ma'am. So you wanted two cookies---"
As much as I wish I could have taken part in this next chapter of Betty's dilemmas, I found that the only thing I could do was stand and watch as Betty addressed our newest employee, Sarah.
"And what kind of dressing would you like on this?"
"Sarah? Hey Sarah?"
Sarah finds it best to whisper when talking to Betty so the customers won't overhear. I've grown to learn that this serves no purpose, for it's what Betty says that usually shocks the customers, not me.
"Hey do you gotta tampon?"
Yes. This happened. Betty has her hands on a customer's sandwich, quickly assembling a row of green peppers and onions, preparing the lunch they have been looking forward to eat all day, as she asks Sarah if she has a device to stop vaginal bleeding.
"Um...no...I'm sorry, sir, did you want regular or spicy mustard?"
"Well shoot, you don't got no tampon? How 'bout jus' a pad?"
"No. WAS THAT SPICY OR REGULAR MUSTARD?"
Sarah believes that if she shouts after Betty has asked something that might be deemed inappropriate public dialogue for the food industry, the customers won't be able to take in what Betty just said. That, however, doesn't seem to phase Betty in the least bit.
"Well, darn it. I'm gunna hafta run to the bathroom real quick then and jus' shove some toilet paper up there."
Sarah believes that you should never hide your emotions, as her jaw drops open and she stands there motionless, afraid to look at the customers' reaction. I, however, believe it best to laugh and then look straight at the customer because they're usually too in shock to file any sort of complaint. Then I'll usually drop something to divert the attention. Or quickly remove all the containers of buffalo sauce so nothing is present that might remind the customers of blood. Or maybe next time I'll just point to the sketchiest-looking guy in line and yell, "THAT GUY HAS A GUN!" But, since I can't really do any of these things, I usually just ask Betty to please finish the dishes. In the back room. Away from the public eye. Which is really quite unfortunate when I find myself forced to do this because it makes the day go by much slower.
However, there are times when we'll both be in the back room, after the lunch rush has died down, and my day starts to get fun again. Like the time Betty showed me her tongue.
"Are you okay, Betty? I keep seeing you dabbing the inside of your mouth with paper towels. Did you cut yourself somehow?"
I try to be really nice to Betty because everyone else I work with can be pretty mean to her since she doesn't do any work around the place. But it's because she's a bit off her rocker, just as we all are, NOT because she's a lazy ass, just as a lot of us are.
"Nah, I got something wrong with my mouth. I was fixin' on gittin' it fixed up but the guy that was'a gunna do it for free can't do it no more cause he's in jail."
"Yeah, well. My teeth always been real black and fallin' out but now my tongue is all covered in these white bumps with pus comin' all outta 'em so I gotta dab the pus outta my mouth cause otherwise it jus' runs 'n' runs all day like that."
This is when Betty opened her mouth to show me her pus-filled-bumps-covered-tongue, as well as her black teeth, as well as her sporadic lack of teeth, which I realized I had never noticed because Betty doesn't open her mouth much when she talks and when she smiles, it's always with her lips together. This combined with Betty's lazy eye, which she was kind enough to explain to a customer as,
"Yeah, this one eye I got right here, I hear folks call this one a lazy eye and that's what I got."
---makes the perfect recipe for the comic relief I crave at work that I can't provide myself because I perform better when reacting to others' odd behavior. For instance, I would not be the one to trip and fall down on a crowded street. I would be the one to witness someone trip and fall down on a crowded street then point and laugh and then someone else rush up to help him then look at me and say, "He broke both of his legs, you asshole." Then I would feel awkward. And that would be kind of funny. But not until later when telling my story to a crowd of people about how awkward it is to laugh at someone who you just witnessed doom themselves to a wheelchair as you doomed yourself to hell by using their unfortunate fate for others' amusement.
As much as I think that Betty has become my reason to wake up in the mornings, I realize that there are some tendencies that I, myself, have at work that she may find just as interesting. Or maybe I'm just flattering myself, because I'm pretty sure no one comes close in comparison to Betty. But just to even out the playing field, here's my list of my poor attempts to be as interesting as Betty:
Poor Attempt #1 - I sweat. A lot. I sweat to the point of having to abruptly leave in the middle of taking someone's order to wipe my face because the droplet of perspiration I can feel trickling down the left side of my face just might happen to plop right onto their Italian bread, giving it a nice, little, soggy spot. And if the thought of that is disturbing to me, I can't imagine how disturbing it must be to the customer. I sweat to the point of Betty yelling across the store,
"TURN UP THAT FAN! NATASHA'S SWEATIN' LIKE CRAZY 'CAUSA THIS HEAT! SHE'S DRIPPIN' EVERYWHERE!"
Which is my cue to leave.
Poor Attempt #2 - I have a very specific place I like to take my 15-minute break.
"Natasha? Are you getting the onions?"
"Then...what are you doing standing in the walk-in cooler?"
"I'm on break."
"In the cooler?"
"Um...okay...well, could you hand me the onions?"
"I'll hand you the onions in 15 minutes, buddy."
"Err...alright. I'm gonna shut the door now..."
Poor Attempt #3 - I'm the only employee who goes to a party on a Saturday night and is recognized by complete strangers. Multiple complete strangers.
"HEY, I KNOW YOU!"
"I'm sorry, I can't seem to remember you...what's your name again?"
"YOU MADE MY SANDWICH YESTERDAY!"
"Hey! Don't I know you from somewhere?"
"Do you go to Nashville---"
"Waitwaitwait, I know what it is! YOU MADE MY SANDWICH!"
"Hey! You look really familiar..."
"Footlong turkey on white with american cheese toasted."
"YEAH! That's it! YOU MADE MY SANDWICH!"
My first getaway from work. And work is all people want to talk to me about. Then the next day I return to work. To be surrounded by people at work, talking about work. I would go crazy if it weren't for one thing, because bra or no bra, at least I have Betty.