Few years back I was setting up my company’s trade show booth up at McCormick Place in Chicago. Labor was showing up at 10am, so I got the early 8am start to make sure all my cords were corded and power was powered before carpet went down. Crates show up on time, check. Inventory, check… Then two guys with tools and ladders show a couple minutes early. So far the most problem-free start to booth setup yet… Hoping my normal twelve hour day will be cut to ten!
Things go nice and smooth then 2pm rolls around and the place goes on-break quiet again. I’m still riding a continental breakfast so I forego a trip to the in-house McD’s and decide to string the lights I can reach standing on a chair while I wait for the guys to get back to do the ladder/16′ tower work. A few moments later the electrician super comes by the booth for check, and starts busting on me about the lights being up, asking me who installed them (clip-on 50W halogens) and connected them. I told him I did because the two guys I got “helping” me have taken 3 breaks in 6 hours, and I want to get the fuck out of there and have a beer and a meal and a beer. He laid out the hall rules about electrical and what have you – which I completely understand union halls and liabilities – but he then ordered me to take them down so an official light-stringer could come over and do it. He informs me that he can send a guy over tonight (but it won’t be until after 5pm that Friday) or try to get it ordered first thing Sat morning, but either way it’s gonna be overtime. So I say get it done tonight because I am not missing a 10am flight back to KC.
So I figure I’ll kill time and go grab McD’s even though I’d planned to get something more med-rare and costly since this was the company’s dime… Who knew McD’s closed shortly after the 2pm break. Much like when you’re stuck in traffic and have to piss really bad, then you make that turn down your street and start relaxing your bladder a little because you KNOW the moment of relief is RIGHT THERE. Well, my growling stomach turned violent after finding out it wasn’t going to get the food I’d expected to relieve it with. The ten hour day I’d hoped for was knocking on eleven.
Over the next 2 hours, the electrical super cruises by my booth in his electrical cart a few times to see if I’ve been taken care of. I’m still not electrified, but I’m [ ] this close to telling him to get off his ass and plug my fucking lights in himself so I can eat. He then yells “Hey KC, you hungry? Follow me.” Normally I would assess such a situation, but much like after a huge ride – where decision-making is obscured by the intense need to feed – I follow my gut. He leads me back to his office in the dark, back corner of the hall. A dank concrete cube with a single bare interrogation bulb dangling from the center of the room. Paper’s piled up like my hoarding grandmother’s sewing room. He tells me to have a seat then reaches between two boxes on the floor and out swang a mini fridge door. He pulls out a package of franks and pops two of them into the microwave that sits on the metal shelves behind him. Twenty seconds into it and I was sitting in Comiskey Park. Never before did a hot dog smell so fucking fantastic. He shoves some papers aside and sets down a can of CocaCola in front of me. Grabs the dogs out and nestles each one in a bun and I reach for that thing and cradled it like my first born being passed by the nurse. I’m three bites in before I notice poppy seeds on my bun (wtf?), and the thing looks quilted like a kaiser roll, which now seems odd but at the time was better than bacon sprinkles on a glazed donut. All I know is that it’s 10:30pm, I’m finally eating my lunch and this was one of my best meals ever. Guy served up one thing and that one thing was magnificent.
Long story short, when in Rome…
Also, most people are good people despite whatever that perceived first-impression is. Trust them to change that impression by observing their good works, and never say no to a large man that wants to share his hot steaming weenie with you in a dark room.