Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Proof I’m a Horrible Person

I have a confession to make: I suck at math. Typically this isn’t a problem because I’m married to a human calculator. I have a second confession to make: my Arabic isn’t very good despite the fact that I (occasionally) studied and attended classes. My brain was only made to hold so much information at one time, so unless you know the :/delete function that will remove all my Disney knowledge, new languages just aren’t going to stick. My final confession is that I’m not very good at saying I’m wrong. Even when I really, really, really am. Really.

Shortly before I went to Toronto these three factoids rose up to meet me in a rather embarrassing fashion.

Since I was starving and starting to spend my time staring at photos of nachos on the Internet I decided to order myself a nice healthy dinner before Hubby arrived home from his business trip. I placed a carb-friendly order on Otlob, chopped up some bell peppers to enjoy with dinner, and sat down to await the doorbell.

Delivery Kid arrived in record time and I thanked him for his speed. Obviously they knew that they had a hungry girl on their hands. The amount on the bill was slightly different (as usual) from the amount quoted on Otlob, which meant that the tip/change I had calculated wouldn’t work unless I wanted to be ridiculously generous. I handed him my money and requested 30LE change.

Due to my lack of Arabic and his lack of English he didn’t seem to understand how much I wanted in change. I held up my fingers to indicate 30 and then said the words for three and zero in Arabic yet he still seemed remarkably confused. My frustration level had now reached a definite seven and I told him to wait while I got my Arabic notebook out of the dining room and looked up the word for 30 in Arabic.

Poor Delivery Boy looked like he wanted the floor to swallow him whole as he took the bill out of my hands and showed me the total… Implored me to see the total. That’s when I realized why Hubby always pays the delivery guys: 50 minus 30 equals 20 and the bill totaled 21. Most of you are probably laughing at me for not being able to do simple math but what you don’t understand is that I don’t test well! I know pi to 4 decimals points (ish) but I can’t add simple numbers under pressure without a calculator. Incredibly and pathetically sad but true. And it only gets worse from here.

Not willing to admit aloud that I had screwed up, I ran to my purse to grab 5LE and then asked for 25LE in change. At this point I was about to let the kid walk away with a 9LE tip – a rather high amount by Egyptian standards. I’m still not sure what happened next but Delivery Boy started saying something about how that was the correct amount and I thought he was complaining about his tip and then my frustration level rose to a solid ten.

I took back the extra five I had given him and told him in no uncertain terms (although very uncertain Araglish) that his complaining was costing him money. At some point he seemed to realize that the hungry, crazy lady was officially and certifiably insane and he tried to give me the amount I had originally requested. That’s when my bubble burst and the guilt finally rushed to my head.

“No, no. Please, you keep it,” I insisted. We would have continued that way for hours except that I decided to shut the door gently in his face. Evidently, the inability to take a hint is one of Delivery Boy’s failings because he knocked on the door and continued to insist that I take the money. I felt lower than the grossest creepy crawly things that live in desert. “No, really you keep it.” I again shut the door softly and was relieved to hear the elevator door open.

“I am a horrible, horrible person,” I said to my reflection as I made my way into the living room. My well deserved guilty was only increased when my bowab came upstairs to apologize for Delivery Boy and explain the boy didn’t speak English and felt bad. “It’s my fault,” I explained. “I feel bad. I’m sorry. It was my fault!” The anguish on my face finally got through to him because he nodded and went back downstairs.

So there you have my confessions for today. I am a horrible, evil, vile person who can never again order from one of her favourite restaurants. While living without food from this restaurant will be a suitable penance, I still want to find someway to make it up to Delivery Boy who may be forever scarred from his run-in with the evil white woman.

I’m so sorry!!

17 comments:

Veronica said...

Wow! you have me confused ... I read English and I had to scroll up and down several times to keep up with you ... and I am still confused!
Never mind, time heals memories, so you'll be able to eat again, one day!!!

NicoleB said...

Don't fret too much. You are in good company.
When my temper rises, things happen that I regret later. Often those things are my fault but I don't see it through the red rage curtain.
Sigh....

LadyFi said...

I think Delivery Boy will get over it! We all make mistakes, so go easy on yourself...

My advice? Order again and make sure you leave Delivery Boy a juicy tip! All will be forgiven...

Anonymous said...

Your bowab (doorman?) is a good person to have come up to check on you! Perhaps he needs the tip :)
Have you ordered from "them" since you got back?
merthyrmum

Protege said...

You are not terrible, we all get that way sometimes. How many times I have been angry at the students in the lab for misplacing something and then later found out it was I who was at fault.;)
Sorry for my ignorance, but what (who?) is a bowab?

Gaston Studio said...

I agree with LadyFi, order again and make sure he gets a great tip.

Okay, I haven't lived in Cairo since the mid-90s and can't believe that you now have a restaurant you can call and order delivery! Wow!

Jane

Gaston Studio said...

I agree with LadyFi, order again and make sure he gets a great tip.

Okay, I haven't lived in Cairo since the mid-90s and can't believe that you now have a restaurant you can call and order delivery! Wow!

Jane

Caution Flag said...

I can't do math at all either. It was humilating to stand at the door with my calculator while the pizza guy stood awaiting his tip, so no more delivery for me. Now I spend that tip money in gas to go get it myself ;(

Your trip to NYC sounds wonderful. You really are my favorite travel writer!

And lastly, I am thrilled that you're back to blogging. You were greatly missed and then some.

RamblingMother said...

Sounds like you were apologizing as best you could. Stopping by from SITS. I am sure you can make it up to the delivery boy!

Roxane said...

You're not terrible! It happens, trust me! When I moved to the US 3 of the 4 people in my house didn't speak English, we had very many of those moments LOL :)

Sturgmom said...

You know what? It happens. Hunger can make us do crazy things. Just ask my husband. Or my parents. When I'm hungry, nothing but food can settle my crankiness. Forget rational thought. Especially math...

Kathy B! said...

I'm sure he'll just chalk it up to the language barrier. Just make sure to be extra friendly for awhile to get your karma back in check :)

the ungourmet said...

Wow! How confusing for both of you.

I hope your food was worth the wait! :0)

Connie said...

Sounds like you do the same math that I do. My 8yo corrects me.... good thing as I need all the help I can get. The only good thing about knowing how bad I am, is that I am not ashamed to re-calculate - with a calculator in full view - several times until I understand. I've still managed to hand over wrong bills, etc. Maybe you can contact OTLOB and have them explain your confusion? I've found the people at OTLOB to be very professional.

Debbie said...

I think you more than tried! Now, you are absolved.

Katherine Aucoin said...

I admire that you had the courage to be able to order food. You get an A in my book because you did your darnest to work it out.

American in Norway said...

I say your go to the restaurant & throw some more money at him... LOL-- Bless you heart I am laughing WITH you...