Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Special Guest Screw-Up

Today I have a tale of woe that doesn't involve me, except peripherally. No, I didn't drop another laserjet or sit on someone else's desktop scanner.

I get my breakfast1 from Jeff at Bagel Boys, a local bakery and deli counter. Yesterday, when I went to get my usual heartstopper special the metal shutters were down. Well, mostly down, with a two foot slot at the bottom. They were still closed for lunch, which made me fear that the threatened eviction had already happened2. But, as it turned out, things were much more amusing.

Apparently, Jeff, in a moment of weakness, gave everyone the three days of the holiday weekend off and closed up on Friday, then went home. In the early hours of Saturday, when no-one was around to see it, a thermostat obeyed Sod's Law and broke down. That might have just been inconvenient, but it happened to be the thermostat on the fridge in which Jeff keeps all his dough for the next baking day.

Matters might even then have not become seriously serious if the rest of the store hadn't been wall-to-wall refrigerators for beverage and milk storage, all of which were belching kilowatts of heat into the shuttered store. As a result, it got a bit hot inside, and stayed that way for three days until a staff member tried to open up the store.

Jeff says that bagels he had pre-formed on Friday were now over two feet in diameter3. That wasn't the bad part though.

The bad4 part was that he had stored large blobs of dough in the fridge too, and these had swelled and amalgamated into what he referred to as "The Blob". He also stated that the stench of the yeast (which was having a field day eating sugar and exuding carbon dioxide like it was going out of fashion) was "terrible". This from a baker. This yeast had had it so good for three days that it had already gone beyond the nomadic hunter/gatherer stage and was in the process of forming a democratic republic and developing high-temperature ceramics. Another day and Azathoth knows what would have happened.

He chopped up the dough over the course of Tuesday5 and put it into rubbish sacks (ten of them) and hauled them outside. Once that was done he settled down for a well deserved cigarette, only to leap up after a few minutes when the yeast, probably under the impression it was unobserved once again, began to party once more and the sacks began to swell alarmingly.

As he told this tale of woe and disaster I tried to keep a straight face, but when he got to "The Blob" I envisioned him as Woody Allen in Sleeper, beating off the giant instant pudding with a whisk broom and I lost it bigtime. I've been cracking up all morning thinking of Jeff beating back an enormous raw Bagel with a straw broom as it chases him from kitchen to deli counter.

For once I got to see what it looks like from the outside.

  1. And sometimes my lunch if breakfast has worn off too soon
  2. The landlord wants to throw out about fifty businesses and convert the block to high-proce yuppie flats
  3. A torroidal treat in New York. Take the index fingers and thumbs of both hands and make a circle, thumbtip to thumbtip, fingertip to fingertip, and you get an idea of the usual size
  4. i.e. good
  5. hence the little slot in the shutter to admit volumes of life-sustaining air to the counteryeast forces locked in a life-and-death struggle for supremacy in the bakery

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