No crab legs for me ... no in­spec­tor ei­ther

Times Chronicle - - OPINION -

Reg­u­lar read­ers of this space know that my bride and I dine out in the area of­ten — and I write about those ex­pe­ri­ences from time to time. Re­cently we stopped at a place in Abing­ton (near the Tar­get store) called the Old Town buf­fet. We hadn’t been there for a long time, but re­called that it had snow crab legs, as many as you could eat, and that seemed like a good idea for din­ner.

We ar­rived at the res­tau­rant and were met (greeted would be too strong) by a young lady who barely ac­knowl­edged our pres­ence and whose en­tire salu­ta­tion was “how many?” She took us to our seats.

I headed off for the crab legs. The pan was there, it had wa­ter in it and one claw. I asked a server when they would re­plen­ish the tray. She smiled at me. My sus­pi­cion is that she and I were not con­ver­sant in the same lan­guage. So I went to get salad (let­tuce was pretty much it) and some you-peel-them VKULPS. , WRRN fiYH DnG IRXnG WKH PRVW wa­tery cock­tail sauce I’d ever seen. In the cor­ner of my eye I saw some snow crab legs arrive, but be­fore I got there two ladies fiOOHG WKHLU SODWHV wLWK DOO WKHUH wDV DnG OHIW.

I ate my salad, splashed the wa­tery cock­tail sauce on my shrimp and headed out look­ing for crab legs. I was third in line when the server brought a new, about half­full, steam­ing hot tray of those guys. Again, WKH fiUVW WwR ODGLHV Ln OLnH (RnH RI wKRP clearly never misses a meal) wiped out the sup­ply again. When I got there I found one skinny leg, not just a claw. I called to the chunky con­sumer and told her “you missed one.” I don’t think she spoke the same lan­guage as me ei­ther.

One more shot at the crab legs was at­tempted, but af­ter stand­ing there, alone (ob­vi­ously there’s an art to be­ing there at the right time), for a few min­utes it was clear that none were com­ing. I went and got an ice cream cone. Which meant that for my $12.55-SOXV WDx , JRW D OHWWXFH VDODG, fiYH shrimp with wa­tery cock­tail sauce and an ice cream cone? My wife ate more than me, but she said the food qual­ity was “not WHUUL­fiF.”

When I paid my al­most $30 bill, the same young lady that seated us was also the cashier. She said noth­ing, didn’t even look up. Fi­nally Cindy could stand it no longer and said, “Can you talk?” The cashier scowled at her and said “thank you.” And, my re­ply, by the way, was “you’re wel­come.” You won’t see me there again.

We got a new roof on the old manse re­cently. We hired a Wil­low Grove-based com­pany to do the job, be­cause I like to sup­port lo­cal busi­nesses. It wasn’t the great­est ex­pe­ri­ence I ever had. I en­coun­tered the lan­guage bar­rier here too and had to wake two of them up from their naps to get them back to work, but all-in-all they did a pretty good job. OK, so they dented the crap out of my rain gut­ter, but they re­placed it and the one-day job spanned three.

Part of the deal, I learned, was I needed a build­ing per­mit, which the con­trac­tor got for me from Abing­ton Town­ship. It ar­rived in the mail a few days af­ter the job was done — no need to posit it while WKHy wHUH wRUNLnJ. 7KH FRVW flRRUHG PH, LW was $180! I called John Speigel­man (my com­mis­sioner) and asked ex­actly what the $180 got me. He ad­mit­ted that he didn’t know but would look in to it. The re­sponse he passed along to me was a lot of words that, ba­si­cally, says you pay us $180 or you don’t get the work done. No in­spec­tors showed up (if they had, then I’d feel a lit­tle bet­ter about the charge), and prob­a­bly no one but the clerk who typed it and the per­son who copied it on the town­ship uerox prob­a­bly even knew it was be­ing done. I could live with $25, maybe even $50, but $180 for no one do­ing any­thing and a sheet of pa­per seems a lit­tle much.

Switch­ing gears to the sub­ject of WUDI­fiF, RnH PRUnLnJ nRW VR ORnJ DJR , was try­ing to leave the Abing­ton Tar­get store from the up­per drive­way where a sign reads “Right Turn Only.” A guy in front of me with dark­ened win­dows VLWV WKHUH DnG VLWV WKHUH, finDOOy flLSV Rn his left turn sig­nal and sits some more. Then, when he sees an open­ing, he flRRUV LW, URDUV RXW RI WKH HnWUDnFH DnG turns left — right in front of an Abing­ton po­lice car perched on the me­dian Rn 2OG YRUN 5RDG. , fiJXUHG, “2K ERy, he’s toast.” Wrong. What does the cop do? Noth­ing, he ig­nores it. Let’s see, il­le­gal left turn (against the law), dark­ened win­dows (against the law), and a high rate of speed. Imag­ine. But don’t try it your­self.

Ron Dun­bar, who ap­par­ently also sent away for stuff as a kid, wrote and said, “Be­ing of your gen­er­a­tion, I found your re­cent col­umn about kids in an ear­lier time to be very en­ter­tain­ing. How­ever, I want to take you mildly to task on a mi­nor point of an­cient his­tory. The de­coder came not from Tom Mix, but from Cap­tain Mid­night, who was spon­sored by Oval­tine. I didn’t like Oval­tine much, but Mom made me con­sume the whole jar of the stuff be­fore I could send in the la­bel and money to get the de­coder. As I re­call, I got a new one ev­ery year for three or four years.”

Well, Ron, your de­coder may have come from Cap­tain Mid­night, mine came from Tom Mix. I was wrong about Oval­tine, but I liked it (that was the good Cap­tain’s spon­sor), Tom’s spon­sor was Ral­ston and I liked its ce­real too. We’ll call it a draw. Thanks for writ­ing, Ron.

Ted Tay­lor can be reached at ted@ ted­tay­lor.com.

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