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Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
"No, really!"

My Favorite Bit of Paper Cup Philosophy

The Way I See It #76

The irony of commitment is that it's deeply liberating - in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bright, Flaming Snarfle

The phones are not ringing as much as we'd like. No ringing phones, no jobs being booked. Maybe the general public is as moony about the change of season as I am. There is some evidence to support the claim that a big dose of nasty has been tossed into our municipal water supply. We are suffering a large number of truly nasty encounters. Customers forget they called us, so we're knocking on doors where no one is home. I am in my "lose no job" mode.

He called Monday afternoon. I took an immediate dislike to him and felt my eyebrow furrow - the right one with a gorge so deep I could store a pencil in it. "Don't blow this, Limes. Get the job." He is a "type" I struggle to work with well. They are invariably male. They clearly resent the amout of time it takes to book the job. They can't or won't give clear information about the carpet's condition. They need to tell me how to run our business. They take pains to tell me that carpet cleaners are con men who purposely run up the bill by recommending unnecessary extra services. Friend Terry gives me a bad time about having a problem dealing with whole classes of people. I always say, "No, Ter, I'd be crabby about anyone who behaved that way. It's not who or what they are. It's the way they behave." So, it went something like this.

Limes: "What are the rooms that need to be cleaned?Customer: Three bedrooms and a hall. OK, 3 bedrooms and a hall." "AND the family room." "OK, 3 bedrooms, a hall and a family room. Can you tell me the last time the carpet was professionally cleaned?" "It's only a month and-a-half old, but we have to clean it between tenants." "OK, so first professional cleaning. Are there any spots, stains or heavy soil?" "Well, um, hem, haw, I don't know what you'd call heavily soiled. I'm colorblind." "Oh, colorblind. OK, but you can see darker areas from lighter areas, right?" "Well, I'm going to say no spots or stains or heavy soil. It's 6-week-old carpet." "This is my quote, sir, based on your description of the carpet." "And it won't be one more penny than that?" I have learned all of my standard phrases from listening to David on the phones. "Sir, I've given you a quote based on listening carefully to your description of that carpet. If the carpet is in different condition than what you've described, it's possible you could need some additional services." "How much would that cost extra?" "I couldn't tell you, sir. I can't see your carpet through the phone." "Just send somebody out here to give me a quote." "No, sir, I can't take my service vehicles off the road for quotes. That's why I ask so many questions - to get a sense of what your carpet needs." "OK, let's book the job. I'm Scott with ABC Property Management, the address is . . . just have them go in and start the work, but call me when they're on the way so I can head over to pay them." "No, Scott, you'll need to be available, at least by phone, when they have inspected the carpet. You have to authorize the services before we start the work." "OK. Do you think they're smart enough to operate a bolting key pad at the front door?" "I think they can just about manage that, Scott. They operate machinery with moving parts and hot water."

Hanging up the phone, I said out loud, "That man is a snarfle." Snarfle is not actually the word I used. I used a plain, well known word that is a body part. It is never meant as a compliment when used to describe a human being. I will not put it in my blog.

I needed to be judicious about which technician I would send on this job. When he came in from his route, I said, "Cesar, I need you to work with me. I need you to start your day early and I'm sending you out to an utter snarfle. Maybe you'll do better with him than I did. Maybe he works better with other men. But to me, he is a snarfle." Cesar's eyes got pretty big. I'm not known to use the word snarfle right out loud to home dudes. He knew I was riled. I related the phone call exchange with Scott and Cesar said, "I'm on it, Limes." As I pulled into the parking lot early this morning, I saw him pulling out in the van to go do the early job for the snarfle.

Cesar called the man to tell him he was on the way. The phone rang a long time, but Scott did answer. Cesar reminded him, "Sir, I need you to be available, at least by telephone, once I arrive. I will need to get your OK to start services." It was agreed. Cesar arrived at the home, managed that Rubik's Cube of a bolting key pad on the front door in a nanosecond, inspected and called. No answer. No voicemail. He tried again. After an hour, he radioed me. "Limes, I don't want to lose the job. My house is about a mile away. How about if I go home and wait to see if he calls me before I have to go to my next job?" "Ten-four, Cesar, thank you for working it so hard." "Ten-four, Limes. Limes? You had it right again. He's a snarfle."

Scott called Cesar about an hour later. Cesar told him the carpet wasn't terrible for being a rental and the only extra services he recommended were two rooms of preconditioning at $15 a room. He explained that by preconditioning, he could get the carpet to 95% of its original condition. Scott then proved what a big bouncing snarfle he actually was. "YOU CAN'T GET THE CARPET CLEAN FOR WHAT SHE QUOTED ME? WHAT AM I WASTING MY TIME FOR? I HAVE TO SHOW THIS HOUSE THIS AFTERNOON . . ." and he slammed down the phone. Cesar radioed in, "Complete waste of our time, fuel and good nature, Limes. Snarfle. I'm moving on to my next job." Damn it. A lost job. A lost terrible job, but I'm just sayin'.

The morning rolled on. I always have more than enough to do. Finally the phone rang and I sat down to try to book one. The man wasn't very pleasant. I tried to be very pleasant. I did neck stretches and tried not to squeeze my pen so hard. I purposely kept my voice light and I sprinkled every sentence with "sir". It was a hard job to book. It did flit through my head a time or two: "How many really nasty aggressive men are there waiting to land on me while I try to land them?" His last shot was, "Are you sure you can get them clean? You're not going to get out here and charge me more are you? Send somebody out to give me a quote first!" A little light came on. "All right, sir, and what is your name, please?" "I'm Scott with ABC Property Management."

Well. I put my pen down and sat back in my chair. I took my voice to its softest tone. "Scott, we won't be coming out to see you today. It's apparent you don't even remember which carpet cleaning company you called yesterday or you wouldn't be calling me again this morning. You hung up on my technician this morning, and I'm hanging up on you now . . . ." I didn't slam the receiver down, either. I wouldn't want to break our office equipment.

David laughed out loud when I told it. I couldn't wait to chirp Cesar and say, "That snarfle!" Cesar chirped Justin who high-fived me so hard when he came in that it nearly knocked me off my feet
. "Damn, Limes, you sure know how to call them!"

In my ears right now:
One of the Badger's custom mixes. I like what he cobbles together. We share a number of musical preferences. It doesn't matter which of his mixes, I'm probably going to like it. Crescent City, Someday Soon . . . .

Something that charmed me: I needed to find illustrations for this post. I couldn't put up a picture of an actual snarfle. So I searched on keywords that were much lighter in tone that what I actually called that man. I searched "ugly worm". And that's what you see above, no matter what vile, putrid, nasty thing you may have thought was depicted. Just worms.


  1. If Stephen Colbert can get the country to drop awesome in favor of massive I am for an effort to get snarfle in the Dictionary of American Slang

  2. I thank you for the vote of confidence, sir! The actual word I used (the word snarfle masks) probably IS in the Dictionary. It is common and base. Every foul-mouthed or angry person on the planet over the age of 8 uses it.

  3. Yes I am known globally as a bona fide Snarfle (witha capital A). Are you and Erin O'Brien starting your own slang dictionary?

  4. If I were going to undertake that endeavor, that's the chiquita I'd want to do it with!

  5. Snarfle, probably not to be confused with Snapple!

  6. Grand conclusion, Badger. One does not want to drink snarfle or have it anywhere near one's face or mouth.

  7. I appreciate your reluctance to use an expletitive, but you really should find some other substitute than "snarfle". It sounds too much like a character on Sesame Street.

  8. So noted, Kirk! I guess I was showing my soft, sensitive side.

  9. Glad you explained about the worms. I expanded the last one, thinking that would help. It didn't. What IS that thing? Ewww.

  10. Ha, Dooz, I'm glad you're as much a girl as I am! That's the nastiest worm I ever saw. It looks like it has a misplaced eye and some blood.

    Maybe posting a picture of an actual snarfle would have been OK after all. The worms are none too pretty, either!

  11. Great post, Limes...but I'd have gone ahead and called the bas!@&% a f**&%#@ A$$%@!3!


  12. OB, I love your attitude. It is HARD to hold my tongue when I am relating with a true snarfle. I learned those words of plain English very young and I use them efficiently. Restraining myself to save one crappy job is painful.