ADVENTURES IN METER READING - "The Confectionery Chef"
As many of you know, before I became a songwriter full time I worked as a meter reader for Duke Energy for several years. For this blog I thought it would be fun to revisit some of the stories from that job because frankly, they're hilarious (at least to me 😁). I would call them fiction had they not happened to me. But these are in fact true stories. We'll call this part of the blog "Adventures in Meter Reading". This was written back in 2013 when I was still working as a meter reader. Enjoy. :)
I get it. My job is dirty. I crawl around in web filled basements trying to read four or five numbers that really don't matter much to me. But it's my job (for now). But a lot of my customers don't fully understand the filth I encounter on a daily basis. Case in point? The "confection ry chef" on my route today.
She's a sweet older woman with an obnoxious old "yapper" of a dog. She's always home when I arrive and is always happy to see me. That part of it is nice. However, today it seems she's a little under the weather, which is understandable given the temperature change. So she sneezes and coughs into her hands as she answers the door with that same old warming smile. Meanwhile, "yapper" is in the yard well..yapping at me, and she brings him in the dusty house to let him continue berating me with his ear piercing squeal. She does at least gently scold him, which he of course pays no mind to.
So as I've done a hundred times already today, I headed to the basement. She sweetly mentions in passing that she's making "Oreo buckeyes".
"Sounds good ma'am." I said just simply being polite. Then I continued to the basement to read her meters. Now had I known this was not the correct response for the situation, I would have surely changed my answer.
I come back upstairs and she catches me at the top of the steps and says "Hold out your hand." Being the willing idiot I am, I do so. She then sets in my palm what can only be described as an Oreo cream cheese nightmare. "You're my taste tester!" This gooey heart attack looked like a turd old Yapper had thrown down to mark his territory on me. I was horrified, but not because of just how it looked.
My attention is drawn to her hands, and then to the mixing bowl on the kitchen table. She's covered in Oreo and cream cheese up to her elbows as she had been mixing this all with her bare hands. The same woman that coughed and sneezed into her hands so politely upon my arrival one minute ago. The same hands that I watched pet old Yapper right after he was outside with me deciding on whether to lick his butt again or attempt to swallow another one of his own turds first.
If that wasn't bad enough, she wants me to now lick this smoldering pile of Oreo dung from my own palm. The same palm that's been climbing in and out of basements all day. The same hand that has touched at least 200 doorknobs and knocked down at least 100 spider webs already today. There's a reason the first thing I do when I get back to my truck is douse myself in sanitizer.
"Well mister, give it a try!" she says so proudly.
One thing comes to mind at this moment, that part in A Christmas Story where Ralphie is putting on the pink bunny suit his aunt made for him. And I reluctantly lick the steaming black tar from my hand. Making sure not to swallow of course.
"Well how is it?" She gleefully questions.
At this point I may or may not have had a tear in my eye. I can't be certain given the haze of nausea I was in. But I think I blurted out "Great!" as best as you can with a mouth full of chocolate vomit.
I quickly thank her and scurry out of the house to the neighbors yard and purge the doughy ball of disease. Vomit ensues as the old lady's neighbor walks out and sees my not so discrete effort to remove the contents of my stomach.
"Mrs. Wilson's taste tester I presume?" the neighbor asked.
"Yeah how'd you know?"
"She got me yesterday."
Such is the life of a meter reader.
Hope this brought a chuckle or two to your day. Thank you for reading!