aramark of the beast
Last night, thanks to the generosity of Charles' folks, he, Kriston, Reid and I got to go to the Nationals home opener.
There it is: DC baseball. I won't lie and say I never thought I'd see the day, or that I've been waiting all of my life for baseball to come back to town. The truth is that as a kid I didn't play it, watch it, or really even care for it. But now I'm settling into it. I don't get excited about the scandals or stars or pennant races. But I do find watching games to be a soothing way to spend an afternoon or evening. To me, baseball is like a nice hammock. I'm glad it's here.
Besides, when middle-class white guys hit their fifties, natural law mandates that they become obsessed with either delta blues or the romanticized timelessness of baseball. At the moment both seem pretty detestable -- but only one prominently features hot dogs, so I'm planning to go with baseball.
At least, baseball is supposed to feature hot dogs. That's right -- here comes the official "whining" portion, required in order for this to qualify as a real blog post. We had all met up at Gordon Biersch for a few beers and some garlic fries prior to metroing over to the stadium. GB's garlic fry portions are pretty measly, so by the third inning or so I was getting hungry. Off to the concession stand!
Here's the line for food outside of our section. I would say that this picture doesn't capture how bad it was, but in a way it does: this picture doesn't move, and neither did the line. As four innings ticked away I watched the clueless Aramark employees run out of hot dogs twice (hint: start cooking more before you sell all of the ones in the hot dog machine) and peanuts and pretzels once -- but the peanut/pretzel shortage was more definitive. Charles scoured the stadium. They were out them everywhere.
Why did I spend four innings in line? Well, because I'm stupid. I know, sunk costs and all that. But it really kept looking like finally, FINALLY things were going to get moving. But some new catastrophe always arose. Still, I was hungry, and I had committed to getting food for other folks.
By the time I got to the front of the line I wanted nothing more than to club the cashiers' skulls in with a gigantic animal femur. But viewing the spectacle up close, I couldn't muster too much anger. Yes, they could've done better -- but they were clearly new to the job, and had obviously received no training at all from Aramark. Every employee would stop and chat happily -- and langorously -- with customers. Every route to the soda machine was a new and distinct odyssey. My cashier didn't even count out change properly, picking at the top of a stack of bills with her index fingers rather than deftly shuffling them along with her thumb. A few games from now these folks will be efficient foodservice automatons, appropriately dead to the world. Last night, though, Aramark tried its very hardest to ruin the game for a lot of fans.
But it ended up alright. The other guys purchased emergency backup beers for me while I was in line. The Nats won, I got a hot dog, and after the game we went to Ben's, where at least the inefficient distribution of sausages is intentional.
Oh, one other thing: protestor guy. Yeah you, the guy with the southern accent SCREAMING chants about DC schools at the fans going through security. Take a cue from the thoughtful vet(?) who went after you: know your audience, make some sense, and/or shut the fuck up. I'm anti-voucher, I'd like to see a privately financed stadium, and I, too, think DC ought to do something about educating its residents. But trying to link the construction of a stadium to the war in Iraq seemed like a bit of stretch. By the time you had finished speaking I wanted to fill DC's schools with explosives and drop them on Syria.