Unrequited love from the owner of Asian King

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Anyone who lives on the road or has a loved one on the road knows how important telephone relationships are. When George was brand new to over the road, we didn’t have Facebook, and SnapChat and Facetime and 99 other ways to see one another instantly, through the magic of the interwebs. We spent our time together on the phone, hours and hours on the phone, talking about everything happening around us, describing the feeling of being together through the magic of a cell phone without physically being together.

When your conversation reverts to autopilot with a Chinese restaurant owner, be ready to think on your feet.When your conversation reverts to autopilot with a Chinese restaurant owner, be ready to think on your feet.

You fall into certain habits when your life revolves around the revolving world of trucking. First rule of trucking is: There are no steady rules beyond the written law, and few outside of trucking know or care to follow most of those written laws when they’re whizzing around your loved ones in gasoline-filled rockets, oblivious to anyone other than themselves. Second rule of trucking is: Never hang up the phone or leave the driveway without saying, “I love you.” You can directly reference rule one for the reason – I have never expected him to return when he leaves, and I thank the good Lord when he does.

Habits being habits, they carry over into non-trucking life sometimes. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciates being told, “I love you,” and the situation can become downright awkward when one of those people happen to be the somewhat-difficult-to-communicate-with owner of my favorite Chinese delivery place.

I made a long and involved order that really wasn’t so long and involved, but became so when the communication difficulties began over a Schezuan pork plate I jokingly referred to as “the bacon and rice stuff that will burn a hole in your gut.” After making clear I wasn’t lodging a complaint, and really did like the bacon and rice that burned a hole in my gut, I got my total, was told it would be “fifteen minute for you,” and said, “thank you.” I finished the conversation, like I do 99% of the telephone conversations I have, with, “I love you.”

There was dead silence, but neither of us hung up. I was mortified, and hoping she hadn’t heard me. She was either as mortified as I was, or really didn’t understand what I said and broke the awkward silence with, “You say crab rangoon?” And of course, I hate crab rangoons, but I answered, “Yes. Add an order of crab rangoons,” and hung up.

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I figured it only cost me $3.49 to retain at least a shred of dignity with the owner of Asian King, and it gave me something funny to tell George on the phone later. Added bonus that the dog will eat anything if I drop it on the kitchen floor, so no crab rangoons were wasted. I love it when a plan comes together.