Last night I went to the supermarket.
I prefer to shop at night for all sorts of reasons which we won’t go into now.
The girl who served me was very friendly, which was nice. I told her that I had been thinking, all day, that it was Thursday (it’s actually Friday. I know, but that happens to me sometimes), she laughed and said she did something similar last week. I think she was being kind and humouring the strange old bloke, but I appreciated her effort.
She did what all ‘checkout’ people do and packed my stuff into bags.
When she got to one particular bag she looked at me and said, “This is the bag with the eggs in it.”
I know that it doesn’t seem like much, but it is.
She takes pride in her job.
I do most of the shopping so I experience the ‘check out’ more often than my wife, and as I said, I prefer to shop at night so maybe the experience is different; a little more relaxed? Maybe, I don’t really know, but I do know that not every checkout person tells me which bag my eggs are in, and I appreciate the courtesy.
Recently I had an old compact cassette transferred to a digital recording.
The tape contained an interview I did with a man who worked in the music roll business from the 1930s through to the early 1950s.
I was in the Pianola business at the time and my dad and I restored the machines and the music rolls that went with them. Somehow (I don’t remember how) I found this guy. He was in his 80s and living with his son and his wife. They were amazed that I wanted to interview this old man who they probably thought was not that special. He was to me, he had a crystal-clear memory of how the Broadway Piano Roll Company worked. He ran the production side of the business until the owner, Len Luscombe, died suddenly.
The guy who did the tape transfer is an interesting guy and we did the ‘miss each other dance’ for quite a while before I got to collect the disc. When I did eventually pick it up I found that he had made me an extra copy and printed out a heap of information on piano rolls that he got from the internet, as well as a full colour photograph of a very rare machine (which came from the Broadway factory) which was used to record the master roll when Luscombe would make a new recording.
He didn’t charge me for any of this stuff, he was just so intrigued by the subject matter on the tape that he just wanted to.
The world is full of people who are trying to ‘do the minimum’ or to ‘get out of something’, so it comes as a delightful surprise when you find someone who takes pride in what they do.
None of the photos in this essay are mine, they were all sourced from the internet.