April 12th, 2007

elongate politburo messianic strife

No good deed goes unreworded*

Imagine my disappointment when I came home and the top search results all pointed to waitstaff.


... No. That's an intriguing punchline, but kicking off with it and then telling the story backward is going to be unsatisfying. So let's start over, from the top:

I stopped at a gas station tonight on my way home and bought $6.66 worth of regular unleaded (just enough to get me to the cheap gas station on my way to pick up kadyg tomorrow). My windshield looked a little grimy. So I wandered forward to where the squeegees were stored, about two feet away from an elderly woman pumping gas into her old Volkswagen van.

"Can I get your windows for you?" I asked, and smiled. "Just the front, and rear," she said.

I walked around to her rear window and wiped. It took her a few seconds to process this; then she walked over. "Do you ... work here?"

"Nope, just passing through."

She was silent for several moments. Thanked me, finished pumping her gas, and then caught up to me as I was wiping down my own windshield's grime.

"So to what do I owe this little random act of kindness?" she asked.

I considered. An honest answer would have included the measure of self-consciousness at approaching her to get the squeegee; she had looked up, uncertain, at the stranger's approach, and I had wanted to transform the encounter into one a little more positive.**

"That's a pretty good phrase for it," I answered.

We chatted some. Exchanged introductions, though not names. Talked about our cars, digressed into a little history. She asked where I worked, and I fumbled through an explanation. Then:

Seemingly out of nowhere -- "Are you a server?"

Am i a server?

I had absolutely no context for this line.

"I, um," I fumbled, "ah, that's one way to put it ... I like helping people ..."

"Me, too," she said. Then confided: "I think being a server is the best way to end up where you should be in life." Or something of the sort; my brain was still trying to process the idea. Server. Like at an Internet company? ... Hosting web pages for destiny? ... Or, maybe, this has got to be some sort of Christian metaphor. The way that conversation took a screaming left turn it must be something religious. I'll have to look it up when I get home.

I shrugged at her. "Well, it's already gotten me this far."

We parted ways; I drove off with my $6.66 worth of gasoline, and ...

Imagine my disappointment when I came home and the top search results all pointed to waitstaff.

I'm not certain I'm convinced. It did come up in the context of work, but some of the other things she was saying around it made it seem far deeper than a mere job description.

So has anyone here heard of the term "server" in a religious context (presumably conservative Christian; she lived in Penn Valley and so odds are good that way)? Are there people who use that as a self-description besides the Workers Formerly Known As Waitstaff?

* Pun intentional.

** It occurs to me, hours later, that another subconscious influence on my impromptu good deed was probably my viewing yesterday of this video via bradhicks here. It's actually pretty cool. Go watch.