Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Purple Vespa-Pink Panther & Mexicans on the HWY

On my last post I talked about my history, or relationship with HWY 61, and I think the reason I enjoy sharing my stories is because living in the present can often times spark a "Greatest Hits" track from my misguided youth LOL.

An old adage to sum up Food Service Workers has been (New Jobs & Used Cars). Let me tell ya brah, most people in the Food Show simply don't show up to work driving a Lexus.

If you work in the biz long enough, you'll hear stories that will blow your mind. seriously if your restaurants dishwasher showed up in a rickshaw or on the back of a Shetland pony it really wouldn't be all that surprising.

Now I don't want to get into the whole "Illegal" Food Service Worker thing right now (that's a whole separate post in itself) but let me tell you how things have changed since the Hispanic workforce has made it's presence in my city about 10-15 years ago.

I remember back when the Mexicans started working in the bakery, it was easier for them to get a drivers licenses back then than it is now, so most of these people drove. Many of the Illegals I worked with didn't have bank accounts so they usually carried every penny they owned in their wallets. Most of the bakers toted a couple grand on them every day.

Now you know Danny Klecko LOVES and support cops, but just like every group, there is always a few bad ones, but yeah....when my guys would go home at night, it wasn't unusual for the Heat to pull them over, approach the car and say "50."

The Mexicans would be so frightened of getting deported that they willingly hand the guy 50 bucks and let themselves continue to get extorted. Some of that has changed in the Capitol City over the last couple of years though.

Now remember....I'm not a Politician, and I can't verify this as fact, but many of the Mexicans started moving into Saint Paul because they claimed it was a "No Ask" city. Apparently when the cops pull them over, recognize their Mexican, they don't ask for a License, just the vehicles registration. For whatever reason they don't touch the inner city Mexicans, but in the suburbs....all bets are off. There is no sanctuary allowed.

If they don't have it the registration......the driver is placed out onto the highway, allowed to make a phone call while watching their car get towed away. I can't tell you haw much time I have spent trolling for bakers on I-35 of HWY-94. 9 out of 10 times the driver is illegal, so their cars end up as auto orphans at the impound lot. somebody has got to be profiting on this hand over fist.

With that said, I have a story of my own. When I first moved to Saint Paul, and moved to Grand and Dale, I took a job at SuperMoms in Saint Paul Park. To get there you had to navigate across the inner city, hop on to Warner road (which runs parallel with the Mississippi River) then take that to HWY 61 and coast another...oh, maybe 12-15 miles.

The problem was I didn't always have a car. You could take a bus back after work. That sucked because you had to transfer a thousand times, and the commute took 2 hours, but no bus would get you there when your shift started at 3 a.m.

One August when I didn't have a ride, Heidi Holmes let me use her Vespa. I know in the title I said it was purple, but actually it was more of a pale lavender. Scooters are illegal on Highways if they can't maintain a minimum speed of 40 or 45 MPH, I think the Vespa topped 30 going downhill LOL.

One morning I had just completed a shift and stopped over to the Holiday gas station to get my daily cigarettes and pop and I proceeded to strike up a conversation with the girlio who rang the register. She asked me what my afternoon entailed, and I responded by explaining to her that I was going to the Minnesota State Fair.

She batted those baby blues at me and asked if I would win her a stuffed animal or cupey doll. I didn't commit, but I did end up hitting the Midway with both barrels pointed at successes. I don't think I had to drop too much coin before I sank 2 free throws into a hoop where the ball squeezed through like a plop a** slides into their Calvin Klein's on Thanksgiving night.

"WINNER - WINNER ....CHICKEN DINNER" the Carney screamed out as Danny Klecko surveyed the prize options. I ended up choosing a Pink Panther stuffed animal that was easily 5 feet tall, maybe 6.

Heidi Holmes told me to be straight and hand it over to some poor youth, what she didn't know was I wanted to handed it over to a slinky brunette.

It really sucked carrying that thing all day, and of course I didn't get home until 10 p.m. fell asleep at 10:45 and got up at 1:30 a.m. to head off to work. The first thing I did was claw at a pile of bakers whites that were strewn across the floor and tried to decide which was the cleanest-dirty uniform, but they all stank, they all had dough,sludge, sweat and blood ingrained into them, so I took the option that I often times had to employee, but recoiled each time I did.

I went for the white plastic jumpsuit. Heidi Holmes was in nurses training and worked at a hospital where they had disposable "one size fits all" white/plastic jump suits. Let me tell you, one size did not fit all, my arms shot out of the sleeve like Hermann Munster. Every time I used this option I'd catch crap from my co workers all day, but hey....I was tired, it was summer, and I did not want to stink.

So now I grab the Pink Panther, sit him on the floorboard of the purple Vespa (his head was place between my knees and his head was flush with my chest.

I'll bet I didn't get 1/2 way down HWY 61 before a State Trooper pulled me over. Dude just strolled, or better yet...ambled over to me. I really think he was freaked out.

Danny Klecko was driving illegal because one needed an actual motorcycle lincense to operate one of these sweet rides, and then he let me know in no uncertain term how illegal it was to take it down "the Ghost's Hwy" (another story for another time).

So after giving me the once over, Johnny Law called a tow truck, we stood on the side of the HWY for about 20 minutes until the hook arrived. The driver didn't even get out of the truck, him and the Trooper looked at each other, then me (in a white plastic jump suit) the Pink Panther.....and finally the purple Vespa. While the 2 remained professional, one could sense the highest level of inner laughter.

Guy in the truck says...."Hey kid, If I have to get out and put that (he paused)....ride onto my flatbed, I'll just launch it (the Tropper laughed out loud), but if you want to carefully place it on top, and bungie it down, I'll let you.

I did, but then the tow truck guy looks at the cop and asks "Hey Louis, who's taking the pink doll, you or me?"

I so wanted to die, but I did interject "It's not a doll, it's a panther. The cop snapped and told me to shut the "F" up. I did.

They put the Pink Panter in the squad car with me, they put him in the jail cell with me. People walked by and thought every bizarre thought they could.

My boss came and bailed me out, he was actually a shift supervisor, and a stoner. When I escorted my pink fuzzy date into his van, he didn't ask a single thing.

In case you are wondering, when my shift was over, I did bring the Pink Panther to the Holiday gas station to give it to my was her day off, I left it on the curb and hitch hiked home.

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