Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Prisoner of the Red Cabin

You have one near you, a “greasy spoon” burger joint. Mine is called, I think, The Red Cabin, on Dundas Street, corner of Aukland, right by Kipling subway station. Décor as it was when the building was erected back in the 1300s, the hinged seats sometimes have a hinge missing, the tables have laminated plastic somewhere under the layers of grease – but the food is worth it all, especially the breakfast.

I was in there last week on one of my rare days off, for a 30-minute sit-down breakfast of sausage and bacon and egg, toast & jam, endless refills of coffee, and the sausage and egg stayed hot until I got to them; most places they’d be cool to cold, but at The Red Cabin it’s magic – they are piping-hot for the entire meal.

My guess is that the guy behind the counter is the owner/manager. He has been there since I started eating there back in 1989. The waitress, too, I think she is a fixture.

“Good Morning”. Good morning. I deserve the world’s best breakfast. “Well you’ve come to the right place. Waddya want?”. Bacon, eggs, sausage, toast, jam, coffee (before I’ve even found a seat with unbroken hinges). How do you like your eggs? “Cooked”.

That’s it.

Five minutes later a perfect breakfast, friendly at-home at-ease service, rich coffee, forever. A great start to my day off with a rented car.

Then I started thinking about the guy behind the counter.

I think they are open seven days a week.

365 or perhaps 364 days a year.

That means that they guy behind the counter spends, let’s say, 12 hours a day, year in year out, in a narrow area about 12 feet long and 3 feet wide. On his feet.

He may be skimming cash, he may be making a small fortune, (but I bet it’s not millions of dollars), but he is in effect imprisoned in a cage smaller than a tiger’s cage, day in, day out, with never a trip downtown to meet a prospect, or a morning off to coffee with the girls (or guys).

I think of that more and more as I sit down each morning and pick up the phone to make calls.

How free I am.

What a wonderful job I have – phoning people and setting up appointments to meet and chat, outside of my home office.

I’m free. I’m FREE!

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