August 17th, 2004


I don't even know where to start.

For those of you who don't know, I work for a company that does day tours on boats. Two of our boats have a capacity of about 130 people, and the smallest can only hold 44. I was on the smallest boat yesterday.

Okay. So there was a lady on my boat yesterday. Normally, I don't hold with stereotypes, but this woman was every stereotype you've ever heard/seen about Jewish mothers from New York, right down to the accent.

Right after we left the dock, I'm walking around, handing out the cards to people who would like the vegetarian gumbo instead of the clam chowder later in the day. I give one to the little Jewish lady. Then her daughter-in-law tells me that they had ordered a Kosher meal for the old lady. This was the first I'd heard of it, so I'm confused, the people are upset (which is understandable) so I explain the meal we normally offer and say I could give it to her without the chicken, and with soy sauce (so it would be rice and soy sauce with veggies and a roll). The old woman is staring at me, telling me, "This is your fault, this is your fault, you just bring me EVERYTHING at lunch, I don't care if it takes fifteen plates, just bring me EVERYTHING and I will decide what I want to eat." So I retreat to the galley and explain the situation to Nina, and offer to make the meal so I can spend more time in the galley, because already I'm rather traumatised. I hate confrontation of any kind, it scares me.

Anyway, it turns out my bosses had just forgotten to put the Kosher meal on the boat, so they skiffed it out to us. Crisis averted, right? HA!

There were two boxes involved in this meal. We figured we would serve the lady one box as lunch with a roll, and the other in place of the soup later in the day. So we heat up the Madras lentils in the first box and give it to her for lunch.

Keep in mind we live in a small town of 4,000 people. As far as I know, we don't have any Koshers living here. Therefore, we have a very limited selection of Kosher goods. The food my boss had bought for this lady (ridiculously expensive food, might I add) was Indian food, but it had the little Kosher seal on it that proved it had been inspected and approved by the Kosher Association or whatever it's called.

Anyway, we give her the lentils. She eats them, but she wants the box, so I give it to her, then right after the service she comes back to the galley demanding the other box RIGHT NOW, because whoever made the first stuff we gave her "didn't know what they were doing" and it was "hotter than holy hell" and she wanted her other box RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW, bake it boil it just cook it and give it to me RIGHT NOW. So we explained we had planned to use it in place of her soup snack later, she didn't want to hear it, so we gave it to her. All the while she's yelling at us, there are bits of lentil coming out her mouth.

She then spent the part of the trip when we were looking at the eagle's nest cutting up the boxes so she could write to the company and tell them they didn't know how to make lentils.

Then she asked me where we got the rolls, as in what company provides them. She sounded interested, so I said I didn't know. I was just about ready to add, "but I can find out for you if you'd like," but she went on, "Horrible, just horrible. Dry, and cold, and hard. Just disgusting."

But she'd eaten it.

Then she took the opportunity of the time we spent at the glacier to corner me and talk to me about her son, ("...they live with three black cats, they buy everything in bulk, you'd think they had fifteen kids to support, thank god he lives thousands of miles away from me, I don't think I could stand it if he lived any closer") and also to inform me that "I don't think the meal you serve on this boat is very good, it's just not a good meal. People eat it because they're hungry. But it's not a good meal. For example, that roll..." Oh, right. The meal that YOU DIDN'T EAT. I wanted to say "Actually, ma'am, I know you won't believe me, but we've gotten quite a few compliments on the meal we serve. We've even gotten compliments on the rolls." Because we have.

We prepared her veggie soup separately from the other veggie soup, since our prep bins aren't Kosher, and I made Nina serve, so I didn't hear anything about it. I hid in the galley the rest of the day. At the very end of the trip, she came and yelled into the galley. "Yoohoo! Yoohoo!" I, with trepedation, approached, and she said, "I'd just like to thank you for your kindness, and dedication as an employee, God bless you sweetheart!" So, feeling tremendous relief that she wasn't about to rip out my heart and devour it with Kosher sauce, I hugged her and said "God bless you too" when I really wanted to say, "I hope I will never see you again, you old bat." Then she hugged Nina (never hug Nina) and wrote in the log book, "The crew was better then (sic) the food :)" Yes, she included the smiley face.

More strange tidbits about this woman. 1)She ate honey. She would pour honey, plain honey, into a cup, about half-full. Then she would eat it with a spoon. Does that seem weird to anyone else? 2)Her own son was annoyed by her. He gave Nina permission at the beginning of the trip to throw his mother overboard, though it "might cause a bigger mess than the Exxon Valdez oil spill" and as he was getting off the boat, he said to me "thanks for a wonderful day, and thank you so much for putting up with my mom."

Anyway, so up till now it's just a strange old Kosher lady who is maybe a little aggressive in her assertions, right?

This morning, we learn that last night as my boss C was bussing the lady back to the motorhome park, she was bitching and moaning about the crappy food and how the company would be hearing from her and etc. Which is fine, whatever, she has a right to her opinions.

But at 8 this morning, both my bosses, C and A, were in the town's only grocery store, getting coffee at the little stand, and who should come zooming up to them in her little motorized shopping cart? Yes, the hellspawn herself. She started yelling at them (again) "Hey! You're the ones who brought me that shitty food!" and saying that it was Indian food, and she wanted American food, and blah blah. She also informed them that "The Carrs in Anchorage has a whole aisle of Kosher food." Which prompted A to tell her, "We live in a very small town, why don't you motor that little cart around this store and fill it up with Kosher items, just try it, give it a whirl."

And the lady followed them out the door in her motor cart, yelling how she would write a letter to the company (C and A ARE the company) and complain, to which A said, "Why write a letter, the company's right here!" which prompted the old woman to say that she'd "tell the world" that we had dared serve her Kosher Indian (the horror) food, instead of "Kosher American" food. C had to pull A out of the store before she started a war, because A has a temper and was provoking the old woman. C was being polite, and saying "Yes ma'am, thank you, I look forward to receiving your letter," and generally just trying to defuse the situation.

There were several more things, but these are the ones I remember right off hand. She was one scary lady. And please understand, I have NOTHING against Jews or any other religion, that's not what this post is about, so sorry if it came off that way. It was just this one lady.