I’m not sure if this is about a class of person or an individual. I would like to think the former, but will likely write this with the focus on the latter.

Caveat numero deux: I didn’t really realize that I was doing back-to-back food service people, yet here I am.

A while back I was in Cobourg with some friends, I forget who, exactly, but a car was involved so, likely, so was Duff. We had stopped to fill up on a gas station near the outside-of-town end of the main drag. It was a sunny day, a little windy, a little cold. Nice to get a bit of fresh air, being out of the car, and I wandered over to the Subway on the next lot to grab a sandwich.

I got a bit more than a sub.

It’s always a little jarring to walk into a fast-food place in a town that isn’t Toronto and see white people working there. This is a gross generalization but I still find it holds some water. There was a girl behind the counter who couldn’t have been more than sixteen. She was skinny, with perfectly straight blonde hair cut long past her shoulders. Her Subway-branded golf tee hung slightly loose over her narrow shoulders. She glanced up at me with her thickly eyelined eyes (more about that another, non-badass time) and fixed me with light blue stare. Her face remained a mask, but there was something very gripping about her eyes, very focused, intent – this girl seemed, to field a cliche, hard as a coffin nail. She had eyes like Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West. A little intimidated, I stepped up to the counter and ordered.

Somehow I found myself outside again in the wind, walking back to the car, sandwich in hand. She had been calm, and had made my sub with an able, even precision. I don’t think I’ve been that cowed by a teenage girl since. I almost said “before or since” and then realized that I was once a teenager myself and at that point I knew even less how to talk to ladies than I do now.