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Pavlov's Busboy

Updated on September 2, 2010

Pavlov’s Busboy

What an interesting weekend. It was pretty busy for me, I got a lot done, but at the same time I didn’t. I had a list of things that I wanted to accomplish on this 4 day hiatus, but Carla seemed to have a list as well. Hers was, for the most part, completely different from mine. And if any one of you readers is or was a fellow husband, you all know how that progressed.

The common denominator of each one of our lists was to find the best deal on a new electric range and buy it. Along with that, we were in the market for a new cast-iron wood stove for heating. We found both and bought the former, with the latter coming next week. We found pretty good deals on both. We bought the range in Pleasantville and located the cast iron stove here in Lulawissie.

But today went a little awry. Tim, my oldest, who still lives at home (I just had to throw that in), has been sick for the last two days. Today we took him to the ER in Woodyard. He had a high fever and couldn’t swallow and could barely breathe. The ER Doc says he has the swine flu and gave him a prescription to help ease the uncomfortable symptoms. During all of this, I sat in the waiting room.

But not at all being a fan of football, I asked for the remote so I could change the channel of the TV in the empty waiting room. I turned it from “the game” to “Animal Planet” since I could not find the “History Channel”. After a few minutes, a nurse of African American persuasion darted into the front door of the waiting room and turned to look at the TV. She had a look of confusion and disappointment before she blurted out “What dumb ass mother fucker turned off the football game?” I smiled at her as she covered her mouth with her hand in the sudden disbelief of what she had just let tumble forth from her washtub-sized gullet. She took off to other parts unknown in search of “the game”.

Did you ever stop to think how cool it would be to have an App on your cell phone that turned it into a Universal Remote for TV’s? Just think of how much havoc you could raise while sitting in a bar or a waiting room filled with redneck morons watching NASCAR. t would be sweet.

But the earlier part of the day today went a little smoother. We adopted out 4 of our dogs. This left a huge vacancy in two of the pens, so I took one pen down and relocated it next to another, so the remaining dogs were together. Our initial plans were to go to Home Depot and pick up some fencing parts, and then go grocery shopping at Wal Mart and Ingles, but Tim’s hospital trip caused an itinerary change. C’est la Vie.

So tonight, as I sit here in front of this monitor, I am reflecting on the last two days. They have been busy, but relaxing. No customers to deal with, no supervisors running around yelling “hurry up!”, and nobody around me needed to go outside every thirty minutes for a “smoke break”. But what I did think was amusing was the busboy at the Chinese Buffet next to the appliance store in Pleasantville.

It’s an old science lesson in response stimulus, or conditional reflexes. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, Nobel Laureate Ivan Pavlov conducted a series of experiments involving a dog, a bell and some food. Pavlov would feed the dog while ringing the bell. Soon the dog associated the bell with food. When he rang the bell, the dog would come running. Soon the dog would salivate profusely at the sound of the bell, whether there was food or not. It was a stimulated response.

At this Chinese Buffet, there was a lone Mexican busboy that was manning the steam tables. His job was to make sure that all of the pans were full. Whenever the food in the kitchen was ready for the steam table, the cook would place it behind a closed stainless steel window and ring a loud bell. When this young busboy heard the bell, he would drop whatever it was that he was doing, and go immediately to the window at a dead run, pick up the food and deliver it to it’s proper location. It was amazing to watch. I think that he might have even salivated a little. Watching him made me wish that I had access to that bell just so I could mess with him.

I have one more day left before I return to the humdrum doldrums of grocery retail. Wish me luck.



My buddy, Wyatt
My buddy, Wyatt


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