Charlie Mumbles

George told me that Mumbles was from Dick Tracy. He is filled with useless trivia known as knowledge and I hope he continues to nitpick me. Perhaps he can tell me the origins of the word nitpick.

Charlie Mumbles has been sitting across from me in the lunch room, which they call a dining room, since day one. This is my second week here. I’m still looking for a good name for it.

At any rate, or ahem, yesterday Charlie was called into the Commissar of Cooks office and told that he needed to decide which dining schedule he was on: Early or Late?

Early starts with the 6:15 am breakfast; moves on to 11:15 lunch; and finishes up at 4:15, or is it 4:30? I’m still not sure although that’s the shift I chose for myself. The Late Shift is an hour later.

There are placards at each table with your name on one side and the next shift’s name on the reverse. One has the initial E, the reverse the initial L. It took me four days to figure out that E stood for early, and L for, you guessed it, Late.

All of which should be struck out by a good editor. The point is that Charlie has been arriving each day at a time halfway between each shift and sitting in the hallway, waiting to go in.

For example, he has been arriving at 11:45 for lunch. And this has caused a wealth of problems – why I’m not sure since the dining room is usually half full.

But rules are rules, and Charles gets agitated (I’m told he’s schizophrenic tho many of the most sane people I’ve known are schizophrenic, but anyway. The squabble continued at lunch today when the Commissar told Charlies that he had to decided between the two shifts. It was upsetting the staff.

What’s it going to be? Early shift or late shift, Charles? Charlie began mumbling to himself. Picked though a mountain of clothing he carried around on his walker. And finally looked up and enunciated. I think I’ll opt for the late shift.

This caused another flurry of activity as the Commissar said, okay, he’d have to find a spot for him sit at the Late Shift. He returned in a few minutes, and said, the first two meals would be at table one. He’d sit at table two for the second shift.

So you got that. First two meals: second shift, table one. Third meal second shift, table two.

The wait staff , especially Miranda who is the most logical person there said, that is going to be too confusing. One table. He needs one table for all his meals.

So the commissar, who is new here, left for a few moments and returned saying that Charlie could sit at table 1 for all 3 meals.

Charlie repeated: table 1, 2nd shift. Table 1, 2nd shift. And Nan who sits at the table next to mine laughed. We both expect to see Charlie in the hallway, halfway between the two times tonight for dinner.

I whispered to her, I can’t help it. I find this place funny.

And I whispered back: don’t you?

She almost choked on her fruit salad. And nodded.

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