Sunday, December 14, 2008

The OCD chili dog

In the town where I work, sort of hidden over near the college, there is a hot dog restaurant. If you live in Rohnert Park, you've probably been there. If you haven't, you should go. The food is delicious. It's called Charlie's Serious Chili Dogs. The owner, consequently is named Charlie. Charlie runs a neat establishment. Extremely neat. In fact, it is the cleanest restaurant I have ever seen. Charlie has exactly zero employees. I used to think it was to save money, and it might partially be for that reason, but I believe the main reason is because an employee would not do things exactly right, exactly precise, exactly neat and tidy, and I just don't think that would sit well with Charlie.
Charlie puts on a new pair of gloves for each customer. He shows no sign of urgency, even during lunch, when the line is snaking through the restaurant. He handles each order with utmost care and precision. If you order a "serious chili dog" you'll get a hot dog with mustard, onion, chili, and the option of cheese. Order it with the cheese. Charlie will take out one of the individually separated containers of cheese, tap it on the counter once, and break a piece of the lid before removing it. I promise.... it's always the same. It fascinates me. Charlie has concocted a chili, that pours beautifully over your dog, and then stays there. I've never seen a chili dog do that.
Charlie isn't the most carefree, outgoing man. He almost gives off a feeling of annoyance, that he has to deal with you, and the rest of the unwashed masses, in his nice pristine restaurant, but he is also unerringly polite and I like him a lot. And did I also mention that he's clean? I think I did. Some health inspectors visit Charlie when they've had a particularly disgusting restaurant filled day, just to make themselves feel better about the world.
A coworker and I went there on Friday to pick up lunch. We ordered a few dogs and wanted to mark which one was which. My friend asked if Charlie had a pen, and when he brought one out, she reached for it. Charlie whipped his hand back so quickly I thought he might fall over. Geez girl, please don't touch the OCD man's pen, he might not give us our chili dogs. He glowered at her and marked the containers himself. Thankfully he forgave her faux pas, and we left with all of our delicious, perfect lunch.
I brought out a fork to eat with, because I was being silly and thinking of NORMAL chili dogs. I picked up that dog, and was finished quicker than I'd like to admit. But this, this is the amazing part. I looked down into the chili dog container, and there was not an onion, not a drip of mustard or piece of cheese, not a drop of chili had escaped from it's rightful place on the dog. Now THAT is a serious chili dog. Sometimes I wish I was even a tiny bit OCD.

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