It was just another day at work, except it was scorching out there and I felt a tad bit happer working inside.
A female customer came in, and said "How's life in the fast lane?"
I asked what it meant, and she said "Obviously you're not old enough", but couldn't really explain what it meant. She tried explaining it, and after a bit of faltering she went, "ah never mind."
Hours later, a regular customer came in, and bought a few things. He was 4 cents short. I said it's ok, and as he left he said something. This is what I think I heard: "I always like to screw in a nickel anyways", and went on with the usual farewell greeting.
1. What does the expression "How's life in the fast lane?" mean? when and where did the expression come from?
2. "I always like to screw in a nickel anyways" - listening comprehension never has been my forte. I may have slight hearing loss due to heavy usage of portable music players. Anyways, did I hear him correct? is it a valid expression? If it's not, do you have anything in mind as to what it could've been?
'Life in the fast lane' is living energetically in some way: possibly a very busy daily schedule, or a lot of wine, women and song in your night life. The 'fast lane' is the lane of a multi-lane highway where the cars travel (or are supposed to travel) at higher speeds. This lane is at the opposite side from the 'truck lane' or 'slow lane'; in Japan, the fast lane is the rightmost one. Your customer's enquiry may or may not have been facetious (depending on your occupation or reputation), but basically, she was just saying, 'how are you doing?' / 'how's it going?'
I have no idea about 'screwing in nickels', but I think you should have made the customer cough up one, unless liberality has increased since my day. One cent, sure-- but 4 cents for free?!