It was a dark and stormy night…
Wait, scratch that, it was summer in Phoenix. It was a hot, muggy night. I got on a plane at 10 p.m. with a one year old, taking the red-eye to Boston.
Yep. Boston. Overnight. With a one-year-old.
What could possess me to attempt such a feat?
The wedding of one of my best friends. She was my Roommate in college (not to be confused with a roommate–The Roommates are a breed of their own) and later lived with my family for almost five years. To this day no one understands why she felt the urge to up and move to Massachusetts, but it worked out for her because a year and a half later she was getting married. And I was going to the wedding.
There are a number of anecdotal stories from that weekend I could share, but I’ll only share one.
Five of us arrived in the small town where the bride lived on Friday in the early afternoon. Three of us had been on a plane all night and hadn’t eaten since about 6 that morning, were therefore quite famished. The bride suggested a quaint little bakery/cafe that she likes as a good spot to take a lunch. She was unable to join us, but the rest of us went to eat.
We arrived at the restaurant, and we were the only patrons there, since it was well beyond a normal lunch hour. We seated ourselves and waited for the waitress to bring us menus. We all ordered water, I ordered coffee and a couple others ordered soft drinks. She brought glasses and a pitcher of water, but she miscounted and one person was going to be waterless.
About that time another group of three women came in and sat, and the waitress cared for their orders, returning several times to their table and ignoring ours. I had to actually flag her down just to get an extra water glass.
One of the Roommates, Kandi,* is a career waitress. She works at a resort and is very good. So already her feathers are ruffled, as are all of ours, by the poor service, but we managed to bravely carry on.
None of us were in a breakfast mood, but one of the specialties we were told we HAD to try was the sweet bread French toast, so we decided we’d order one to share so we could all taste it. The only thing that looked really appealing on the lunch menu was the turkey club sandwich. The menu described it as laden with turkey and bacon and bleu cheese and served with fries, and so we all ordered one.
At long last, the sandwiches and French toast arrived. We passed around the French toast and saw that it was disappearing quickly, so Kandi ordered one more piece so we could all have a bit more.
The sandwiches, however, were not quite as delightful as the menu made them sound. The turkey was like old, left-over Thanksgiving turkey. Large, dry, tasteless chunks were mashed on the bread and topped with a glob of bleu cheese that was not spread out or evenly spaced. There was no mayonnaise or dressing of any sort, and when we asked for Ranch dressing, the waitress claimed there was none available.
We suspect she just didn’t want to bother.
Most of us did not (could not?) finish our sandwiches because they really were awful. And by then our appetites were gone, but the final piece of French toast had not yet arrived, but Kandi felt bad about cancelling the order, so we decided to take it to go.
The waitress came by eventually, and Kandi handed her the sticky, syrupy plate that had held the first piece of French toast. And the waitress returned a moment later with a fresh piece of French toast…on the same sticky, syrupy, used plate.
Now, as I mentioned before, Kandi is a career waitress, and there are certain things you don’t do. Certain things that are health code violations. Certain things that are just icky. Like putting new food on an old, used plate. Also, Kandi does not have what could be thought of as a good poker face.
At first, the rest of us didn’t know what had happened. We just knew by the dropped jaw and look of horror in Kandi’s eyes that as she held the plate of French toast without moving that something was terribly wrong. Kandi’s face was so expressive that from the other side of the restaurant, the waitress knew something was amiss.
Naturally, we were all fairly appalled at the waitress’s considerable lack of skill, etiquette, and general sanitation, but we made the best of it, took the last piece of French toast to go, and tipped her far more generously than she had earned.
And we tried not to ruin that favored establishment for the bride when we told the story later.