A Night at the Restaurant
Lately I've been wanting to go out to eat at a restaurant. Call me crazy, but subsisting only on meals that come from a microwave and a George Foreman grill gets old quick. Sadly, the general consensus of everyone around here is that a good time revolves around getting drunk, so I don't see that happening any time soon. It's slightly unnerving that so many of those responsible for defending our great nation are borderline alcoholics, but that's a story for another day. And I'm not going to a restaurant alone, because that's just creepy. Since I'm stuck, I can only dine vicariously through commentary on the experience in general. What, have you got a better idea?!
So you go into a restaurant, wait around for a table to open up and, patience permitting, you get seated. Sooner or later the waitress shows up and doles out menus to everyone in your party. No sooner than the moment the last menu leaves her fingertips she asks what everyone wants to drink. Since you've had no time to browse the menu to figure out just what drinks they serve, your choice is pretty much a shot in the dark. If you're lucky they'll actually have what you're asking for. You tell her you want a Sprite.
"We don't have Sprite," she says. "Is 7-Up okay?"
What difference does it make? Either way it's lemon-lime soda! Then again, considering we live in a society where people walk around with brand logos emblazoned on their shirts like a cow's hide, maybe it is a valid question.
After about five minutes (longer if the waitress is lazy), she returns with your drinks and asks if you're ready to order. Someone in your group, who has been carefully perusing the menu ever since the waitress left, inevitably questions the waitress on the quality of his selection.
"How's the mahi-mahi?" he asks.
Every time someone asks a question like this at a restaurant, I just have to wonder. What do you think she's going to say? Maybe she thinks the food's terrible, and maybe it actually is, but do you honestly believe that she's not going to give praise to any item on the menu? Her boss would kick her to the curb in a hurry. Once you cross this hurdle, she finishes taking everyone's order and hurries off. She won't be seen for the next half hour or so unless you need a refill, leaving you and your company to your banal discourse.
Eventually she'll return with your meals. If you have a large party (or a small party of large people) she might have another waitress help her out, because making two trips is for suckers. Now if you've managed to avoid showing the waitress just how much of a jerk you are up to this point, she might not have spit in your food. Bodily fluids notwithstanding, what did you order, anyway? It sure looks a lot flatter and grayer than the picture in the menu. The token sprig of parsley doesn't help, either. But you better like it, because if you send it back you'll have more than spit from the waitress to worry about.
As you work on choking down whatever it is you're eating, the waitress will periodically come by to ask how everyone's doing, how's the food, or something similar. She doesn't really care, it's just part of her job to give that appearance. She'll continue doing this until you're done eating and will dutifully take whatever mess you left on your plate out of your sight. She'll also ask if anyone wants dessert. Don't get any. A restaurant's typical meal has at least a thousand calories; you don't need any more, Fatty. Plus you haven't seen the menu in about an hour, so you've forgotten what desserts the restaurant offers anyway. Don't worry, you're not missing much.
Once everyone's done (or sooner if she's trying to get you out of there), she'll give you the bill. It'll always be placed face-down on the table so she has time to slip away before you flip out upon seeing how much cash they expect you to cough up. You regretfully fork out the required amount, plus at least a couple of extra bucks for the waitress. This is done out of pity because she didn't have the dedication to go to college and get a real job. Then you get up (which is noticeably more difficult to do after stuffing your face), head towards the door and give the maitre d' a dirty look as he or she tritely wishes you a good evening.
On second thought, maybe I'll just order a pizza.