walking downtown, it’s always interesting – the things one encounters. after a long day in the sun, and lots of action, we were ready for a bit of food and some calm, and took a wagon to make the trip a bit easier on my young niece. after approximately 20 feet, she climbed out and decided to walk, leaving us to haul the wagon with no purpose other than to offer us the unexpected opportunity of a better workout.
along the way, we encountered many interesting things: a colorful abstract art exhibit being disassembled – lying in a state of disarray and ready to head off to europe, a random group of people of all ages gathered and milling around in the middle of the road with a keyboard, an uncle sam statue that my niece stopped to hug, a circular bike rolling it’s way down the road, a green street fair, a man selling golf balls in his yard chatting up another local, a trio of dancing ballerinas clad in wedding gowns and high tops, and a gaggle of tourists with name tags and cameras. while all of these were fun happenings, they were merely the appetizer for what was yet to come – our dining experience.
we decided to go with the food that would most comfort the littlest of us – noodles, and went to a local asian restaurant. it was small and quiet and uncrowded so it was just what we needed. once seated, our waitress presented us each with a jumbo glass of water. after walking away she must have noticed the glass was bigger than my niece’s head, so she swooped it up, without a word, poured the water into the glass of a customer at another table and walked away, never to return with a smaller glass for her. all interesting choices….
next up, the order. we each ordered and when it came to my niece, her parents tried to order her ‘just plain noodles and some broccoli.’ upon hearing this, the waitress replied, ‘no butter.’ ‘okay, just the noodles are fine – and some broccoli maybe?’ her response to this; ‘noodles?’ ‘yes.’ ‘broccoli?’ ‘yes.’ her response to this was: a dead unblinking stare – totally expressionless, dumfounded, stunned, or insulted, frozen in a state of zen or anger, hard to tell. after a few minutes she jotted something down and retreated to the kitchen without another word. discussion at our table then turned to what might actually come out of the kitchen – did she understand, was she angry, confused, humiliated, who knew? a very hard call to make at that point.
time went by and she never did return to our table, instead she had someone else wait on us, and then proceeded to put on large blue rubber gloves and began cleaning the restaurant. keep in mind the entire place was the size of a small living room, so everything that happened was quite out in the open. at one point, while awaiting the arrival of our food, another group came in, and she sat them, and served them the giant waters – large blue rubber gloves and all, refusing to acknowledge us in any way.
when our food came out, it was somewhat anticlimactic, everything had arrived as ordered, and we felt that even though we had horrified or insulted her and she abandoned us, all had ultimately turned out well. we finished up the meal, with the american/asian tradition of fortune cookies, and called a cab to take all of us and our wagon back home again. imagine our surprise when we opened the first cookie and found the message below. the perfect ending to the perfect evening.