I found myself standing in front of my psyche’s refrigerator the other night, hungry for something, but not seeing anything that appealed to me. I decided, not for the first time, to head out to grab something more filling.
I tried to get into that popular new place on the corner of Sated and Happy, but they weren’t seating any more that night. The joint was filled with beautiful, laughing people who seemed to have everything, including a standing table at this place. I slunk away and headed across the street, through an alley, and down a crumbly set of stairs to a place I visit quite often, The Whiner Diner.
I gave my name to the woman at the podium, and plopped down on the worn bench in the lobby. As I munched on my harvati and drank my merlot, I listened to Carly's "You're So Vain" playing in the background. I looked around at the other people who were waiting for a table as well, and while varied in appearance, we all seemed to have that common thread of slumped shoulders and a stench of resignation. We all knew the food was lousy here, but we knew also knew that it was familiar, and where else would we get served tonight, anyhow? The hostess finally called my name, “Pity, party of one. Pity-your table is now ready.” I sighed, got up, and followed her to my seat. My cute, perky, size six waitress came over and set down a glass of water and the menu before turning and walking away. I glared at her for being so pretty and happy before opening the list of selections…as if I didn’t have every dish memorized a thousand times over.
I perused the fare, hoping something would jump out at me. Hmm…what to order. Perhaps the “I’m not tall enough Shrimp Cocktail” for starters? Or the “Genetics Make me Fat Toast Points with extra mayo”? Since I had already ordered the “My Mother is Too Judgmental Lentils” four times last week, I decided to pass on those for the time being. The “No One Understands me Turkey on Tortured Artesian Bread” was one I hadn’t had in a while, I thought. Just then the waitress came over to tell me that the kitchen was all out of “Hopes and Dreams”, but that I could substitute “Jobless and Poor” for the same price. Passing up the "I Gave It My Best but Brautwurst", I finally decided on the general Blues Plate Special with a beer and a shot to wash it down.
I waited forever for my food (I always get terrible service), and when the order did finally arrive, it was cold, bitter, and greasy. I choked down a few bites, disgusted and fulfilled at the same time, as this food always makes me feel. I did my shot of bottom shelf tequila, and drank my cheap beer before throwing money for the bill and the tip on the table.
I shuffled home back up the stairs and through the alley, throwing up in an open doorway. As I stood up, I caught a glimpse of the shiny, attractive people at the place I first tried to get into. As I wiped my mouth and blew my nose, I gazed across the street staring, and longed for even a spot at the bar.
But my reservations keep me out for now.