I don't often go to real sit-down restaurants, but sometimes I feel like it and today I did and, well, at least I escaped with my life. Maybe that's overstating the matter. But it was one of those odd experiences of ongoing little frustrations that's the sort of thing that drives one to McDonald's, where I get an anecdote only about one of every fifteen times I visit. (Admittedly I'm from an anecdote-attracting family.)
When I sat down the manager explained I could look over the menu and communicate my order through him, then pay when the meal was done, an explanation which is harmless if odd to give. I did pick out something, although when he came back the thing I'd picked wasn't available (``it's not ready yet'', was the exact yet mysterious statement) and that threw me all off. See, I have this problem with decisions where it doesn't make any difference what I pick; it leaves me without basis to pick anything. The manager suggested lamb something and I leapt at it to avoid having to make a real decision (I tend to avoid lamb). Then he asked for my dessert order, and ran off before I could order a drink.
When he brought my order receipt on a tiny clipboard, I told him I'd also wanted a 7-Up, and he got that brought to me a few moments later. Then a waitress came with my salad, checked that off my receipt, saw I didn't have a 7-Up on it, apologized, and took the soda away. I was able to stammer out a ``no, no, I wanted that'', but she didn't bring it back until she found the errata on their orders.
I was slow about eating the salad, and drinking (I'm always slow with my drink), which was a good thing because the lamb thing apparently involved growing the lamb from a calf. I didn't notice right away because, well, I had the book and magazines, but when I got past the halfway point in the magazine I started to think it had been a while, and when stores in the mall started closing the opinion was reinforced. Finally the manager started bugging the kitchen about it, and apologized.
However, it was a tasty lamb, and when I was done with that the sundae was ready immediately, even if the mall was turning off internal lights. And they gave me 20 percent off the whole thing because of the slowness. I think also they forgot to charge me for the 7-Up.
Trivia: Potato chips are approximately 1.8 percent water by mass. Source: The New York Public Library Desk Reference, Paul Fargis, Sheree Bykofsky.
Currently Reading: Asimov's Science Fiction, January 2006. Sheila Williams, Editor.