austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Where the sun beats down and melts the tar up on the roof

We determined after that to drive up the shoreline to a German restaurant I sort of remembered being somewhere in the area a few towns north, so naturally we stopped farther down that same avenue at a tavern that was surprisingly busy and had powdered soap in the men's room. It was rather crowded, too -- they didn't have any seats available when we got there, and they asked us to wait about fifteen minutes. We stood around outside for a good bit longer for that before deciding they had forgotten about us. So we went in again and determined that they were just about ready for us in a couple minutes left. And they were pretty busy even after we arrived. The guy clearing drinks was also taken aback when we asked for refills on the sodas; he was either new, overworked, or we had asked him for something outside his domain. The tavern was decorated with what looked like political or variously insulting cartoons of British papers of the late 18th century.

We managed to turn splitting the bill into a serious problem when we realized three of us had only $20 bills, and one had only a few singles and credit cards. I'm still not sure we paid it right, but they were content that they had enough money and I don't think any of us overpaid or underpaid exactly. The tab came to, counting the tip, $14 dollars each. The problem: three of us had nothing smaller than a $20, and the other had only a credit card and a couple of singles. So this is how we worked it out: We took one of the twenties, and got the waitress to change it into four $5 bills. (This took a surprising time; possibly she wasn't expecting that sort of request.) The three of us who had cash took one of the $5 bills each, and one $1 bill from the guy with a credit card, and then the guy with the credit card paid the entire $56 tab (including tip).

I think that worked out fair, but I admit it feels like one of those trick puzzles where you have to figure out how the concierge got the extra dollar from the three people sharing a room, where you add some things and subtract other things and come to the conclusion that there doesn't actually exist any money in the world anywhere.

Trivia: In 1738 mathematician Daniel Bernoulli published Hydraulica. The next year his father Johann published the same book under his name, with the phony date 1732, allowing him to charge his son with plagiarism. Source: Fortune's Formula, William Poundstone.

Currently Reading: The Evening News, Arthur Hailey. (This is, by the way, another library book sale book.)


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