Honest Conversation Is Overrated
Actual Human Interactions Witnessed Or Overheard
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
In Twentieth And Twenty-First Century America
One of the big draws when we moved to this house (don't worry, this isn't going the way things usually go when I start thinking about living situations), aside from having our own laundry machines in the basement, was proximity to a locally owned diner.
I think diners are fine. Comrade thinks breakfast is The Best Ever Possible Meal, and would eat there daily.
The first six months we lived here we went twice a week. It's a perfectly fine diner. The food is acceptable. The service is tolerable. They don't make anything great, but you're also not likely to find a mouse head in your eggs benedict (though, if you did, it would at least be less bland than usual).
While we were in Vegas we went to three separate places that did great breakfasts, and thus any desire I had to go to the diner vanished. I'm no linecook, but I can make eggs better than them. They only serve waffles on weekends, we have a waffleiron seven days a week. Beverage selection at almost any diner sucks if you don't like coffee (and it's never good coffee, anyway) and/or orange juice. Any form of juice I can get from any grocery store is accessible to me at home.
Really, the only reason to go to the diner is because it is almost always filled with The Worst Customers, and it's sometimes fun to take notes on them.
Somewhere, a few months back, I have 3/4 of a post of some of the most batshit dialogue I've heard outside of a comic book store or a poetry slam. Like, some real treasure trash opinions. Nothing politically problematic, just absolute horrible takes on mundane subjects being discussed by four people who probably get a lot of food thrown at them in public.
Last month, there was an incredibly awkward gay date happening in the booth behind us, where one person was so obsessed with being cute and charming, that I had to close my eyes and breathe slowly to keep from hurling a napkin dispenser at him.
Many times in the last few weeks, Comrade has woken up and suggested the diner, and I've said I'd think about it. But by the time I came to a decision, he'd eaten, so we didn't go.
On Friday, we went in. I didn't recognize any of the servers besides the person I assume is the owner or day manager, and we were directed to a table. Nothing really happened. Nobody around us was loud and awful. Our mediocre food came at roughly the amount of time it should take to prepare mediocre food. We finished it, caught some pokemon, talked about our upcoming trip, and were thinking of leaving when our server led an older white couple toward the table and said "Is this table okay?"
And the old white lady let out a sigh that only someone who imagines she deserves servants, and secretly thinks antebellum times Weren't That Bad, can muster and said "I suppose it will have to do."
I put my phone down and took my jacket off. I debated ordering another Coke.
They didn't say much of import for a couple of minutes. She mostly complained about someone named Lucy who was "just exasperating." (I'm sorry, Lucy, I'm also certain it isn't you.)
And then the server came over to take their order, and Granny Entitlement said "Can you change the music? It's so loud. Can't you put on some smooth jazz?"
I didn't like the satellite station they were playing. It was folky garbage from the 1970s. But I get the appeal of it. It's fairly indistinct. The songs blend together. They're recognizable to people above middle age. And they sure as fuck aren't loud. I'm pretty sure it was all acoustic.
The thing is. If she was 70 now, (maaaaaaaybe she could have been early 80s?) then this is the music that was out in her twenties or early thirties. So, it's not like "I Don't Understand This New Music." And she didn't say "I"m sorry but Paul Simon once attacked my sister with a toaster, and Leonard Cohen sounds like someone put the record on the wrong speed, could you please put on some Motown or Broadway musicals?" She basically said "Any music with any sense of artistry sounds Loud to me, and I won't be forced to listen to it. So I'm demanding this restaurant find a station that plays music based on one of America's truly original art forms. But don't play the original stuff. That was made by (and who knows what she'd say her, but it would probably be innacurate, and it would defnitely be problematic). Nay. Play the subgenre populated almost exclusively by white people who subsist solely on porridge and raisins and who don't realize that noodling on a saxaphone while turning in circles is cute when an otter does it but a human caught doing it should be as ashamed as if they'd been caught masturbating to pictures of themselves photoshopped near famous landmarks. Spokem word poets shouldn't really shit on performers from other genres, but I feel like Smooth Jazz musicians are a safe target.
Nobody should force an entire restaurant to listen to smooth jazz at 2pm on a Friday.
The server said she didn't control the radio, but she'd see what she could do.
For a brief, Wonderful moment, the Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop" played, and I imagined Betina Neverworkedforaliving having an aneurysm and dying right there in the diner. But, alas, after a mere verse, the music changed to smooth jazz.
"You know," I said to Comrade, "We don't work here. We could totally walk by their table on the way out and say 'People like you shouldn't be allowed out in public. I bet your grandkids can't wait to put you in a really cheap nursing home.'" (This is something I would obviously never actually do. But I do love imagining doing it.)
Comrade nodded. "It's not like they're going to tip the server anyway."
But we just put our coats on and left, though I did eyedagger the woman and shake my head at her. I hope I gave her something she spent the rest of the day complaining about to her husband.