FREE LUNCH FRIDAY
On Thursday, I had lunch with Veda, Gloria, Jim, and Doug. There's a Chinese place Doug and I go twice a month, right next to a Mexican place we never go. Someone suggested the Mexican place, so that's where we met.
I threw in my ten dollars when the bill came, but it was loudly refused. I assured everyone it wasn't my last Hamilton, but everyone insisted I put it away.
Gloria and Veda each pulled hundred dollar bills from their purses, which impressed me. Who carries money around these days?
I hugged everyone outside, thanked them for their generosity, told them I can't go to lunch in the future unless they let me pay my way.
On Friday, Doug called from my old office and asked if he could take me out for my birthday lunch. Somehow we got a week behind, but a tradition is a tradition.
I got to the birthday place at 12:45 and put my name down. Doug showed up ten minutes later. The weather was nice, so we sat outside. The birthday place does a couple of things very well. There's a special salad we always get along with some manner of thin-crust pizza. For your birthday, they bring you a huge cookie (chocolate chip, peanut butter, macadamia nut, etc.) covered in ice cream. It's the kind of place you should say it's your birthday whether it's your birthday or not.
The waitress came and we ordered our food. Doug mentioned it was my birthday.
The pizza arrived a few minutes later. Our waitress walked by, noticed we weren't eating. She clapped her hand to her mouth. I forgot your salad! She asked if we still wanted it and Doug nodded vigorously.
Ten minutes later, the salad came.
A shaggy haired kid with a bunch of bad tattoos wandered over to the bar area. He said hello to everyone, hugged a few waitresses. He put his arm around our waitress, who stopped refilling our water glasses to talk with him. He was there for his last paycheck, wanted to say his goodbyes.
Our waitress came back, asked if we wanted anything else. Doug reminded her it was my birthday. Her hand went back up to her mouth. That's right, happy birthday! Dessert is on me. As she left, I noticed she had a couple of scabs on her leg and I immediately blamed the tattooed kid, who was still milling around. I pointed the scabs out to Doug.
Another ten minutes went by. Our waitress had disappeared. Doug had to get back to work, so we looked around for someone to bring us our check.
We tried flagging down another waitress just as ours reappeared. They didn't bring you dessert yet? She seemed genuinely disturbed. We told her to forget about it, but she insisted on running back to the kitchen. Doug paid the bill with cash. She ran back to our table. Do you want the dessert to go? It's ready. The warm cookie was in a to-go box. There was a Styrofoam cup filled with ice cream.
I thanked Doug for lunch, told him the next one was on me.
When I got home, most of the ice cream had melted.