13 hours ago
Monday, July 14, 2014
I was supposed to meet Jack for lunch at the Cornelius Pass Roadhouse today. While I am waiting I walk around the grounds and am reminded of how pleasant this place is: spacious grounds, beaucoup de trees, meandering paths through the forest.
Jack is late, so I sit down with my book. These days I read mostly fiction, but I have some non-fiction that I think I should read, so I have taken to keeping one in the car. Whenever I am stuck waiting someplace I pick it up and read for a bit. My current book is The Black Count. I started reading it at home, but I quickly put it down. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was: it is incredibly dense. Each page has as much history as you get in an entire semester at school. I read three pages and it takes me at least a week to digest it.
Today, for instance, I'm reading about Marie Antoinette's older sister with her 18 children playing at being the queen of Naples. Since her sister lost her head in the French Revolution she has developed a hatred for all things French, so when some French soldiers manage to make to make port after nearly being destroyed by a storm, she has them clapped into irons, which is where Alexander Dumas got his plot for The Count of Monte Cristo.
Meanwhile back at the Roadhouse, I have finished my lunch, Jack hasn't show up, and I've finished the chapter. Where's my bill? This is one of my pet peeves about restaurants. I can wait to be seated, I can wait for the waitress, I can wait for my food, and I can wait for a few minutes after I am done eating. But when I am ready to go, I want to go, I don't want to have to wait for the bill. I finished eating 15 minutes ago and still no bill, so I walk up to a woman at the server's station and ask for the bill. She tries to put me off, but I refuse. By my logic I am doing them a favor by offering to pay the bill. By rights I should have just left. I mean, I should not have to go looking for my bill. My wife would probably rate my behavior as extremely rude, but then she thinks that about almost everything I say.
I could have avoided all this trouble by just leaving cash on the table, but all I had was a twenty and that seemed a bit excessive for a cheeseburger and cup of coffee. The bill came to $13.25, which is kind of steep, but you are paying for the ambiance, and like I said, the ambiance is hard to beat. I left the waitress $3. I realize it probably doesn't offset my being rude (assuming I was). Under normal circumstances I would consider it, if not fat, at least a plump tip.
But with inflation being the way it is, and the Roadhouse being what it is, and where it is (next door to the world's largest computer chip manufacturing facility), maybe I should have just left the $20 on the table. But my long history of being miserly makes me unwilling to pay $20 for lunch. Ten years ago lunch was $5 and that included the tip. Now lunch is $7 or $8 and I leave a ten, but that's at a strip mall restaurant, and while it is pleasant enough, including cute oriental waitresses, it doesn't hold a candle to the Roadhouse.
P.S. Am I allowed to say "oriental waitresses", or is that now a politically incorrect term? I'm sorry, I'm old, I can't keep up.