Monday, August 07, 2006

Order Something Already!

So I went to brunch today at a pancake house with R., my friend of many years, who has an extremely difficult time deciding what she will eat whenever she's in a restaurant.

The waiter brought us menus and went to a corner to await our decisions. I decided in about 2 minutes what I wanted. R. looked as if she'd decided between one of three items but said she wanted to question the waiter about some stuff in her list of possibilities before she made her final decision of what to order.

The waiter comes to the table and I give him my order. He turns to R.

Waiter: And what can I get you?

R.: What's today's special here on the menu? You need to explain it to me--what' s IN it? [He describes the dish to her.] Oh, I don't like that. And what about this one? With the feta... [Again he describes the special.] No, no, no. I don't want that. And this here? Does it have asparagus in it? No. Okay. I don't want that either. Let me think about this more.

The waiter goes away, saying he'll be back in a few minutes. R. scours the menu for something that strikes her fancy. She says, "Zed, I can't find anything. It's too confusing. Maybe I'll start looking again from the first page of the menu." I sigh.

The waiter looks over to our table after a while but I wave
him off. This is going to take a while.

R. menu-studies for an additional 6-7 minutes while I dare not speak to her, lest a word from me leads to some sort of further confusion. Finally she says, "You're rushing me!" I've said nothing. I still say nothing. I just smile. Finally it looks as if she has decided on the Feta Cheese Crepe, and she calls the waiter over to the table.

R.: Does the crepe have asparagus in it?

Waiter: No, ma'am, just the feta cheese. And it's pre-made in a baking dish, so we can't put asparagus in. We can put it on top ...

R.: No, I don't want it on top. Does it have broccoli in it?

No, ma'am, just the feta cheese. And it's pre-made in a baking dish, so it's too late to put the broccoli in. But we can put it on top for you if you'd like...

R.: No. I don't want that on top either. Never mind. Well, let's see...

The waiter and I attentively wait for R. to examine the menu again. Finally she decides.

R.: I'd like the Feta Cheese Crepe with some aparagus and broccoli on the side, and I want them steamed not baked, put parmesan cheese on top of the crepe and then bake it, cook the crepe well but lighter on one side than the other, and can you also put strawberries in the plate? With whipped cream?

Waiter: Yes, ma'am.

R.: And I want Splenda in a cup of light coffee, half-full, with milk not cream. [He brings coffee to her, and the moment he gets to the table she has another request.] And water, can you get me some water with two pieces of lemon, one in the water, one on the side on a plate? And I'd like extra napkins too. And a new fork and knife.

In about 15 minutes he brings R. the crepe stuffed with feta cheese, with aparagus and broccoli steamed on the side, strawberries in one corner of the plate with whipped cream on top, well done, with one side of the crepe lighter than the other.

After one bite R. turns to me with a horrified look on her face.

Me: What's wrong?

R.: This has too much butter! I'm sending it back!

Me: R., where's the butter? I don't see butter on the plate or on the crepe. It was baked!

R.: Taste it!

I taste it. I taste no butter and tell her so.

R.: I'm sending it back. It's way too buttery. I HATE buttery things. I'm calling the waiter.

The poor waiter, looking worn out and exasperated, comes over.

R.: There's too much butter on this.

Waiter: We don't cook it with butter. We bake it. There's NO butter.

R.: Well, there's too much butter in there for me. I can taste it!

Waiter: Ma'am, there's no butter in there. It's a crepe of flour and water layered with feta cheese and baked. There's no butter.

R.: Well, it's too buttery for me. And I HATE butter. I'd like to get something else; would you bring me the menu again?

By now I've finished my lunch and R. is still putting in her order. This time she orders an artichoke and feta cheese omelette.

Me.: If you keep doing this, you're inviting them to spit in your food. You know that, right?

I think it was just about now as she looked at my face that she realized it was in her best interest to order something and actually eat it. Oh perhaps it was my tapping my fingers on the table. Or maybe it was my spinning of the knife on the tabletop. Or maybe she looked at the clock and realized we'd been in the pancake house for 90 minutes already and she still hadn't eaten one drop of food--by choice.

When the artichoke and feta cheese omelette came, she ate it.

Smart move.


Anonymous jane said...

She sounds somewhat cracked. In fact she sounds a lot cracked.

Aug 7, 2006, 6:13:00 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

OMG, sorry, but going out to eat with folks like this would make me NOT go out to eat with folks like this.

Have you ever seen "When Harry Met Sally" If so, your friend puts Meg Ryan's character to shame.

Hope you had fun though.

Aug 7, 2006, 8:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Mollie said...

I have to laugh. You are better then I. I have much patience but she would have been wearing the food by the end of 90 minutes.

Aug 7, 2006, 8:28:00 PM  
Blogger Zed said...

When I told my mother the story she asked me if I'm a "nutcase magnet."

haHA! Not a bad line for an 87-year-old. :)

Aug 7, 2006, 10:20:00 PM  
Blogger Lynda said...

LOL. I don't think I would ever eat out with her again.

Aug 8, 2006, 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Zed said...

She's been put on my "watch" list.


Aug 8, 2006, 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne said...

And I thought I was difficult. :) Because I have food intolerances I'll ask sometimes but if I ask and it sounds like it won't be a problem then I'll order it because I feel badly for asking so many questions. The butter part was killing me though, so funny.

Aug 8, 2006, 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Zed said...

When we got to the butter part, Joanne, it took every once of civility I could muster to keep me from lunging across the table. :)

Aug 8, 2006, 6:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Dee said...

I hate when people take forever to order. I am a picky eater (no condiments or sauces, please), but it usually only takes me a minute to find something.

Aug 9, 2006, 9:34:00 AM  
Blogger Zed said...

Exactly, Dee. If it takes more than 5 minutes to order, it becomes more of a control issue than anything IMHO.

Aug 9, 2006, 1:16:00 PM  

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