Sunday, November 4, 2012

Are You Gonna Talk or Eat?

Most folks seem to regard a lunch outing as a social occasion or a way to do business.  A clique of workers might go out and gossip about the boss over lunch.  Or a vendor might take a customer out to lunch to discuss new products or services.  The food is more an embellishment than the main focus.

But for a hungry hypoglycemic, lunch is for resuscitation.  It's a time to eat.  Period.  All that schmoozing is just background bullshit.  When I sit down, I want to order right away and get the food as quickly as possible.  And Eat It.

One vendor who takes me out to lunch is most absentminded when it comes to ordering.  The hostess will seat us and place menus right in front of each of us.  This is his cue to start taking about new developments in the industry.  Since I know the restaurant very well ( I often check the online menu ahead of time) I might open the menu just to check on the soup of the day or to see what special entrees are being offered.  Mostly I open the menu in the hope that the vendor will do the same.

After a few minutes of alternately glancing at the menu and nodding at the vendor, I'll realize that Mr. Vendor won't be derailed from his monologue until the waitress comes over.  So I'll close my menu, take a large gulp of water, and wait.

This is what happens when the waitress sidles to our table and says brightly, "Are you ready to order?"   Mr. Vendor will suddenly realize that the book-like object in front of him is actually a menu and open it.  If I'm lucky, he'll say, "You go first," and then, "I'll have what he's having," after I've ordered.  If I'm unlucky, his response will be, "I need a few minutes to decide."  Fortunately that rarely happens.

After placing our orders, I can pay more attention to the conversation.  Until the food arrives.  Then, the conversation recedes as if it's coming from a storm drain.  The food is most prominent to my senses.  The talking is drowned out by the texture of my food; the sensation of it moving into my stomach, quelling its ache; my body's weak shakiness slowly being dispelled.

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