69th: If two contend together, take not the part of either unconstrained; and be not obstinate in your own opinion; in things indifferent be of the major side.
Today's Search Engine queries:
I DON'T DO "PERKY"
2 November 2004
"Good Morning!" she said with a big smile on her face as she held the door open for me. "Will you be dining alone today?"
"No, there will be 2 of us," I said, indicating that my friend Kathy, would be joining me in about 10 minutes.
I took a seat just inside the door to wait for Kathy and listened to Dean Martin crooning "Return to Me" through the overhead speaker.
"Good bye!" she called out to people who were leaving, as she held the door open for them. "Thanks for coming to see us! Come back again!" she added, flashing that big smile and speaking in exclamation points.
There seems to be an epidemic of perkiness that has infected The Olive Garden. I don't know if it's a new stated company policy, or if it's just this particular location that has dumped happy pills in the employees' drinking water, but they sure are happy! And they are determined to make you HAPPY too.
When Kathy arrived, a cheerful hostess picked up two menus and told us she'd show us to our table.
"Your waitress will be Cheri," she said, with as much excitement in her voice as if she'd just told us that Brittney Spears would be stopping by the table to make sure we were doing OK.
In a matter of minutes, Cheri showed up. Cheri had definitely taken her perky pills this morning. "Can I interest you in a wine tasting before your lunch," she asked, her voice bubbling like the fizz in a glass of champagne. We told her that we weren't interested in a wine tasting, thank you.
"Well, I'll let you look at the menu!" she said, all but bouncing up and down in her enthusiasm, as if she had just discovered the most wonderful thing in all the world and we were the very first people that she had shared this precious secret menu with. "If you're interested in appetizers they are at the top lefthand corner of your menu," she added helpfully, just in case we weren't able to read that for ourselves.
"Can I get you ladies something to drink," she asked, and then indicated that our choice of iced tea was the most wonderful choice anybody could possibly ever make.
She brought our drinks and asked if we were ready to order. We both chose the soup and salad combination.
"Excellent!" she said, letting us know which soups were available. We both ordered minestrone and she again let us know we had made an excellent choice, then she bounced off to the kitchen.
"Entirely too perky," we agreed.
Kathy thought Cheri could use a dose of Prozac to calm her down a bit.
She came to our table several times during our lunch--to bring us more salad, to refill our iced tea, to remove plates, to ask if we needed more breadsticks. Each time she was so militantly perky that Kathy finally said she expected her to haul out the pom poms at any moment.
When the bill came, it was $12 and change. We each put in a $10 bill and Miss Congeneality asked "Do you need change?"
Hell yes, woman--we're gonna give an $8 tip on a $12 lunch? I don't think so, no matter how perky you are.
As we left the restaurant, the person at the door flashed us a big Julia Roberts smile. "Come back and see us again!" she gushed.
I decided that too many lunches at The Olive Garden might be dangerous for my blood sugar.
I suppose I shouldn't complain. Even though they were all terminally perky to the point where you wondered if they all had fuzzy pets that they could go home and kick, they did make the dining experience pleasant...as well as give us something to giggle about the longer it went on.
I've seen worse. In fact I've seen worse when "worse" was what was expected. I remember a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown in San Francisco where the appeal was the waiter who made it a point to insult everyone.
The name of the place was Sam Wo's. Sam Wo's was quite famous at one time. Walt and I only ate there once, but it was quite a memorable experience.
The building is about 10 feet wide and three stories tall. You enter through the kitchen, squeeze past the woks and chopping blocks, push past the cooks, busboys, and waiters. Then you climb a tiny stairway to the low ceilinged dining room floors, each with six or seven small tables and a dumbwaiter. If one floor is full, you climb up to the next floor, until you find a table.
Sam Wo's was the home of the world's rudest, worst, most insulting waiter, the legendary Edsel Ford Fung (who also happened to own the place). Edsel was made famous by San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Herb Caen.
Sometimes Edsel would make you set your own table, would refuse to give you forks and insist you eat with chopsticks. Sometimes he fondled the women.
No matter what you ordered, Edsel would make fun of you, or tell you you couldn't have this or that and had to have something else.
But that was what people came for--Edsel's abuse. It was what made Sam Wo's a "must see" attraction in San Francisco.
Whatever you ordered was good, I recall, in a kind of greasy spoon Chinese eatery sort of way.
Edsel died many years ago (so did Herb Caen). Sam Wo's goes on, but gone are the insults, and the character that set it apart from the ten thousand other Chinese restaurants in San Francisco.
I hear that the food quality hasn't changed, but it now comes delivered by run of the mill waitresses.
Well. At least they aren't perky.
Website of the Day
Want to know what Bush was scribbling during the debates? Now it can be revealed.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
I received some pictures from Peggy today.