I know, it was totally last year when I wrote last. Get it? Because it is always funny to make jokes about last year when it was only a week ago that it was last year.
But I'm not even going to show you totally awesome stuff from Christmas or give you my top ten from 2009. Even though lots has happened since I wrote last year (still funny). But I will tell you a story.
The day before my sis-in-law, Nancy, went home to Chicago, we ate at Stan's for lunch. Stan's is an old-fashioned burger place (you can thank me for not saying joint) much like most old-fashioned burger joints (ah, crap it just came out): oldies on the radio, hard, "retro" blue booths and sticky floors, lots of unrelated pictures of bands and celebrities on the wall; yummy shakes, decent burgers, crappy chicken nuggets.
No, I didn't lose a tooth over the holidays, my errant hair just makes it look like I did.
And what goes better with rock n' roll and burgers than Stan's new Indian owner, who also looked to be the only human running the establishment when we arrived. While we gathered our rowdy little ones, he waited impatiently for us to order. It was only Parley and me from my group, so when my turn came to order, I decided to go on the light side: a hamburger for me, fries to share (I have tossed to many half-eaten chicken nuggets in my time).
I say so, and the sullen man says, "What to drink?"
"$4.99." says he.
"Oh, wow. How much were those fries?" I ask (knowing that the burger was $1.59).
"I just charge you for a number six."
"Oh. Wait, what?" I say, hunting the menu for what a number six is.
"It would cost more to get them separately, so I charge you for a number 6."
"Oh, okay" I say, still calculating in my head--those golden fries must really be made of gold. I know I'm paying more than I meant to, but I'm a little frightened by this dude, so I don't say anything.
And I pay the man.
He hands me a Pepsi cup filled with water. It's then that I realize the number six--that I've now paid for--comes with a soft drink. This water dressed like a Pepsi is looking mighty pricey.
Timidly I say, "So can I get a drink with that then?"
"Water, drink, whatever." he grumbles back.
"I'll have a Pepsi, then." I answer. That prompts him to take the cup back. I stutter a protest, Wait! my son could drink... that... water! But too late. It's clear that I am only getting one drink.
When Nancy asked if she could substitute her drink for a shake and pay the difference, she was abruptly told no, and we hurried to our seats. An old episode of Seinfeld came to mind...
...And it didn't go away when the children spilled their drinks and we were not afforded more than our one napkin per order. Mr. new-owner was interviewing a girl for a job two booths ahead of us. I was nervous for her; I didn't dare ask him for napkins, I couldn't imagine how he'd respond to time-off requests.
At least the food was good. And you'd better believe that Pepsi was the best I ever drank.