Sunday, November 15, 2009

We Should Have Gone to Hooters Instead

My wife and I went out to dinner the other night, to one of the few restaurants in our area that we hadn't yet tried. It's a seafood place down near the 10, right beside the Hooters. So when my wife and I saw the mostly empty parking lot, we both made the obligatory joke about going to the Hooters instead, because then, if we were served terrible food, we could at least gaze at some nylon-clad legs and maybe a tight t-shirt or two.

We should have gone to Hooters instead. And I say that as someone who hasn't been able to even think about actually setting foot inside a Hooters ever since I found out that O.J. Simpson had a Hooters VIP card, which apparently got a lot of use.

Now, as my wife will tell you, I'm easily pleased at a restaurant. Not because I don't have standards, but because I've known too many restaurant people in my life. All those friends who were (and still are) waitresses, hostesses, chefs, and even owners have made me kind of easy-going. Bring me the wrong drink? If it's something I also like, then no problem. Bring me the wrong food? I'm usually so hungry by that point, I'll take it anyway. And enjoy it. Life's just too short, right?

Like I said, we should have gone to Hooters instead.

I could deal with the low, semi-romantic lighting suddenly getting turned up to the nuclear-fired intensity of a thousand white-hot, flaming stars. I could deal with the cola I ordered being one of those weak, watered-down fountain sodas. I could deal with not one, but two employees stopping by our table seemingly every minute-and-a-half to see if "everything was all right," even though most of the restaurant people I know are savvy enough that when they see a couple holding hands across a table and leaning almost forehead-to-forehead, they realize that couple wants to be left alone. I could also deal with the appetizer order somehow getting lost and forgotten back in the depths of what apparently passed for a kitchen. I could even deal with the entrees themselves turning out to be bland and unappealing.

What I could not deal with was simply the most unappetizing thing I've ever heard a waitress say. Ever.

And just what did this paragon of service say?

"I'm sorry. I've been off work for a month sick with Swine Flu, and this is my first day back."

Both our appetites died immediately. Our eyes went wide, and we set down our forks. Then we both leaned back and went, Ewwwwwwww...

In our heads, we both knew she wasn't contagious at this point, but in our guts? You just don't want to hear the woman serving -- and breathing on -- your food talk about her recent infectious disease, which sometimes also just happens to be fatal.

Again, Ewwwwwwww...

We really should have gone to Hooters instead.