(Also See “Abuse of”)
Ok, kiddies, it’s time to open your books to page 101, because everyone could use a little insight these days when it comes to the “T” word.
Is T**st a Curseword?:
No. However, people and their manipulative ways can’t seem to gather up the good these days. Usually the world-wide skepticism has a lot to do with being burned. Take it from the “Burn Queen” (hi! that’s me!), it is a place that hits way too close to home. But the optimist in me just can’t seem to get away from believing that there still is enough good out there to wipe out the grossness of this world and kill ’em all with kindness. But what do you do when you feel that you’ve been betrayed by say, a restaurant? I mean, it’s not a person that you can zero in on and wish horrible things to. Nope, it’s this intangible thing. This entity if you will. What to do then?
I’m A Hypocrite:
I’m the first to speak to people about standing up for themselves. But for some reason, when it comes to me, I get all loosey-goosey. I don’t want to make waves or cause a fuss or draw any attention. So, I get screwed. This time it had to do with an establishment that I’ve been going to since the dawn of time. Any local yokel knows exactly the place I’m speaking of because of it’s generally good-naturedness and overall Cheers-like attitude: remember, everybody knows your name? Well, this place has seen its share of woe and legal troubles but has always gotten the community vote thanks to some local politicians and well-to-do customers. I used to love going there because hey, it felt like family. Well, I should’ve known that no one can screw you over better than family. No one.
So I went to have a simple sandwich. If you must know, it was a turkey club. Sometimes I get all nostagic for the old classics and it began as a hunger, then a hankering, then a “I-must-have-it-or die!” lunchtime obsession that I’m prone to every now and again. So I moseyed (sp?) on down there and lo and behold, the whole gang was there as before. Oh sure, the place is physically the same, but the faces are more painted than I remember and the hair’s new and improved. Whatever, I just wanted my sandwich.
I was greeted with a “Hello, Mema! Long time no see…” attitude which sometimes makes me feel like the celebrity I wish I was. Ah, Ms. Lohan, lemme show you to the best seat in the house… The one waitress even hands me a copy of the New York Post to read while I waited. Nice touch. Within a few short miraculous minutes, I was once again eating what I love. I relished in the taste that reminded me of lunches at college when all I could afford was the cheapest things in life. Yeah, cheap. But just as I finished the last remaining morsels, the waitress conveniently slipped the check underneath my plate. It was, as usual, a flawless performance — so subtle a move as could be missed. But when I turned the slip of paper over, I couldn’t help but notice the unbelievable price of what I’d just eaten: $8! Now, I know that somewhere this amount is not a staggering blow. Someplace where the turkey is home-grown and bred just to be the Thanksgiving feast or the prized upscale meal at a decadent eatery in Midtown. I could expect the price of such delectable meals. You get what you pay for, after all. But if you saw this meager portion of a sandwich which had all of the telltale signs of a fast-food meal, you’d understand my complete discontent. Then, I realized what I was really paying for.
A few years back, I was a regular customer. I was probably a lot more self-absorbed and eager to spread my earnings, proud to be an American girl who could eat meals all by herself alone in a restaurant. I was single. I was young. Money was simpler and I was just happy to spend whatever I made on all sorts of frivolous things like nailpolish and various shades of lipstick. But a few years afterwards, I fell out of favor with the waitresses because they’d stop seeing me as frequently. Then there was an unfortunate incident involving my new boyfriend and his dissatisfaction with platter which *gasp* they were asked to take back and re-do. Now in all the years I’d gone there, I barely muttered any unpleasant words and never challenged them when they got my order wrong or came with a plate of food that was not so hot. I’d been taught not to behave “rudely” which meant keeping my mouth shut even when I was unhappy about service or displeased with attitudes. I accepted and even sprinkled a little sugar on it to make it sweet, even when it wasn’t. Then. here comes Carlos in all his wonderful brutal honesty. He taught me that you don’t have to always reach for what you’re given. You can return it and complain and the customer is always right…even at the risk of having people spit in your food. So I believe with all my being that this one instance was the turning point, because since then, I don’t like going to that restaurant. Not only have the prices changed, but the overall mood just isn’t the way it used to be. Or, maybe it is still the way it used to be and I just never noticed it before.
Trust Your Instincts:
It is a tired cliche, but people do change and I’ve learned that my instincts could never steer me wrong. That’s why I wrote this post. I think that if you listen to that little voice inside, you can’t go wrong. Don’t just eat it, serve it back…with relish.