Family Therapy in The House of Dust, Part Seven, The Rest of the Trip

We head back to Illinois on Monday, which is Memorial Day.  Steve has suggested at least once that perhaps I didn’t plan this trip very well.  Did I realize it was Memorial Day weekend when I was planning it?  I don’t think I did, but it hasn’t made much difference as far as I can tell.  The traffic is not that bad and it’s moving.  There are cops out pulling people over but usually when I pass one he’s already captured a speeder or I’m not going fast enough for him to bother with.  I’ve never driven a pickup truck before this weekend and I’m finding maintaining speed a bit difficult.  Mostly I hover around the speed limit or a little above. 

We stop at a Waffle House because on the way to Missouri Steve commented that he liked Waffle House.  We pass two and stop at the third one because by then we are hungry.  It is crowded but we find seats at a counter table at the end of the area where the servers pass through and call their orders.  I let Steve take the good seat which I think is the one where you can look down that aisle and watch the cooks and servers and see everything that is going on.  Waffle House has always fascinated me.  Years ago I read an article about the chain which described the restaurant style as a clean greasy spoon.  That’s about right.

The patrons are a mix of (I assume) truckers and groups of people either or coming or going somewhere for the weekend or the day.  There are a couple of women sitting on stools in the middle of the counter.  They look tough.  One is wearing a white bandanna around her head.  The other one interests me because I can’t tell if she is male or female.  Could go either way.  Eyebrow pierced.  A backward red baseball cap on her head.  But fairly androgynous.  This is a game I often play with myself when I see people like this.  Male?  Female?  I’m pretty sure she’s female. 

I notice a woman in the booth across from ours who seems fascinated by Steve.  She keeps glancing his way while he doctors his coffee, stirs it, takes a few sips.  She does this the whole time we are there, like she’s as fascinated by him as I am by the androgynous female. 

Our server has a good attitude although from what I can tell she has no reason to.  I think they are training new people and things aren’t going too well.  The servers have to wait to call their orders.  The guy at the register doesn’t seem to have a clue and the servers are helping him.  Maybe it’s his first day.  I’ve never seen such an inefficient Waffle House.  I don’t mind though because it is a great place to people watch.  Steve says didn’t I see the “Now Hiring” sign in the window?  Our server’s name was Candie and all things considered, she did an excellent job.

When I get up to use the restroom there is a group of really, truly overweight people at the booth next to the door to the restrooms.  A young woman is sitting on a chair at the end of the booth, possibly because she couldn’t fit into the booth.  She is wearing shorts and her thighs are gigantic and pale white.  She is attacking a plate of food which resembles something I ordered from the menu a few years ago and came nowhere near finishing.  It’s basically everything Waffle House has on the menu piled onto one plate and covered with gravy.  I want to tell her not to eat it and to make healthier food choices, but then I remember where I am.  Plus I think it’s too late for her.

I notice some really appalling table manners displayed by the other diners.  I think since I’ve already lost much of the respect I once had for my fellow human beings it probably wouldn’t bother me to work in a place like this.

Then I notice that our server and at least one of the other servers have tattoos on their wrists.  I wonder if that’s a requirement for employment? 

To be continued…Look for Family Therapy in The House of Dust Part Eight, The Rest of the Trip coming soon.

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A Forever Kind of Guy (the second book in The Braddock Brotherhood series) will be out in print September 4, 2012!