Next time you visit a diner sit at the counter, it is an amazing experience. You hear all the frustrations, celebrations, and general musings of women in transit, better known as the "waitress". Once in a blue moon you see a man doing this job, but he doesn't last long. Counter sitting fills up the senses, if you are eating alone, its a singular adventure.
I walk in the door and head straight for the counter, if the hostess tries to block me with her oversized menu she is dead. I survey the layout, usually two old Greek guys on the end watching soccer, friends of the owner most likely. Half way in on the far right two old guys, waiting for their early bird special, (which is offered all day).eating soup, mumbling something to each other. My goal is to sit in the middle with at least two chairs between the old greek guys on the end and the early bird old guys at the other end, that puts me smack in the middle, with a buffer zone. (By the way, doesn't matter what time of day, always old guys at the counter, the young guys that approach the counter just want take out.)
The hostess is now standing next to me shoving the oversized menu in my hand, I wave her off," I know what I want". "Okay" she says," no menu", (I am beginning to think she is paid per menu). I look up to find the waitress, usually annoyed that someone is at her station, she has to work the counter and the tables and the counter is just more work for little payoff.
"Do you want to see a menu" she asks," No, I know what I want, can I get a baked potato" I ask, "yeah, if its after 3pm" is her retort,( HMMM the potatos come to work after 3pm) . "Well luckily it is after 3, I will take that baked potato and a hot tea"'. "You got it" she says, "you want any bread?", (HMMMM, the old bread basket, usually stale, and you know what I don't eat goes to the next table). "No bread, I'm good".
The glass of water is a staple, a grainy tumbler, filled to the rim, ice cold and tempting, I need at least three refills. Next comes the beverage, usually unsweetened ice tea, a sliver of lemon, hold the artificial sweetner. The cup of soup, usually lentil, comes in a bowl, with saltines. I scoop out 4 tablespoons and figure my salt intake has exceeded the daily limit. I push the rest to the edge to signal I am finished. I sit and wait.
My eyes widen with delight when my dinner is delivered. Little bowls full of food are strategically set down around the main course plate. The smells swirl about my nostrils and I grab my napkin and tuck it inside my shirt. What's the joke? If I was flat chested my shoes would be dirty! Anyway, my gaze shifts to the smorgasboard in front of me and I dig in.