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If you need me, I'll just be propped
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Eating With
the Enemy.

Transcript of the most uncomfortable lunch ever had by anyone in the lunch-
having public.  I will not go into specifics about my lunch companion, mainly
because I am a huge scaredy-cat.  That’s right.  I’m yella.  But it was with a woman,
and she invited me, and she was paying for the lunch, and she is someone I must
be nice to.  That’s it.  That’s all the backstory you get.  

On the way to the car...

Her:                        Well, where should we go to eat?

Self:                       Oh, anything.  Anything’s fine.  

Her:                       Really?  You like all types of food?  I wouldn’t have
                          guessed  that.  You seem...like you would be picky.

Self:                       Ha...ha? Oh.  Um.  No?  Not really.  I guess I...I guess I
                           don’t like Mexican food that much.  

Her:                        Oh, I see.  

Self:                       Yeah.

(Pause.)

Her:                        Because I was thinking about Mexican.

Self:                       Oh! Well, that sounds good.

Her:                        You just said you don’t like Mexican food.

Self:                       Oh...well, I don’t like refried beans.  But there’s lots of    
                           Mexican food without refried beans.  

Her:                        You don’t like refried beans?

Self:                       Right.

Her:                        But you said you don’t like
Mexican food.

Self:                       Well – lots of Mexican food...has...refried beans...in it...?

Her:                        I wouldn’t say I disliked an entire ethnic genre of
                            food because I disliked one particular dish.

Self:                       Hmm, right.  O-kay!  So, Mexican!

Her:                        No, I don’t think so.  Actually, I made reservations at an
                            Italian restaurant.


At the restaurant...

Her:                        What will you be getting?

Self:                       The shrimp pasta looks good.

Her:                        Right.  Hmm.  Well, I actually have some questions about the
                            menu.  Let me get someone.   
(Reaches out, grabs arm of
                            passing server.  Not our server.  New server recoils in terror.)

Her:                        I think I would like the steak pasta.  

Not Our Server:     Yes.  Well.  Let me get your server, and I am sure he will be
                            happy to get your order.  One moment.

Her:                        But I have some questions.  

Not Our Server:     Of course.  And if you’ll just give me a moment, I will get your
                            regular server.

Her:                        Are you familiar with the menu or not?

Not Our Server:      ...“Yes”?  

Her:                        Fine.  Then I would like the steak pasta, but I do not want any
                            actual steak on my pasta.  I want the sauce flavored with the
                            steak, and I would like the pasta cooked with the steak, but I
                            would like the steak removed before it is brought to me.

Not Our Server:     Riiiiight...well, we could do that for you, I’m sure.

Her:                        And what would the price be for that?

Not Our Server:     What?

Her:                        If I don’t want the steak,  I won’t have to pay for it, correct?

Not Our Server:     ???

Her:                        It should be less.

Not Our Server:     Well...I think...I think that would be the same price.

Her:                        But I don’t want the steak.

Not Our Server:     Right, but...but you want the pasta cooked with the steak?

Her:                       That’s right.

Not Our Server:     You don’t just want the regular pasta?  Without the steak?
                            Because that’s less.

Her:                        No.  I want my pasta cooked with the steak.  I believe I made
                            that quite clear.

Not Our Server:     Yes...yes.  But, see, if we cook the steak, we have to charge
                            for..would you like the steak on the side, perhaps?

Her:                        No.

Not Our Server:     Oo-kay.  Well.  
(Brightening.)  I will just have to check with the
                            manager about that!

Her:                        I don’t see why.

Not Our Server:      
(runs away, screaming.)

Her:                        Well, that’s just ridiculous.  


Lunch finally arrives...

Her:                        So, how is work going?

Self:                       Great!  Really great, thanks.

Her:                        Of course, you don’t know much yet.

Self:                       No, I...I don’t.  Not much.

Her:                        At this point, you’re more of a liability, wouldn’t you say?  You
                            can’t possibly bring in what they pay you.

Self:                       Well...hmm.  No, I guess not.

Her:                        I can’t understand why they would hire someone with so little
                            experience.

Self:                       Right.  Well!  

Her:                        And pay you...what are they paying you?

Self:                       Um!  Not...not much...

Her:                        “Not much?”  Well, I suppose it’s “not much” to you,
                            considering your family.

Self:                       
(Stunned silence.)

Her:                        Of course, my mother died.

Self:                       Oh, I’m so sorry.

Her:                        We were estranged.  

Self:                       Oh...um.  I’m...sorry?

Her:                        They haven’t brought us any bread yet.

Self:                       
(Relieved.)  No!  They have not!

Her:                        I am just appalled by the service here.  
(Stands up.)  COULD
                            SOMEONE PLEASE BRING US SOME BREAD.

Everyone in restaurant:        
(staring silently.)

Her:                        (Sits down again.)  So.  You were talking about your mother?

Self:                       I...
my moth....? Yes?  She’s...we’re...close.  

Her:                       
 (Staring.)

Self:                       And we...we do a lot of things together...and traveling.

Her:                        You travel with your mother?

Self:                       Sometimes.

Her:                        And do you have any friends, outside of your mother?

Self:                       Yes!  Yes.  Lots of friends who are not my mom.

Her:                        Isn’t that interesting.

Self:                       Yes!

(Pause.)

Her:                        We still don’t have any bread.  Excuse me.  (Stands.  Leaves
                            table.  Heads towards kitchen.  Enters kitchen.)

Self:                       Oh, good Lord.  


And just when I think things can’t get any worse, they get much, much worse.  
Please bear in mind, I ordered the second least expensive thing on the menu.  The
average meal at this restaurant costs about twenty dollars.  

The Bill Comes...

Her:                        What did you have?

Self:                       The pasta.

Her:                        Well, it was very expensive.

Self:                       Oh,  I’ll take care of it.  How much was it?

Her:                        Nine dollars.

Self:                       Okay, well, here’s a twenty!  So, pasta and drink and tip,
                            right?

Her:                        No.  
(Huge sigh.)   I’ll...I’ll take care of it.  I just wish you had
                            ordered something less expensive.

Self:                       !!!

Her:                        In fact, this can’t be right.  Nine dollars for pasta?  Go get a
                            menu so I can check for myself.

Self:                       Ooo-kaaay...

Her:                        And I don’t leave tips.

Self:                       Oh, GOOD LORD.

And now I can never, ever go back there again.  And it was good pasta, too.  
Thanks a ton, Her!