Monday, March 13, 2017

Observations While Eating Pancakes on a Random Tuesday in a South Philly Diner

This is a picture of pancakes because this article
has something to do with pancakes. 


I used to work with this guy named Brad, and he's exactly the type of Brad that you think he'd Brad.

He drank Muscle Milk. And put paste his hair. And one time when we were out to lunch he called a waitress "doll" when he asked her for more oyster crackers. I was mortified. By the time the young lady had brought Brad his crackers, I had crawled under the table, crab-walked out of the restaurant and put in my two-weeks notice back at the office.

You see, there are very few people in this world who can pull off calling someone "doll". One is my Aunt Frayda (who is not my real aunt). Another is Don Draper (who is not a real person). And then there are waitresses in South Philly diners, the type of women who not only smoke a pack of Newports a day, but probably eat them.

This was not my waitress but it might as well have been.

As I stopped into a South Philly diner last week, I was greeted by one of those waitressesDonna, dark-haired woman with even darker mascara who might've served in Vietnam.

"Just the one today, Doll?" Donna asked me.

"Yep," I said as I nodded by head, even though I'm now realizing that saying "yep" and nodding your head are basically doing the same thing.

"Sit anywhere you'd like, Hun."

"Thank you terrifying woman," I said.

And so I did, grabbing one of those big ole booths with the long leather seats. The kind of booths where you need to slide on in, like getting into the front bench seat of a 1963 Buick Skylark, not that I've ever been in a 1963 Buick Skylark, or even know what a Buick Skylark is, but it just seemed like the right analogy here so let's just go with it. 

Immediately after sitting down, another waitress (who was wearing Skechers Shape-ups) came over to me and also asked, "Just the one today, Doll?"

This question somehow stung a bit more than the first time it was asked. Possibly because this new waitress spoke in a much louder tone so everyone in the place could hear her. But then again, who cares, there's nothing wrong with eating alone. Plus, there were only like three other people eating in the restaurant, and two of them were over the age of 90 and possibly dead. Regardless, I nodded and she gave me a menu. It was 86 pages long.

I obviously didn't need a menu. No one who goes to a diner needs a menu. They're all the same, and have everything you'd ever want to eat: omelettes, veal parmesan, raisins. Besides, I had come for pancakes, and planned to get whatever version of the Hungry Man's Special that this diner offered (they offered 12). So I put my menu down and took a look around. Donna was playing pinball. 

Over the speakers, Billy Joel was playing on the radio because every time anyone has ever eaten in a diner Billy Joel has played on the radio. In fact, after the Billy Joel song ended ("Only the Good Die Young"), another Billy Joel song came on ("It's Still Rock n Roll to Me"). I'm not lying. I know that I have a tendency to lie a lot, especially in this blog, and I even lied in the first paragraph about Brad being named Brad. His real name is Josh. I just called him Brad because I didn't want to hurt the real Josh's feelings if he ever read this post. But I know that Josh isn't much of a reader, so I doubt that he'd even read this far down anyway. Either way, Josh is actually a really nice guy, and a good friend, and he probably loves Billy Joel. As does my Aunt Frayda and literally every other Jewish person you will ever meet.

The rest of the diner looked pretty normal. There was a counter. And a bunch of booths. And people who looked like they were going through serious bouts of depression. I felt right at home. 


This is a picture of a diner. 

The pancakes and eggs and sausage and bacon were all pretty ordinary (in that they were fantastic). I gobbled it up quick and drank a cup of coffee and took notes for this post that said things like "whipped butter is bout dat LYFE." But I did see something that I'd never seen before in my 39 years on this earth: a man eating two bowls of soup.

He didn't eat them at the same time, that would be ridiculous. But he still ate two bowls (which is somehow almost as ridiculous). After he finished his first bowl (pea soup, I believe), he simply slid his bowl over to the waitress and said, "Give me another."

Such confidence. 

Such rudeness! 

But such confidence!

Who eats two bowls of soup?! This guy apparently, who proceeded to slurp up his second bowl while yelling at a woman on his cellphone. He kept telling her, "Damn girl you must be pregnant because you don't normally act like this." As of the writing of this article, it is unclear if he or she is still alive. 

As I sat there in awe—at both the fact that a man would eat two bowls of soup AND talk to a pregnant woman that way—I suddenly felt a rumble bumble in my stomach. I took a deep breath, shoved some more pancakes into my fat slut mouth, and tried to ignore it. Then I felt another rumble. And another. Then I prayed to Jesus. I was going to shit my pants.

I looked around for my waitress to get my check, but she was nowhere to be found. I figured maybe she was sitting in the back enjoying a nice warm bowl of raisins. After around 15 seconds, and seven more rumbles, and sweating through my entire shirt, I got up to try and find her. We had a crisis on our hands. And potentially in my pants.

As I walked up to the counter, searching for someone, anyone, good god where are these people, and who the hell eats pea soup, I was pretty much shuffling around the place like James Brown. Then finally, my beautiful disgusting rough wonderful waitress walked out of the kitchen.

"Oh hey!" I yelled, voice cracking, waving nine dollars in the air. "Is it possible to get my check?"

"Nope, not possible," she said with a sarcastic smile, clearly unaware that at any moment I might blow the doors off the entire block. 

I fake laughed and threw a wad of bills at her. No idea how much I threw. Could've been $20. Could've been six. I can't even believe I was carrying cash. But I just chucked it as far as I could and duck-waddled to the nearest bathroom. It was occupied, obviously, so I grabbed a fork off a nearby table and smashed it into my shin. Then I thought about using the ladies room. Then I decided to use the ladies room. Then I got scared to use the ladies room and power-walked five city blocks back to my office where I had a full-blown seizure in an elevator before I destroyed the industrial strength plumbing in my building.

Not really sure what the point of this whole story is. 

I think maybe it's that pancakes are delicious—and that you need to seriously reevaluate the type of things you're reading on the internet.