Now Playing: What Is and What Should Never Be, by Led Zep. “So if you wake up with the sunrise, And all your dreams are still as new, And happiness is what you need so bad, Girl the answer lies with you.”
“What’s this, some sort of secret society?” the maitre’d asked our table. It was a weird question, especially given his earlier coldness. He mumbled something about the kids being so quiet. That’s probably one of the reservations he had when we’d checked in.
The other folks there were great. The timid cute waitress that filled our water glasses really did look like something out of the 1700s or before. The older waitress with the scratchy loud voice was more of a broad. She might not have seemed like she belonged there, but she was good at what she did.
And both the girls and boys – and Karen and I – enjoyed our food, so it was a good choice.
As we admired all the old stuff in there, I kidded with Garrett. I’d gone to the bathroom, which was past the bar, downstairs and to the right. When I got back, I told Garrett there was no TP there, only a bucket full of corn cobs. He asked what the cobs were for, and I just looked at him. (I don’t think he bought it completely.)
Lauren and I were pretty familiar with Old Town Alexandria. She’s interned there, and I spent a week or so there when I worked at Jacksonville, getting training on libertarian philosophy (it wasn’t as boring as it sounds). It was there that I’d met a professional fundraiser who guaranteed she could get public and private grants to bankroll one of my pet projects, the Institute for Frivolous Thought.
When we decided to go to Northern Virginia to see the girls right after Christmas, I really wanted to go to Old Town for at least a short visit and a meal. I didn’t mention it to Karen, but Lauren had the same idea and she did. So we decided to go. We settled on Gadsby’s Tavern, built in the late 1700s and preserved by the city. It hosted most of the Founding Fathers at one time or another, and I thought it would be a cool place to eat.
We got there pretty early – we were going to an Ice thing at the National Harbor later that afternoon – and basically went in right as the restaurant opened. The place was empty. But within a few seconds, the maitre’d arrived. He looked — maybe I should say looked down — at our group and, nose held high, asked, “Do you have a reservation?” (It reminded me of the airport scene in Meet the Parents when the flight attendant, in a deserted airport, won’t let Ben Stiller board the plane yet because she hasn’t called his row yet.) We said no, and he fumbled through his papers at the lectern before deciding that he could, indeed, seat us at one of the vacant tables.
It turned out there was a pretty large gathering there at the restaurant, and members started arriving pretty soon after we were seated. That might have been why he asked about the reservations. He wanted to know if we were to be seated as part of the big party.
At any rate, it was pretty weird. The waitresses were dressed in 1770s garb, but he hand on a business suit like you see at any bank.
We ran into him again on the way out. The kids had to use the bathroom – I think maybe Garrett wanted to be sure there was no bucket of corncobs there. So Karen and I were sitting up front. He came over to chat.
He asked where we were from and we said Charlotte (it’s easier than saying Indian Trail), and he started telling stories about his old days of being a sales rep for an apparel company and how he’d call on Belk. He was actually an engaging guy, and pretty friendly. once he got over the fact that a six-member family was eating there without having made previous arrangements.
The funny thing is, Karen asked a couple of times which apparel company he represented, and he acted both times like he hadn’t heard. I guess you could say that when it came to talking about his past, he had reservations …
This has been another experiment in mixed-up writing (remember the backwards one?), in which the middle of the event is first, the beginning is in the middle but the denouement comes at the regular place. Hope you enjoyed.
“I’m not one of those complicated mixed-up cats, I’m not looking for the secret to life. … I just go on from day to day, taking what comes.” _ Frank Sinatra