Thursday, January 29, 2009
There I was. Sitting at the Cheesecake Factory, crammed into a round table with 7 of my co-workers, waiting for the waitress to take my order. She was making the rounds, in her cheery demeanor, kindly asking “would you like side salad, soup or fries,” in hope of earning a couple more dollars from the corporate card that would be left at the end of the meal. It was obviously a business lunch. We all had on our suits and ties and the small talk was forced. These weren’t the type of co-worker lunches where you talk sports or tell how hung over you were last weekend. No, these were the higher ups. The big wigs. The guys I hope I never become. In salary, in rank and in knowledge yes. But in attitude, in respect, in holier than thou…never.
I was out of my element. My small talk was worthless at this table. I tried to make the ‘gentlemen I’ve called you here today…’ joke but it fell faster than a Jessica Simpson feature film. So I kept to myself. I kept up with the industry talk, I chimed in when it came to our business and when someone mentioned the Super Bowl I refrained from mentioning my thoughts on Big Ben’s big dumb face. Then she got to me.
“And what can I get you?”
“I’ll take the spicy chicken salad please.”
“Which one would you like sir?”
“Um, just the spicy chicken salad.”
“Well, we have two of those…”
Now let’s pause here for a second. It’s been well documented that yours truly could stand to lose a few pounds. This is something we all know. So let’s just say I’m trying to make a good decision at lunch. I opted out of the club sandwich. I stayed away from the beef teriyaki plate. I tried my hardest to not get the burger and fries. And what do I get for my fortitude and will power?
“…we actually have two kinds of spicy chicken salad. We have the roadhouse salad or the weight management salad,” she announced.
Now what is this all about? Do they have to call it the weight management salad? Can’t they give it a more respectable name? Or can’t they only have one salad which fits the spicy chicken salad description? That’s like being at a burger joint and asking for Super Gay Veggie Burger or substituting fries for a side of Lady Boy Salad. Somebody has got to get a clue.
I confirm my choice by muttering ‘weight management’ under my breath. She gives me a half smile and moves on. I coulda strangled her.
The lunch continues as before with as much energy and enthusiasm as a box of hair. Time passes. And time goes on. It was getting uncomfortable. People were hungry and nobody wanted to carry on this charade any longer. Finally the food came. And to nobody’s surprise, instead of following the little ticket that tells you exactly who got what, the rotund man delivering the food held up an unreasonably small white dish and asked, “Who had the weight management salad?”
Some days I just can’t win.