It was Cinco de Mayo. The restaurant was busy with the lunch crowd topped off by holiday fun seekers wanting craft margaritas infused with strawberry lavender or tropical flavors of pineapple cilantro.
I waited. Alone. To be noticed.
It seemed like forever until a server hurried by, pointing to a room in the back with over a dozen empty booths. I found my way there, sitting alone, the only one in the cavernous space recently opened since COVID restrictions have been eased.
Leaving the busy bar and front restaurant behind, I found myself comfortable, setting out my usual tools that accompany with solo dining.
My Phone and Journal.
I started reading blog posts from my favorite bloggers.
Twenty minutes went by. No server. I got up and went to the other part of the restaurant, the festivity of the day was just beginning. The bartender was buried, shaking drinks. Another server, a different one rushed by me, my words followed her, that I was still waiting to place my order.
Sitting down, and going back to my reading, an apologetic young waitress who I recognized must be from Chick-Fil-A. If you have ever been to this particular fast food chicken franchise, you recognize employees here and past with their robotic “my pleasure” repeated over and over after you place your order, ask for something, and receive your bag of fast food.
Immediately, upon meeting my server, I empathized with her.
She took my order, with several “My Pleasures” and apologies.
I went back to reading posts about travels and the adventures at Bedlam Farm. While, I was reading I was also thinking about my order and hungrily anticipating trying the poblano chili dish with sauteed mushrooms, cheeses, and sauce with a side of warm flour tortillas to scoop it up with. Whispers of salad suggestions were pushed away during my scan of the menu. I was successful resisting the fried taquitos and potato pancakes.
My chips and salsa arrived with my Agua de Jamaica. A rich crimson color infusion of hibiscus flowers loaded with vitamin C. It’s refreshing with a tart-berry like flavor.
To my surprise, my server returned with my dish and more apologies. I let her know that I totally understood her predicament being thrashed around myself in the restaurant business.
After she left, I glanced down at my food.
A rectangular plate of beet salad with greens. The long line of arugula and spring lettuces smiled back at me.
I didn’t call back my server for two reasons. One. I didn’t want to add more on her plate. Two. I knew, this was a sign from my loved ones on the other side.
“We know you couldn’t wait to have the flour tortillas slathered with cheese and buttered mushrooms. The salad is a better choice for you and we are happy you chose the hibiscus tea, so good for lowering blood pressure.“
I must admit. The salad was the better choice. And it was delicious.
Mistakes are the portals of discovery.
— James Joyce