Eighteen of us had lunch together at a small Greek restaurant in Monroe, GA, on Saturday. Now Monroe, GA, isn’t the dusty rural farming village you might expect; it’s an hour or so northeast of Atlanta and about a half hour northwest of Athens, the home of the University of Georgia. We have internet access, and we have a brand new WalMart that just opened down the street in that old cow pasture. We don’t drive our tractors on I85 and we do own clothes that aren’t made of denim. Monroe, GA, is modern and happenin’.
No one can say that the restaurant hadn’t been warned ahead of time. Marla had made reservations a couple of weeks in advance, then had called to confirm on Thursday, AND she had reconfirmed Saturday morning. What happened wasn’t her fault, and none of us blame her. Really.
We asked for separate checks. Our waitress was a bit flustered by that, bless her heart. All I can say is that my sorority sisters – all of us are teachers – tip really well, so we don’t feel too badly about asking for separate checks.
Whether it was the uproar about the separate checks or something else that went wrong, I don’t know, but it was an hour and a half before the food started to trickle out of the kitchen one plate at a time. It’s possible that a neighboring farm was responsible for providing chicken and gyro meat from animals that had still been alive when we ordered. It’s plausible to assume that the chef had to milk the goats before he could make feta cheese. I’m pretty sure the salads traveled to us by rowboat directly from Greece.
The first plate arrived, and we assured Betsy that we wouldn’t be offended if she ate before our food arrived; she had ordered fish, and everyone knows that fish gets nasty when it gets cold. We watched Betsy eat. She was almost done when Linda’s plate came to the table. Linda felt uncomfortable eating in front of us, but we convinced her to eat anyway. She was only about half finished when the next plate arrived.
Now while the food service lingered well into the second hour, ladies who were pre- and post- lunch had been refilling their glasses from the pitchers of water and sweet tea on the table. The result was inevitable. There was a steady stream of ladies waiting in line for the restroom. No problem, right? Wrong. The restaurant ran out of toilet tissue. There was not a single roll of tissue in a closet, under a sink, or in a back room. There was no toilet paper anywhere in the building.
There were urgent whispers around our table. Every single woman routed through her purse in search of tissues. Packs of Kleenex were passed from hand to hand. Crisis was narrowly averted.
Finally, everyone had been served except Violet. She had had the nerve to order a hamburger, and the kitchen had run out of buns. It was obviously her fault for ordering American food in a Greek restaurant. Her plate, when it showed up long after everyone else was finished, contained a burned beef patty and a few fries. The waitress plopped a bottle of ketchup in front of her and walked away to put her feet up. It had been a rough day for her.
Remember what I said earlier about Monroe, GA, being modern and happenin’? It’s so not true. Eat somewhere else.