My dad and I went to his favorite restaurant for lunch on Tuesday. I have mentioned the place before. It is a formerly skeezy bar that now houses a small family restaurant. It is a clean, bright space, and the mismatched Fiesta ware is homey and cheerful.
The food is simple, tasty and inexpensive. We usually order the same thing every time. We each have a bowl of stuffed pepper soup - which I am in awe of and wish I could make myself - and we split a grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes we have a patty melt instead, especially when Dad tells me he hasn't been eating any meat at Wesleyan Village.
We usually see the same waitresses working the lunch hour. For a while, it was a little dumpling of a woman named Patsy, whom my dad recognized from several other restaurants in the area. Patsy always brought us our sandwich halves on separate plates, each with our own chips and pickles. We haven't seen her for a while, but the woman who waited on us this week was someone who has waited on us before. I have to say, her service was indifferent, at best. She brought us one plate with our sandwich and chips on it, and I did not receive any refills on my glass of water, although she did refill my dad's coffee cup.
I took a peek at the bill as my dad pulled a handful of cash from his pocket to pay our tab. It was fourteen dollars and some change - not bad for lunch for two. When Dad left two singles on the table as a tip, I began to understand the service we had received. We got up to leave, and my dad shuffled up the aisle to pay the bill. "Let me just get my coat on," I called to him, but I was rummaging in my purse for my wallet. I found only two singles there, but quickly laid one of them on top of his tip.
I felt bad for the waitress. I felt bad for my dad. I felt bad. That's just the way it is these days.