The other day I was coming home from having my taxes done. It was way past noon, and I was starting to get a little hungry, so I thought I might just have a sandwich in town. I decided on The Village Inn. They have decent sandwiches, they aren’t too expensive, and on Wednesday, you get a free slice of pie with any lunch. Since I was by myself, I agreed to sit at a small table, rather than take up a whole booth. I was escorted to a table next to the kitchen, and this table was just slightly blocking the aisle used by tray-wielding wait staff. I chose to sit in the chair opposite the kitchen, so that as I looked across the table I would be staring into the kitchen, except that they had deliberately placed a blank wall there to prevent customers from staring into the kitchen. This meant that the wait staff, as they exit the kitchen, must make a sharp turn around a blind corner and then head straight into the path of where my chair would be setting if I pulled it out far enough from the table to actually sit on that side of the table. This would be an accident waiting to happen. My chair would be a titanic looking for an iceberg.
The young waitress asked, “Wouldn’t you rather sit facing the dining room? Since you are by yourself, you don’t have to sit facing that kitchen wall. Are you sure you don’t want to move?” I replied:
“Young woman, I hadn’t intended to unburden myself to this degree, but this is the problem: I know what will happen if I sit there. Waitresses will bump into my chair. In fact, there will be a very tall waitress, and she will have just rinsed her contact lenses and put them back in, and her eyes will still be watering so that she is nearly blind. And because she is very tall, she will be carrying a tray slightly above the level of my head—and she will trip on my chair and spill things on me. And the tray will be carrying a double order of Spaghetti Alfredo, with a bowl of New England clam chowder, and hot coffee. And it will all be spilled on me--all over the front of my newly cleaned sport coat, and all down my neck. But the impact will cause the waitress to lose her contact lenses, which will end up somewhere in the Alfredo sauce. Then she will have to ask me to remain very still while she attempts to recover them, which will take a long time, because she is nearly blind without them. But the sustained contact with this hot sauce on my skin will cause an allergic reaction, (possibly from the shellfish in the clam chowder) and I will go into anaphylactic shock. They will call an ambulance, and as they haul me to the emergency room, the waitress will want to ride along because she is still trying to get her contacts back. As the ambulance swerves to turn into the emergency entrance, it will probably narrowly miss a semi-truck, which will careen into the path of another semi and force the ambulance off the road so that it overturns, along with both semi-trailers. One of the semis will be hauling live hogs, and as they wander about the road, they will surely cause other accidents, so that when other ambulances arrive, they will be used to evacuate the other casualties—not me. My ambulance will be on its side and I’ll be lying there with the waitress on top of me, still picking through the Alfredo sauce, hoping to find her contacts. But the pigs, being attracted to the scent of the Alfredo sauce, will come around and start licking me. The waitress will try to shove them away but will be bitten, and I know she will have to have rabies shots, which will ruin her life and cost $4,000, for which I will be billed. But then things start to go wrong.
As I lie there, half dazed, I will look into the lens-free, pure blue eyes of this young woman who is still lying on top of me, and I will decide that I am in love with her—that she is the one true love of my life---and I will tell her so. This, of course, will ruin my marriage. It is quite out of character for me to behave that way---I’ve been married for forty years and I’ve never seriously looked at another woman. But until now, I’ve never had a comely young woman lying on top of me, squirming about with both of us covered with warm Alfredo sauce, and two pigs licking my earlobes with their warm, wet tongues. You see, a guy never really knows how he would act in such a situation until he actually finds himself there. And of course, in some cultures, this would be considered a highly erotic kind of encounter. Which cultures? Well, in Wisconsin. They do a lot of that in Wisconsin. It’s the cheese—there’s a lot of cheese in Alfredo sauce. But as I lie there, seeing how my life has become a complete shambles, I would naturally have to ask, “How could I let this happen? Why couldn’t I see it coming? Wouldn’t anyone see that this is exactly what would happen if I let that young woman put me in that chair?””
“So you see, lady,” I explained, “I can’t sit on that side. It’s just too high a price to pay.” The waitress just stood there a moment, with her teeth clenched tightly. (I’ve never understood what it means when people clench their teeth like that.) Speaking through her clenched teeth, she said, “You may sit where you choose,” and she disappeared into the kitchen. There were some loud sounds coming from the kitchen, but I couldn’t tell what was going on. Was it cursing--or laughing--or perhaps one of those mysterious vocalizations that we males don’t quite understand. I reflected a moment, and then concluded that what I heard was some kind of exclamation of the pure joy that comes whenever people realize that someone has taken the time to explain to them how all our futures are revealed, if we would but take the time to look.