So, it was kind of a long week. And yesterday I had make-up lunch plans with a friend, because last week we’d had plans and then one of my children rudely spiked a fever and needed to stay home from school and I’d had to cancel. (GOD. Like that was more important than me going out to lunch, or something.)
Anyway, I felt bad for having canceled last week, so when we were getting organized and she suggested going to the restaurant where the owner backed into Otto’s car, I said sure.
On the one hand, Otto and I haven’t been there since that happened. Sort of a silent protest, if you will. On the other hand, CHEESE GRITS. Like, really good cheese grits. And Otto was out of town for the day, so I could basically sneak over there, eat delicious cheese grits, and he would never know, and so would not be able to accuse me of being more loyal to carby goodness than to him.
(Thank goodness he’ll never know I was there. Oh. Um. Right….)
Off to the restaurant I went, looking forward to seeing my friend and also to having delicious food. I did make sure to park well out of the way of the entrance, though.
My friend arrived. We hugged; we gabbed; we ordered. And we’d been there approximately three minutes when my dining companion saw someone she knew and needed to go say hello. This totally amused me, because this particular friend seems to know absolutely everyone; I have yet to see her anywhere that she doesn’t run into someone she knows. As someone who knows about five people and spends the better part of her life hiding in her office, this is entertaining. (I enjoy observing social people. It’s like having a life, vicariously!)
Our food came and I fell face-first into some sweet potato bisque. (I had decided against cheese grits because I was trying to make a healthier choice, not realizing that the cup of bisque that came with my sandwich was approximately 247% cream. I may have licked the cup.) All this time, we’re talking, and our waitress has come by a few times to check on us and refill our water glasses, and suddenly the owner is coming over to our table…
… to talk to my friend. Because she knows her. OF COURSE SHE KNOWS HER. My friend introduced me.
“Hi, it’s nice to meet you. I’m Owner.” She was leaning in and I had about two seconds to decide what to do. I made the mature decision—I’d just pretend this was the first time we’d met!
“Hi, Owner, it’s nice to—” I didn’t finish. Her forehead was creasing. She was staring at me intently.
“You look SO FAMILIAR,” she said. “Do I know you?”
She was staring at me. My friend was cocking an eyebrow at the two of us. I sighed.
“Yes, you do,” I said. “Um, my husband and I came here about a year and a half ago for breakfast, and—” her hands flew up to her mouth.
“And I HIT HIS CAR! Oh my GOD, I am SO SORRY!”
I couldn’t be sure, but I think my friend was trying really hard not to laugh.
“It’s okay. I mean, he refuses to come here again, but…” her face fell, and I wanted to smack myself. Hello, foot in mouth! “It’s fine, really,” I stammered. I mean, NO, it wasn’t fine, but it was also a long time ago. And we no longer even own that car.
“No. NO! It’s not. I’ve felt so bad about it forEVER,” and before I could interject, she told my friend the whole story, complete with how she was just trying to rescue her sorority’s breakfast, and what an awful day it had been, and how she’s apparently felt guilty about this ever since.
While she talked I started to feel like kind of a jerk for having been so annoyed with her back when the accident had happened. She’s a nice enough person, and she makes good food. And she appeared to be genuinely mortified, even all this time later. So we all made nice and finally she left us to finish our lunch.
The waitress came back after a while, and announced that our lunch was on the house. We were surprised, and pleased (of course), and that feeling of how maybe I’d sort of been a jerk came back, and then the waitress continued, “And Owner also asked me to give you this—” she handed me a small envelope. “She said she hopes you’ll bring your husband back for dinner some night.” In the envelope was a voucher for dinner for two.
Now I had gone past feeling like a jerk into feeling like a total ass. Had I really just told this woman that Otto refused to come to her restaurant? And she’d responded by giving us free lunch AND dinner?
I was trying to decide what all of this MEANT when the waitress continued, “Your husband is Otto, right?” I must’ve been visibly startled, because she continued, “I’m in his class. And he’s great! I mean, Owner told me the story about the thing with the car and I was surprised because, you know, he’s just so NICE—”
“He IS nice,” my friend agreed.
“Well, yes, okay, he’s VERY nice,” I said, “unless you run into his car and then leave. And then it’s possible that he gets a little testy.”
We chatted a while longer and then left her a nice tip and got up to go. We stopped on the way out to thank Owner, again, and I told her that the dinner voucher was really unnecessary, and she said that no, it was totally necessary and she was so glad I’d come in, and then we left.
Now I just need to 1) tell Otto that I went there for lunch and that 2) we need to go have dinner there! For free! Because apparently that poor woman is afraid of my husband, now!
Probably we’ll need to take my car. Just in case.