I went out today. Yes, it’s true! That alone is an accomplishment. But since going out is becoming “old hat,” I will skip the accolades and get straight to the funny stuff.
One of the problems that agoraphobics have to deal with once they are out of the house is: what in the world am I going to eat? While some people relish the idea of looking for new restaurants to visit or new cuisines to sample, we do not. New things make us nervous. As a result, we search for the familiar: anything to keep us calm – anything to keep us from reaching for the Pepto Bismol. (It’s not always easy, but it can be done.)
Today I went someplace new. I won’t say where I ate, but this franchised restaurant is named after a specific dessert made of cheese. Clue number two: it is feature in a hit TV sitcom about science nerds. If you don’t know by now, you are hopeless. (Penny…Penny…Penny…)
Here She Comes:
I was led to my table by a woman closely resembling Morticia Addams, something that I thoroughly enjoyed. She ushered me into a booth, after a quick hug and grope of an unmentionable spot below the waist on my flipside. (I bet you didn’t think you’d have to do so much “figuring out” in one of my blog entries, did you?)
Boy, they sure are friendly around here, I thought. I had no idea how friendly.
The server approached the table, pad in hand. She was sporting a bouffant hairdo (I might or might not be making this up for effect) and a little too much perfume.
“Hi, I am Betty,” she said, “And I am here to take care of you today.”
“Hi, I am an agoraphobic and I am here to eat something that won’t make me sick.” (Okay, I didn’t really say that, but that’s what goes through my head every time I eat out.)
Betty handed me a menu the size of my college chemistry textbook. “You’ll probably need a few minutes to read this, darlin’,” she said, tenderly massaging my shoulder. “I’ll be back in about a half hour. Care for a drink to loosin’ ya up in the meantime?”
I declined. The massage was enough.
Luckily, I didn’t have to read through the entire menu or the inserts, pamphlets or accompanying flyers. I knew what I wanted, and was able to flag Betty down, prying her away from fondling one of her other gentleman customers. I ordered a veggie burger and salad (gotta love them veggies!) and prayed for the best. After smooching for a few minutes, Betty went into the kitchen and placed my order.
(Those aren’t the real photos of what I had, just artistic license.)
My food was served promptly. I sunk my fork into the salad and prepared to draw it to my mouth.
“How’s everything so far, sweetie pie? You like your food?” Betty asked.
“Well, I haven’t actually had any yet,” I explained.”
“No problem, sugar,” she replied. “Eat up – enjoy!
Betty disappeared for a few seconds, but Morticia came back, staring at me with every step she took. Back and forth, from table to table, looking at me the whole time.
Maybe I look familiar, I thought. Or maybe I resemble Gomez – or Lurch – or – oh no, please not Uncle Fester! I sucked in my gut and tried to look skinny for the next time she passed my table.
The two women took turns hovering over me. If it wasn’t one, it was the other. Morticia’s steps became more flirtatious: a subtle hip toss, or a flip of her long, black hair. Betty became outright touchy-feely.
“Oh, look, darlin’, you got some salad dressing on your lip, she said, brushing it off with a napkin.
I politely thanked her and tried to eat faster. There was no telling what was next. And then it happened: I finished my meal and Betty dangled the dreaded dessert menu in front of my eyes.
“Gotta have dessert, sugar, we make the best in town,” Betty explained.
The pictures jumped off the menu and entered my brain, rendering it useless. And then I saw it: my weakness, the dessert I simply cannot resist – tiramisu! Luscious layers of rich Mascarpone cheese, cream and custard interlaced between ladyfingers. I was doomed.
I placed my order and prepared to stop off at a men’s clothing store after the meal to purchase a larger size pants. When it arrived, I went into shock.
The piece was roughly half the size of New Jersey and a lot tastier. And, try as I might, I had a hard time finishing it – despite Betty’s feeding me forkful after forkful while seated in my lap.
Finally, my plate was clean. I would be allowed to leave. I asked for the check while Morticia blew me kisses from the bar. Betty returned, cleaned my face with several moistened towelettes, and applied a soothing lotion to my cheek. We parted ways, and I paid for my meal, leaving a tip of 75 %.
All in all, it was a memorable day, especially for someone who shies away from physical contact. I will say one thing, though: I am certainly glad that I didn’t have to use the restroom while I was there!