Last Friday night, Army Boy and I had the brilliant idea of having a nice date night before my weekend of craziness/rehearsals/concerts began. Though I was actually feeling like staying in and enjoying the little bit of time we’d get together before things got hectic, I didn’t want to be a drag and agreed that dinner out sounded like a good idea. We decided that some restaurant-variety Italian food was in order (Lobster ravioli, anyone?) and that Carrabba’s could fill that requirement.
Before we left the house, I made sure to “call ahead” to get our name on the waiting list, because I am nothing if not proactive and Type A. I should have seen the trouble coming at that call, however.
“Thank you for calling Carrabba’s, how can I help you?” answered a harried sounding voice.
“Yes, I’d like to put my name in for call ahead seating,” I replied in my best, most authoritative, don’t-screw-with-me-phone-minion voice.
“Name and number in your party?”
“Army Boy, and there are 2 of us”. (Not for real, yo. I gave a legitimate name.)
“And what time will you be joining us?” asked as if it were the question she cared to know the answer to even less than “And how many women is Tiger Woods up to at this point?”.
“6:45.” *hears papers shuffling in the background*
“Um, we’re totally booked for 6:45, but if you call ahead for 7 you should have no problem,” she suggested.
I thought for a minute, and said “sure, that’s fine. Go ahead and put us down for 7.”
Mission accomplished, we headed out the door and arrived at the restaurant promptly at 7pm.
Only to find that the waiting area was completely packed with people, and overflowing into the actual seating area of the restaurant. Which, trying to shield my soup from someone’s coat? Not so cool.
When we finally made our way to the hostess’ desk, we were handed a pager and told “That will be a 30 minute wait.”
Wait, what? Why did I call ahead half an hour ago to get here and wait for half an hour?? I thought that system was supposed to take care of waitage?
To add insult to, well, more insult, a woman leaned over to us and said “It will probably be more like an hour… They’ve barely seated anyone since I got here at 6:30.” Army Boy and I exchanged glances, looked at the ridiculously crowded restaurant, read each other’s minds, and I handed him the pager. I thanked the other patron for her tip, and we made our escape.
As it was 23 degrees with a windchill in the single digits, we quickly changed our plans and walked across the shopping center to the nearest restaurant, an “Outback Steakhouse.” Not really what we were in the mood for, but it was food, it was close, and we were hungry.
A super-perky young lady greeted us at the door, barely giving us time to catch our breath, with a clipboard and asking if we’d called ahead. I managed to refrain from a bitchy reply, and let her know we hadn’t, and we were advised there would be an hour wait.
Again with the mind-reading, again with the “no thanks,” again with the walking out into the cold.
We got to my car, and there across the road, burning like a beacon of warmth was the sign for a Thai restaurant that we’d kept wanting to try. Figuring “Carpe Diem” and all that jazz, we drove over and gave our name. We were told there would only be a fifteen minute wait, which sounded pretty decent. At this point, it was 7:30, half an hour after our “original” seating time at Carrabba’s.
I was seated across from Army Boy in the dim waiting area of the Thai restaurant, and could feel him studying me.
“Do you just want to leave?” he asked quietly. I turned and looked at him pathetically. “I mean it. I know you were tired, and not really in the mood to go out.”
“But-“ I tried to rationalize (always a mistake. Silly silly girl.) “We’re here. And we want to try this restaurant, so we’re being adventurous-“
“Are you really in the mood for Thai tonite?” he gently replied.
“Are you kinda hoping that our name will get called and you won’t have to make the decision whether to leave the third restaurant in half an hour and head home with no dinner?”
I STARED at him. “How did you DO that?!”
“Read my freakin’ mind?!”
“Do you really feel like calling Jorge’s for a pizza and eating it at home in my bed while watching ‘Planet Earth’?” he deflected the question expertly and replied with one of his own.
“Hell YES,” I answered, buttoning my coat and heading for the door.
Half an hour later, at 8pm, the two of us were in pajama pants, sitting on his bed with beer, Pepperoni and Sausage pizza and watching the first disc of ‘Planet Earth’ on Blu- Ray.
And that is exactly how I wanted to spend my Friday night.