There's this restaurant we like to go to near our house because the food is fine and it's always empty and this face wasn't meant for crowds.

I don't know when that happened, exactly, by the way. The crowd thing. One minute I was 22 and all like THIS LOOKS FUN

and then the next thing I knew I was 34 and refusing to go inside sandwich shops if there was even one person waiting in a line.

You guys. I would rather starve than wait for one minute in any line anywhere on this planet.

Last year I was in New York with my friend Corey who lives there and let me tell you something about New York. It has a lot of people. And the people are everywhere. She wanted to go to an ice cream place she likes but when we got there I saw that the interior was so packed with people that, well, it looked like a wave pool in China.

So I immediately assumed that there was no way in hell we were even going to consider going inside because I'm not kidding about giving up on sandwich shops if there is a single person already waiting in line. But before I could say anything, Corey was literally sliding into the crowd with both arms in the air, yelling to the people behind the counter that we needed ice cream.

I respected the commitment to sugar and fat, but also WTF.

The point is, I've changed. I rate restaurants almost based solely on whether there are people inside of them. I don't even care about food quality anymore. I'm basically one decade away from being everyone's parents who are on a first-name basis with The Olive Garden staff.

Skylar is on the opposite end of the spectrum because he's 16 years old and avails from Portland where they only eat avocado toast if it's been to a rain forest you've never heard of first. When we're picking a restaurant, Skylar googles "cafe that serves a speck of food for $1200."

The reason we started going to the place mentioned above where there's not a lot of people but the food is fine is because it felt like a compromise. The food was fine enough for Skylar, and the restaurant sufficiently exotic that he didn't feel like he belonged to a retirement community by going with me to it.


We might have to stop going there because there's a man who is ruining everything.

He's a waiter, and he's always working and we somehow always get him.

And he does this thing that feels like it should be unconstitutional.

Look, I don't mind when waiters try to upsell. They should do that. I support waiters. I love waiters. Go waiters. Skip to the table and say "did we save some room for dessert?!" with a winky tone of "let me enable this guilty indulgence for you." I applaud your efforts.

But this particular waiter doesn't do that.

He tries to sneak stuff in. We'll order food and then instead of saying something like "would you like to order a side of fries for that as well?" which obviously yes. But instead of saying that, he'll go "sounds good, and I'll bring you some fries with that as well ok what else would you like?"

Did you notice how I didn't even use punctuation there? That's because I wanted you to read it like he says it, with no pause. Yes, I'm a very good writer.

The first time he did that, Skylar asked, "wait, do the fries cost extra?" and the guy was like "yeah, a bit ok what else would you like?"


So Skylar jumped back in and was like, "then I don't want the fries."






But we had to not order the fries because we couldn't let him get away with that crap.

And he does that several times in each interaction. You have to exercise constant vigilance with him.

Constant. Vigilance. Punctuation.

AND THEN. At the end. When he brings out the check. EVERY SINGLE TIME he ends up charging us anyway for stuff we told him we didn't want so we have to perform a full audit like nerds and then go find him and relive every conversation we had with him so he "remembers" that we rejected every attempt at manipulation.

And I know. People are dying and the polar ice caps are melting and Beyonce and stuff, but I have faith that you guys can multi-task and be mad about this, too.

And that's all I have to say about that!

~It Just Gets Stranger