I turned 31 on Monday.
The day was pretty laid back, which is extremely enjoyable for me. My mom brought a birthday pie, took us out to lunch, and colored in coloring books with me and the kids. I heard the birthday song more times than I cared to count, because my kids love singing it.
It was my birthday, so I allowed the kids to sit on the table so they could get into their coloring. No rules on mom’s birthday.
Then, I further enjoyed my birthday by letting my kids watch more TV than is probably good for them while I folded the entire backlog of clean laundry. We are allowed to break the rules on or birthdays, why not include rebeling by doing housework? Honestly, I folded non stop for 3 hours. The peace of mind I felt afterward was my birthday present to me.
By the time I was done, it was almost dinner, so I asked Ben if he could cook. Little did I know he had called a sitter and was taking me out.
This is where my day got extra interesting.
Ben took me to Brick 29 Bistro. Neither of us had been before, so our waiter told us a bit about it. The big deal was that their menu features all locally sourced ingredients.
As I listened, my mind took a temporary vacation to a memory of an episode of the comedy Portlandia*. In the episode, a couple visits a local foods restaurant, where they proceed to ask about the restaurant’s menu, where the chicken was from, what the chicken’s name was, and so on. This memory made me smile.
Then, our waiter began to tell us about the evening’s specials, starting with “Hawaiian black striped marlin”… I smiled politely as my mind tried to wrap around something from Hawaii being local. It’s not that it bothered me; I just found it kind of ironic.
He finished telling us the specials and asked, “Any questions?”
“Yes,” replied Ben, stealing me away from Ashley World, “Did you catch the marlin in Lake Lowell?” (For non-locals, Lake Lowell is rumored to have been toxic. Just a rumor- one that everybody believes. It may or may not be toxic now.)
At first, I couldn’t believe that Ben said what I was thinking. But then I believed it because the waiter blushed and backtracked to say that some things can’t be local. What a sweetheart. We all had a pretty good laugh, and Ben asked a few more questions about the menu, such as “Where do you get your eggs?”. Seriously, you guys. I felt like I was living the Portlandia episode.
We ordered some fries covered with swiss fondue as an appetizer. They were the best fries I have ever eaten. Ever. Have you ever had a really strong craving for something, but you couldn’t put your finger on what it was? The B29 Fries are what. Yes, EVER.
Then, our waiter brought out our soup and salad. The only problem was…it was the wrong soup. I ordered mushroom bisque, but he brought out pumpkin bisque. I’m not entirely fond of pumpkin or squash soup. I find them too sweet most of the time. Sometimes they are good, but I suppose I am finicky. I prefer salty and savory to sweet and spicy. I tried it anyway, because I do not like to cause conflict. I figured that if it was something I could enjoy, I would just eat it. But, no, it was not to my liking.
Ben noticed right away that the soup bothered me. “Wrong soup?”
“Yes,” I replied. He tried it, and said it was delicious, of course. But he insisted I ask the waiter to take it back. Thus began a fierce internal dialogue about not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, wondering if I had accidently ordered the pumpkin bisque or hadn’t spoken loud enough to be heard. I imagined the waiter thinking that I am too uptight and hard to please because I wouldn’t eat the wrong soup. I wondered if they were out of mushroom bisque, and they were hoping I wouldn’t notice the difference. I wondered all this and more, while wishing for more fries. You guys, my mind is a million worlds, and most of them are hypothetical. All of them are silly.
As I wrestled silently with this soup dilemma, Ben finished his salad. Now there was no turning back. My mind jumped to the fact that our waiter would notice Ben had inhaled his salad, but my soup was mostly untouched. This hypothetical situation turned out to be true, because no sooner was he done, than our waiter walked up with our entrees and looked quizzically at my full cup of soup.
“Did you not like it?”
I told the whole truth, including that I am a social pariah because of my dislike for almost all pumpkin dishes and beverages. I made more excuses, such as “I probably spoke too quietly”, and I assured him that Ben thought the soup was delicious. I really wanted the mushroom bisque. And he assured me that he must have written it down wrong, and that he would get me the correct soup.
And everything was ok.
But, I’ve been thinking about that incident ever since getting my mushroom bisque (which was amazing, and well worth asking for it again).
Why was it so hard for me to ask the waiter to correct the mistake? Why did I feel that I had to help make excuses for why the order was wrong? I have worked in food businesses before, and I never felt slighted when patrons asked nicely for something different. I say “nicely”, because some people are rude when their order isn’t exactly what they wanted. And I know that I am not rude, so the waiter had nothing to worry about. I also know that mistakes happen, and it isn’t always the waiter’s fault.
I don’t know the answer to those two questions, and honestly, I’m not sure it matters. I got the correct soup. I enjoyed the Bistro Chicken with creamy bourbon sauce and crispy polenta, and I have since been dreaming about the B29 fries.
Also, my husband made me laugh on my birthday, which is the best gift by far.
*In case you want to know what I’m talking about, here is the episode of Portlandia .