Open mouth, insert both feet

My buddy Renata from Buffalo Sauce Everywhere and I are up to our old tricks, this time sharing memories from high school, since she graduated so very long ago … you know, 10 years. To read her tales, including how she gamed the rules for a history competition, click here.

Along with customers and staff who are on a first-name basis and being able to walk up to the counter to refill your coffee without law enforcement getting involved, one of the distinguishing features of real, proper diners — as opposed to restaurants that may look like and even call themselves diners, but aren’t — is regular customers hanging out and shooting the breeze.

It also helps if they’re in small towns, like the one where I grew up and where my family has been regulars at various establishments for decades. (Most of the waitresses knew I was going to order a hot turkey sandwich and a large chocolate milk Friday nights before I even said anything.)

My father, in particular, likes to go to breakfast early in the morning, and one day, the group included a classmate of mine. She wasn’t one of their daughters, but I’m pretty sure she was a relative of some kind.

Over whatever everyone was having for breakfast, she decided there were some things she needed to get off her chest.

About me.

And even though we had always been pretty friendly, what she was unburdening herself of were not tributes to my good looks and obvious charm.

Unfortunately for her — and also fairly ironic, since the town where we grew up is the type of place where everyone knows everyone else — she was unaware that her audience included my father.

Well, not until he told her, anyway.

And we were going to be at the same class picnic that weekend.

And she was dating a friend of mine.

Yeah, awkward.

So while I had no desire to draw either real or verbal pistols at 10 paces in Weehawken or at the park… she didn’t know that. 

Which in my devious mind meant I could have a little fun.

I have just a wee bit of a tendency to take things personally, and when properly motivated, I have been known to carry a grudge for approximately … forever.

But when my dad got home from the diner and told me what had happened, I just … didn’t care. If teenagers in the late 1980s dismissively said “Whatever,” that probably would have been my response.

She was good friends with someone who I got along with most of the time, but not always (the reasons for our occasional disagreements having long since passed, I’m sure I’d be delighted to see her today), and I figured they had just gotten together and talked some crap about me.

So while I had no desire to draw either real or verbal pistols at 10 paces in Weehawken or at the park… she didn’t know that.

Which in my devious mind meant I could have a little fun.

She knew.

Both that I knew and what I was up to.

They must have been coming off one of the trails in the park when I saw them, her riding on my buddy’s shoulders. I’ve always been terrible at telling distance, but I’m guessing they were 20 or 30 feet away.

Normally, I would have either walked over and said hello or waited until they came around, but this … this was no normal situation.

So instead I yelled out to her … loudly, perhaps even ostentatiously.

She knew.

Both that I knew and what I was up to.

She avoided me the entire afternoon. Meanwhile, I found the whole thing devilishly amusing.

I may have even laughed — not the devious internal laugh of the weekend before, but the laugh you laugh when you find something genuinely funny.

The thing about going to a school so small that my graduating class was 99 is that you can’t avoid people if you tried … and I tried.

We were always going to run into each other and it was going to be soon. It was probably that next Monday.

She apologized, profusely. I told her it was fine, that I wasn’t upset. I may have even laughed — not the devious internal laugh of the weekend before, but the laugh you laugh when you find something genuinely funny.

Life went on. We got along fine afterward.

2 thoughts on “Open mouth, insert both feet

  1. Pingback: Most Likely to Feel Very Old – Buffalo Sauce Everywhere

  2. Pingback: The week gone by — June 20 – A Silly Place

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