Saturday, June 10, 2006


"So what happened to you recently, Eleanor, that has you all worked up?" that you ask... It's restaurants that don't serve toast. Two slices of your plain, ordinary, run-of-the-mill toast.

I mean - is it a lot to ask?

Remember the film "Five Easy Pieces" when Jack Nicholson asks the waitress for toast and they have a short but oh so memorable discourse as to what she could do with her solution to the issue? I know where he was coming from!

It's 8 o'clock in the morning at a delicatessen style restaurant located in a major Lost Wages casino. Being that I'm not a big breakfast eater (not a good thing to be in a city that believes in over-size everything), I stick to toast and tea. Look up at the menu, spot toast and relate my order to the waitress. She stares back at me and there is this over-whelming sense that this simple word "toast" is gonna present a problem.

"Toast?" she responds as if it's a dirty word.

"Toast" I reply, "with strawberry jam but if you don't have strawberry, I'll settle for what you have."

"You just can't have toast," she tells me, matter-of-factly, as if she's used to telling people this for years.

"Why not?" I ask, wondering if they've run out of bread.

"Just toast?" she repeats again, as if she could have misunderstood the nature of my request.

"Just toast!" I emphasize the 'toast' for her edification.

"We don't serve just toast," she finally confesses.

I glance again at the menu. She turns to look at the menu.

"Says 'toast' right up there. See? Right next to the two eggs, bacon and sausages. Clear as day. Toast! That's what I want. And jam of course. Oh and with two pats of butter - or magarine."

There is silence between us for approximately five seconds as we stare at each other. It's a scene out of a western movie where the camera shows an extreme close up of eyes, squinting, in an attempt to indicate the internal resolve of the two gun fighters to win.

"You can't order toast," she says softly. "My boss told us we can't serve that anymore..."

"And why not?" I jump in.

"You hav'ta order a meal," she finally explains, like it's a big load off her mind. "Why don't you order the two egg any style special that comes with toast?"

"But I don't want eggs!" I state matter-of-factly, through clenched teeth. "All I want is two slices of white toast...lightly browned, with two pats of butter and jam. Period!"

There is yet another five seconds of silence between us.

" can always leave the eggs!" she suggests, as if she's come up with the perfect and logical solution to end world hunger.

There was a sense of defeat knowing that the waitress was just following her bosses orders and had no intention of disobeying them for me or anyone else. So I ordered a bagel---black seed, lightly-toasted with three pats of butter.

It's like life and whether or not you see the bagel or the hole - and picking black seeds out of your teeth all day.

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