Friday, February 15, 2013

the twilight zone

I absolutely love to eat out.
I'm the person that always leaves a good tip, loves to smile at the waiter or waitress, oohs and aahs at every tasty thing, and looks forward eagerly to the next stage of the meal, particularly the finishing cup of coffee with cream and sugar.
I don't have bad times at restaurants. I just don't. I always enjoy it. I know what to expect, I know how the system's all pretty standard and I know what I like to eat, so I'm hardly ever disappointed.
Since moving to Virginia, we've had a great time experimenting with new places. We haven't loved and raved about every single one, but for the most part, we really enjoy the restaurants we've been to.
I think I've only written one bad review on this blog.

Well, buckle up, sailor, because you're about to enter...

It all started on one eerie Thursday night. It happened to be Valentine's Day, which would have explained the fancy way we were dressed, and all the pink and red being worn.
The amazing dress was bought weeks in advance, the anticipation for being worn growing with each passing day. The suit and tie was worn from morning to date -- one of the perks of being in law school and dressing up every day, there's no need for an outfit change for a fancy date night.

The drive: 19.9 miles, approximately 30 minutes.


Reservations had been made in anticipation for this night, and nothing could go wrong.
Reviews were raving, main street was hopping, bedford was charming and the restaurant was darling.
All the proper ingredients for an evening of romance.

Flowers adorned our corner table, and the other chairs throughout the restaurant were decorated with smiling people paired off in sweet couples or laughing in large groups.

7:15 - We sat on the same side of the table, the booth side.
Maybe that's where we went wrong.
Maybe, in the Big Book of Restaurant Voodoo, a curse befalls those who cuddle.
We'll never really know.

The restaurant was chatty and loud and clinking, so we sat side by side, perusing the menu and whispering sweet nothings. Like, "Cake". And "Creme Brulee".

7:22 - A woman arrives. She looks innocent enough. She informs us that she is not our waitress, but would love to take our drink order.
Water for me, cola for him.
7:30 - Our true waitress presents herself, helping us decide what to eat and how to decide between which steak and which seafood dish. She's quiet. Her eyes whisper evil. We order.
Appetizers: wedge salad for me, crab mac & cheese for him/us.
Entrees: salmon for me, steak for him.

A Valentine's Day card, for him:
And then the prince and the princess rode off into the sunset,
stopped at Ye Olde Pizza Shoppe on the way to the castle...
...and spent the evening in their leisure cloaks,
snuggling on the royal sofa and watching movies on the imperial flat screen.
Ours is my favorite fairy tale.
7:40 - The table to our left becomes occupied, with a sweet and rich-looking couple. They're visited by a neighboring couple, and the wife is wearing a fur coat. They mention their daughter lives in San Francisco and is working for Google. They're fancy. The table to our right seats a group of four, they receive their entrees.
A neighboring waitress notices our drinks are gone, offers to get us refills and more bread.
Bread? What bread? our stomachs cry.
Refills and smiles arrive for the tables to our right and left.

8:00 - The salad and mac & cheese arrive. Delightful. We scarf them down with reckless abandon.
Tables around us empty; the table to our left receives their appetizers.
We ask a next-door waitress for refills.

8:10 - Our waitress returns, just as we've forgotten her face. We introduce ourselves.
We ask her for more bread. She nods, avoiding eye contact.
Our food will be out shortly.

8:20 - We get more bread. The sweet nothings are becoming less pleasant. Like "Vegan cake", and "Sugarless pudding".
The table to our left receives their entrees.

8:30 - The table to our right is enjoying their desserts and wine.

8:45 - We make awkward eye contact multiple times with our waitress, who hasn't come across the invisible line in the middle of the restaurant for half an hour.
We start to realize she's cast some spell on us - we are invisible and unable to communicate with anyone around us.
This is confirmed as the man next to us drunkenly yells, "where'd that weird young couple go!"
Or maybe that was just my imagination.
The table to our left receives their desserts and fresh coffee with cream and sugar.

8:50 - Dusty's eyes start to bulge and his wisdom-teethless cheeks look angry. I try to calm him down but all I can say is, "Bullion cubes", which aren't even sweet at all.

9:00 - A strange, gangly bus boy comes to our table. "Just to make sure - you guys have not received your food, correct?"
Dusty's imagination is running violently amuck and can be seen clearly through his eyeballs and I have to quickly answer, "No!" before he says anything.
The table to our left is now empty.

9:10 - Dusty fights his way across the cursed restaurant barrier, pushing back a troll and smiting a flock of fairies before he reaches the dungeon keeper, victorious.
He lets her know we would like to leave. We do not want our food, we just want to go home.
NEVER! she shouts, Dusty does a counter-spell, she softens, and says, yes. Yes. We will box up your food.
No, we don't want it. Dusty shakes his head. We just want to go home.
It's a busy night, the kitchen is backed up...
Righteous indignation flashes, No. No, it's not. We've seen successful eating, drinking, and happily leaving all evening. Particularly with that blasted table to our left. Do not lie to me.
She breaks down.
Take it all, all for free. 

9:30 - We pull out of the parking lot, cold and feeling weird. The Twilight Zone. 

I still have no explanations for any of the night's events. I'd like to think we were somehow invisible, that there must have been some kind of was one of the strangest experiences of my life.
We were just flat-out ignored all night long. We were exhausted and totally bummed out.
Luckily, the owner handled it well...she admitted that she had no good excuse, and that sometimes things just didn't go right. She gave us our food boxed up, and comped the entire meal. She even threw in a $25 gift card.

On the way home, we sang together, ran through McDonald's for cookies and shakes, and cuddled up at home.
Overall, I can't complain too much. It may have been a kind of wasted evening but I still have an amazing husband who makes even bad adventures a heck-of-a-lot better. :)

And I got to wear the anticipated dress.

We're planning on getting dressed up again, same outfits, and going out to a local restaurant for another fun dinner this weekend.
And meanwhile, I got to feel super fancy at work today with my salmon and potatoes for lunch!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!
How was your night??

In love,

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