Thursday, August 6, 2009

Satisfying moment

Kelley and I had lunch in an old haunt yesterday. Julia's is a Wallingford (a Seattle neighbourhood) institution. It's a Very Worthy place, where all the rice is brown, all the chairs are rickety, and most of the shoes are made of natural fibres which have never been near any kind of animal. Every few years they go through a Menu Change, and perform the kind of interesting internal remake that brings in different customers to order different food items but which doesn't involve actual change. It's an alchemical mystery. (Warning: never go to Julia's if you're in a hurry. There are only two servers, one butch and one femme, for a place with at least 50 covers. This is the place where that famous saying was born: Seattle--if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes; if you don't like the service, wait ten minutes...)

But K and I have been going there since we bought a house in Wallingford in 1995 and about once a month we pootle over and drink tea, eat something egregiously healthy, and spend two unhurried hours talking about something utterly pointless but amusing. (Yesterday it was celebrities: how long does it take to change one's image these days?) This time, though, the New Set of customers included a group of 30-something parents with 3 utterly vile children. The parents were all flirting with each other and egging said children on to truly astonishing heights of volume and physical foolishness. One 3-year old in particular had a shriek like a cheese wire. Then two of the brood (one, thankfully, wasn't yet at the independent mobility stage) started chasing each other around the table.

Our overworked server had just given us our food (I had ginger cashew stir fry; very nice, too) when one of the 30-somethings snapped her fingers. Our server, a sturdy woman of a certain age, turned anxiously, hurriedly...and trundled right over the 3-year-old. Crush, grind, thump. Shocked silence. Followed by the exit of the entire party. No one actually cheered but we all wanted to. I suspect I wasn't the only person to give the server an extra large tip. The only thing that would have been more satisfying was if she'd managed to fling a tureen of boiling soup over the wholly tedious parents. Next time...

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