Thoughts with Richard Bleil
There are days where nothing goes right. Everything seems jinxed, everybody seems like a jerk and you can’t help but wonder if the whole world is against you. Most days are just normal. There is a balance of good and bad, and it is easy to just fade unnoticed into the crowd. Then there are days like today.
Today was a pretty good day. I have no idea why. The stars aligned and the fates smiled upon me and whatever it was, it was pretty good. Maybe I had my mojo on just because it’s a beautiful spring day, with warm but not hot temperatures and lovely blue sunny skies. In six more days (as of the writing of this post, three days if it posts as scheduled) a very good friend of mine will be visiting. I met her online in the mid- to late-nineties, but we’ve never actually met in person. None the less, she’s one of those friends too distant for hanging out (about half a nation away which is not much if you live in Luxembourg, but is quite far here in the continental United States), but we have been very open with each other and developed one of the important friendships in my life. She will be staying with me for about a week, so the question becomes where to put her.
I do have a guest bedroom, which to date has yet to actually be used, and my master bedroom. She’s too good of a friend to make her stay in the guest bedroom, so I’ve decided to put her in the master bedroom with my ten thousand dollar bed and I’ll sleep on the sixty dollar mattress in the guest bedroom. Oh, yeah, that’ll work. But the thing is, I only have one set of sheets in the master bedroom, and they’re a few years old and will turn the wash-water a putrid gray when I wash them for the third time. So I stepped out to buy her a new set of sheets, but because it’s a very special bed, the only sheets that will fit are the ones from the original store. So, yeah, they’re spendy.
As is my habit, I went out rather late in the afternoon, and skipped eating prior. After dropping way too much money on the sheets, priced so high that I was given a free gift of a 10-kt gold Rolex watch with purchase, I decided that it was time to eat. Unbeknownst to me, one of my favorite national Italian food chain was nearby.
Walking in, I told the hostess that I decided to eat there despite the fact that, according to an article I read, they have the absolute worst hamburgers the author has ever had. She chuckled, asking, “do we even serve hamburgers?” It was the response I had hoped for, but wasn’t guaranteed since you never really know how somebody will respond to a comment about their restaurant being the worst. I quickly explained that, yes, I was serious about reading the review from an author trying to seem edgy and confrontational by writing about popular restaurants among the boomers, and we both had a good laugh about how the author clearly didn’t know how to order.
At the table, I was still in a good mood, and told the waitress that the last time I ate at this decidedly Italian restaurant, they had the worst Chinese food I had ever tasted. She, fortunately, laughed as well, responding that she hopes they have terrible Chinese food, but great Italian food. I think I made the day of at least a couple of people working there as, fortunately, they didn’t take me seriously at all (which I was trying to be obvious about the fact that they shouldn’t take me seriously).
At the end of the meal, the server asked me if there was anything else. I asked for a to-go box for my dessert (an amazing layered “lasagna” style dessert with thin layers of cheesecake and brownie), and if she could put the bill of an elderly couple near me on my bill. I must have caught her off-guard, and she thanked me for offering. Interestingly, adding their tab to my own only doubled the tab, and I added a hefty (33%) tip to the entire bill. She seemed so excited that I had done that, and asked when she should tell them. I replied saying, “meh, when they notice it.” Of course, I was gone before they got their bill of zero. And just in case they didn’t think to leave a tip for this act of kindness I added the aforementioned tip as well. If they did decide to leave something for the server, then the server wins as well.
I’m guessing the people working there were talking about me. I was just in my groove and felt a connection when I was there. As I was leaving, one of the hostesses asked if I had received a mint. I said no, so she grabbed the very nice chocolate mints they distribute there and said, “you can take a whole handful if you want!” That’s not something you hear often, but I just took one and asked them if they knew why mints were often served. One of the three or four people seeing me off guessed breath, which I’m sure is a secondary reason, but I got to tell them that mint is a natural remedy for upset stomach, so guests don’t leave the restaurant complaining.
I don’t know what I did to deserve it, but it was just a pretty good day.