You think you know some place and then someone who's never been there before will show you something new and unexpected - like a beach in Alaska.
I met a friend at Mocha at midnight. He was late because he'd spent a toad's infinity in the gym. He'd done something called a benchpress, which strangely enough is a maneuver where you do not not press a bench; several sets of crunches, which again is a cruel term to call something you do to your abdomen; several miles on the treadmill, etc. etc. All this, I was told, after he'd sprinted on the beach. Tardiness was therefore excusable.
'And what did you do?', he asked me in his haloed healthy glow.
'I reached for the remote', I snapped.
It was his first time in Mocha. He looked through the menu and turned up his nose (a very foreboding gesture if done in an eatery or near boss.) Then he told me what most men tell me in restaurants, 'You order for me.'
But before I could, he qualified his request - 'I don't want anything with cheese, cream, or chocolate.' Hmm, interesting - these fitness-shitness types. Let's tour Alaska but let's not go to those areas with ice.
Anyway, by this time the waiter who had emerged like that butler in Adam's Family, took down my swift and yummy order. My friend hemmed and hawed and hemmed some more. Before his next haw, the waiter straightened his posture and asked, 'Anything particular you're looking for, sir?'
My friend repeated, 'No cheese, no cream, no chocolate.' And if that wasn't ridiculous enough, he followed it up with, 'Can I get a salad?'
I was gulping down some water. Embarrassing situations can be rather dehydrating. It was heart-wrenching, though, the way he innocently asked for raw veggies in a place that describes its items 'rich' and 'gooey'.
But what followed stunched me. (Stunch is not a word. I made it up.)
The waiter, as much as his impassive demeanor would allow, leapt to action. Clearly the salad question had touched a chord. In the crowd of decadent clientele asking for calorifically high dishes, here was a man who wanted salad. 'My hero', his glassy eyes seemed to say.
The waiter swept up the menu card, opened to a page on the card menu, pointed to an item, and said, 'I'll get you this salad, sir. It's shredded celery and carrots with a light vinaigrette dressing.'
My friend, now happy that he'll get a gourmet Loony Tune meal, sipped his decaffeinated brew.
I, as mentioned earlier, was stunched. Salad? In Mocha? In my Mocha? In this place I know and love? It's been on the menu all along and yet I'd never seen it before. Truly, love is blind. It sees what it wants to see. And what it doesn't, must be revealed by a stranger. (The stranger in question was now animatedly telling me about back exercises.)
Anyway, we got our orders shortly thereafter. I saw my friend bask in the Alaskan sun.