14 January 2007

This one's for you, DeAnn...

I cannot discuss restaurant experiences without telling this golden oldie:

This would've taken place, ohhhhh some time in 1989. I was working and toiling in the wilds of Pine Bluff, Ark., and dating a woman whom, I must say, is one of the most interesting, complex and colorful creatures God ever created (and I mean that in a good way). She and I were quite a pair -- a lower-key version of Hamilton & Meg Swan in the 2000 movie Best in Show. Her name was DeAnn (and, yes, that's her real name; it's been nearly 20 years). We were both intense individuals trying to make a relationship work during very stressful times in our lives.

Not surprisingly, we met a high-strung, at times vicious, and overall messy demise. A marked contrast to the anti-climactic, sedate ending of my marriage to Josiebelle in 1997 .... but in retrospect the rollercoaster ride of DeAnn, while taxing of itself, compared favorably to the "It's a Small World" water torture of Josiebelle.

Today, DeAnn and I both are happily married to spouses, both with Job-esque patience levels. She has a very good job in her chosen field, an area where she has fantastic ability and passion. And, like me, she is a "pet parent" to a beautiful dog. Her name is Lucy. The Christmas card they sent is a treasure -- Lucy's frolicking in the snow and her face says it all: that sweet girl is having the time of her life.

"Snow." That's allegedly a white powder-like frozen form of precipitation which accumulates on ground surfaces when the temperature drops to a certain level. At least that's according to Wikipedia. But you know they can often times be inaccurate. Hmph, the last time we had a few flurries here in Savannah ('03, maybe?), the whole damned city screeched to a halt and gazed in wonder.

(Our Deep South-born and bred PUDDY saw her first snowfall in 2002 when we went to the north Georgia mountains for a couple of days. It'd snowed about an inch the night before and when Puddy went out on the deck of our cabin, that poor girl didn't know what to think!!)

But I digress. Back to the whole point of this post. After nearly two decades, the name DeAnn lives on. In my life, she has become about the only person to have made the jump from NOUN to VERB. Let me 'splain: One evening DeAnn and I drove to Little Rock, and had dinner at Red Lobster. One of RL's trademark devices is the pepper mill, which servers carry on their person to put fresh-ground pepper on diners' salads, or what have you.

Well, DeAnn was waiting for some pepper for her salad, which they didn't bring. She was getting nearly as testy as Talmadge when he's waiting for a Coke refill at Golden Corral ... but DeAnn took matters into her own hands. My then-girlfriend got up from our table, and barged right into the restaurant kitchen to ask for pepper.

Oooooh, to have been able to have seen their faces when she did this. This happened almost 18 years ago, and the Cheshire Cat grin on DeAnn's face when she came back to our table still makes me laugh out loud.

And there you have it. Whenever I am at Golden Corral, Fire Mountain ("Fire-Is-Cool") Grill, or anywhere else, and I'm left with an empty glass and a server nowhere near our zip code, I'll say to Seraphim, "If somebody doesn't come around here with a refill in the next two minutes, so help me I'm gonna get up and DeAnn me some more Coke!!"

One evening at Fire-Is-Cool Grill, just before Christmas, I did exactly that. After waiting forever to get a refill, I got up and went to the fountain at the servers' station and drew me a refill of Coke. Whoooooo, one server was standing nearby and from her reaction you'd have thought I had stood up and yelled "ROACH!!!!!" She third-degree'd me for our server's name and description.

After I sat back down, Seraphim said, in mock indignation, "Did you just DeAnn that glass of Coke??"

But it worked -- our server emerged and from that time on, my Coke glass didn't go near empty for the rest of our visit. And she got her 10% tip -- I figured she'd been tortured enough. :-)

DeAnn, if you see this, happy 2007 to you and yours. Especially Lucy.

Ciao for niao.

--Talmadge "WHERE'S MY DAMNED REFILL??!!" Gleck


Kate/Susan said...

The worst thing we've ever done to a waiter/waitress is ask for the manager... And I always feel lousy about that. You may be my new hero... All that AND a 10% tip? Wow.

nettiemac said...

I would have also wondered where the damn ice machine was......

I've gotten up and served myself before too. Sometimes you just gotta.