Yeah, yeah, everybody’s doing it – but my sentence was kind of funny and completely described my day yesterday.
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
From June 15, 2005:
“So, today will be an off day – they have to happen sometime, I suppose.”
Yesterday was definitely an off-day.
First of all, it was my first bad teaching day so far. The exercise I had put together for discussion completely bombed in the first-year class. It involved taking an argument from an article they had read, and then looking for evidence of the argument in the primary sources they had read. I still think it was a great idea. But, it didn’t really work so well. Maybe possibly perhaps none of the students had actually DONE the reading. I hate when that happens. Especially, when I hadn’t exactly read the reading as closely or as carefully as I should have either, and so we all kind of fumbled around in an uncomfortable state of uncomfortableness for most of the class.
Plus, a student was making faces at me. Well, maybe not at me, exactly. But in my general direction. Not surprisingly, this pissed me off. Here’s what happened: Student A had made a really good comment, one of the few of the day, so I was praising him and reiterating what he had said, and I looked over at Student B and he was making little prissy fish-lips-like-talking face to Student C. I couldn’t tell if Student B was mocking me or Student A. Either way, it was bad. But, it happened so fast, I kind of just moved on by. But after class I was talking to my fabulous New Colleague about my off-day, and in the process of telling the story realized exactly how mad I was. I suppose on a day that everything was pretty much going down the toilet in the classroom, a few fish-lippy smacking faces aren’t really all that big of a deal.
Yesterday was also an off day on the dining front as well. Spousal Unit’s dad is in town for the weekend before they head off with Spousal Unit’s college Roommate and his dad for a father/son camping trip next week. SU was very sweet and anxious about taking the time away from me. Which is ridiculous because he knows that I’m a big fan of alone time/vacations – hell, I went to Paris without him a few years ago. I think it is healthy and necessary. Plus, I’m totally psyched that he’s getting time with his Dad and Roommate & Roomate’s dad. But I’m wandering off course here…
Anyway, we went to a fancy French restaurant with Fabulous New Colleage, New Colleague’s Partner, and New Colleague’s out-of-town Friend. It was all going fine, we were all a little shy and awkward, and the wine wasn’t arriving. We were talking, and realized that we had been left alone by the waitstaff for far too long. I had been aware that there was something going on with the two people at the table next to us, and that our waitress was increasingly anxious in dealing with them. I suspect that she had been a waitress all of about 10 minutes. She seemed utterly overwhelmed by the job. Anyway, we flagged her down, and ordered our wine. She was amazingly embarrassed and claimed that there had been some confusion about who was serving us. She was so flustered. But, we were like, no problem — we’re fine, we were talking, etc — to reassure her. So things are going along normally, we get our soups and appetizers. But, the one vegetarian at the table was delivered an appetizer that was sausage and potatoes instead of mushrooms and potatoes. When we asked the waitress about it, she almost started to cry. Which we thought was a little odd, but were willing to let it pass. We all agree to eat it, and the vegetarian said she would just forego her appetizer in the interest of calming the waitress down.
So, meanwhile, we’re all talking, and I notice out of the corner of my eye that at the table next to us, the woman was picking at her slices of meat and flipping them over and over in a disdainful kind of a way. After picking and flipping for a while, she called the waitress over to complain about how the meat had been cooked, poking and flipping the whole time to show the waitress exactly how bad the food was. So she sent it back to the kitchen. Fairly par for the course in any restaurant. People send stuff back all the time, right? I didn’t think anything of it, really, and we all ate our appetizers and got into our conversation. Well, just about the time I asked Fabulous New Colleague to explain his research to me, the people at the next table got their check. And then the shit (or should I say the merde) hit the freaking fan. Apparently, they had been charged for the food that got sent back. Either that, or they had been charged for the other parts of the meal and didn’t think they should have to pay for anything because they had to send something back. It was kind of unclear to me and as I was shamelessly eavesdropping on their conversation with our waitress, I couldn’t exactly make out all of the details. But, still it all of this seemed par for the restaurant course. What was freaky, though, was that suddenly, the Chef comes out to talk to these people about what was wrong with their food. At which point the woman who sent the food back starts insulting him — in French. Apparently, what was wrong with the food was that it was insufficiently French for her native French tastes. The Chef asked what was wrong with the preparation, and I overheard her say “But, you are Not French.” The Chef declared quite loudly that he spoke French, Madame, and that if she wished to continue to insult him in that language, she could feel free to do so. Meanwhile, their voices were elevating, and New Colleague was bravely trying to keep telling his story and we’re doing our damnedest to try to keep listening to him. But, when the man at the next table breaks in with a shout — “Well, you can call the Police on us, but we are not paying for this substandard schlock. (heavy pause) If you want, my wife can repeat that to you in French?” — we all gave up the pretense of conversation in order to listen. What else was there to do, really?
The crazy Chef continued to fight with these crazy people about who had to pay for what and who was insulted and who was not French for a good ten minutes or so. I almost threatened to pay for everyone just to end the whole horrible, uncomfortable tirade. Finally, after what seemed like hours of hostile yelling, the Chef retreated and a thick silence descended over the whole restaurant. Suddenly, the Yelling Man stood up and came over to our table, leaned over me – touching my hand in the process (ew), and said “I’m sorry.” Then, he walked to the next table and apologized to them too — but clearly in a tone that indicated he was not sorry at all. Then, he and his French Wife left. We all heaved huge sighs of relief. New Colleague wryly observed that one would not expect to have the perfect American Hamburger in the hinterlands of France. We all laughed much too loudly and with great gusto in a rushing relief of tension and suddenly, we all felt close to each other for merely having witnessed and survived such a strange scene — like combat soldiers or triage nurses or something. Our slightly cold food was delivered shortly thereafter by our discombobulated waitress with many apologies for the delay, which we assumed was not her fault but was caused by the Chef who, instead of cooking our food, but was yelling at his patrons. I reassured the waitress that we were just fine and that we thought she was doing a great job in an awful situation. She almost cried.
And the worst of it was … the food really wasn’t all that great. But we all smiled, and grinned, and ate every last bit of it, just to prove to ourselves and to everybody there that we were much nicer people than that horrible, shouting couple who clearly dined and ditched.
Yep. A pretty off-day. But, apparently, they happen sometimes.