Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Sunday Brunch Vignette - "A Mr. Scoop Story"
Mr. Scoop used to live across the street from the most fabulous diner. Everyday you could stagger in there unkempt and bleary eyed and get breakfast until noon. The walls were covered in old baseball memorabilia. Somehow, they’d managed to hoist an old wood paneled console TV onto the back counter, the kind with an actual dial to change the channel, for background noise. The breakfast treats involved endless combinations of eggs, meats, pancakes, French toast and coffee. Especially coffee. Mr. Scoop had figured out that if he told the waitress to bring him coffee “every seven minutes until my heart explodes” she would. Cheerfully. Mr. Scoop is an excellent tipper.
To make the place even more inviting to the hangover recovery crowd, on Sundays the place opened up its downstairs restaurant and put forth “All You Can Eat Brunch”. Chafing dishes brimming with scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausage. Bowls of various salad type items. Casseroles full of ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness. Danish and pastries. An omelet station. You can get a ham, mushroom and cheese omelet, mac n’ cheese, and fruit salad all on one plate. And a raspberry Danish. And, did I mention they have coffee?
I must admit that, in my advanced age, I can really no longer do anything labeled “All You Can Eat” full justice. Two rounds and maybe an anemic third plate is generally about all my stomach can handle these days in one visit. Sushi chefs weep with joy when they find this out. But the brunch buffet waits impassively. If you don’t partake, someone else will. And they do. Sometimes, they bring their kids.
The hostess sat Suburban Family #5,923 at a table diagonal from the booth occupied by Mr. Scoop and myself. Mom and Pop collapsed into their chairs weary from the struggle of getting their children in and out of the Sunday church service unmolested. Little Scooter ran up and down the aisles, freed from his burden of “having to be good or else visit the Time Out room in the trunk of the car because it was good enough for Mommy so it will damn well be good enough for you. God is watching.” Little Bambina, the apple of Mom and Pop’s eye because she hasn’t figured out complex speech or object permanence, is restrained in a high chair. This is useful because she can’t get to her diaper to fling poo at the other patrons. Life is good for the moment.
Alas, it would not remain so.
Pop eventually wrangled Scooter into a seat with vague threats and a sort of tag team thing wherein Mom, after Pop got up to get a plate of food, would then put a viselike death grip on Scooter's arm. This was followed by something directed to Scooter in a hissing, almost inaudible voice that may have involved how Mom was going to do terrible things to his Nintendo with a blowtorch, but I can’t be sure. All I know is Scooter settled the hell down. That’s when Bambina made her move.
The sippy cup. Friend to toddlers who want to play grown-up everywhere. Sure, you aren’t quite ready for the joy of Big Boy or Girl undies yet, but you can lose the baby bottle. And it’s unbreakable. You can drop it. And drop it. And drop it. And drop it. And forget it exists every single damn time, but deep in your heart you know that something very valuable has been take from you and this creates a sucking vacuum of sadness and despair. But you have no words to express your grief. You must then cry, nay, howl to the heavens to let every single person in the place know of your loss. Every 45 seconds. For the next half hour.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned publicly the utter hatred and malevolence Mr. Scoop feels towards children. He is quite adamant that we will bring forth no children of our own (however, when pressed, he has said that his first born son will be named Jack Daniels). I knew the meal was about to go sideways when he ordered a bottle of beer from the waitress. When it arrived, I looked at him quizzically. He signaled for me to watch and wait.
He picked up the beer (a cheap one, to be sure) and placed his thumb over the mouth of the bottle. Then he shook it up, all the while gathering intensity of purpose. Then he walked over to Little Bambina and let forth a flurry of beer spray upon the hapless toddler. “It drinks from the sippy cup, or else it gets the hose again!” he cried. That was right before they kicked us out.
So, anyway, it was a cool diner before Mr. Scoop had to move…