Posts Tagged magnolia_cafe

Hello, Professor.

I was eating dinner at Magnolia Cafe during South by Southwest this last March, when I was accosted by two youthful grown women seated in a booth, across the aisle from my table.

“Excuse me,” said the woman on my left. “Are you a professor?”

I immediately knew why she had asked (and was pleased by it), but I said, “What makes you ask that?”

“Because you looked: ” she began, and then launched into a mimed imitation of me, as I look when sitting in contemplation. It was instantly recognizable as me — all of my good friends would have laughed out loud to see it — which pleased me more. She went on to describe this look of focused, “very earnest concentration” that struck her as “scholarly.”

I smiled and said, “No, I’m not actually a professor, but I get why you would make that impression.”

For further study
Professor: One who professes.

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lunchtime score

So I went out to get some lunch today, and I was having trouble deciding what to get. I thought maybe I’d get some enchiladas, but I wasn’t sure. The garden enchiladas sounded good, though — basically spinach filled enchiladas with some onions and red bell peppers and other stuff. I’ve never ordered them because they’re a little pricey for me. So I argued with myself, thinking, gee, the cheese enchiladas are $1.50 cheaper… or I could get a turkey sandwich, that’s even less than the cheese enchiladas…

Then I realized I was just hemming and hawing over price. Okay, I told myself. If you really want the garden enchiladas, get those, but just make sure they’re what you want to eat. But don’t get a sandwich or cheese enchiladas just because they’re cheaper if you don’t want to eat those.

Okay, okay, me, I said to myself. I’ll order the garden enchiladas. Fine.

“Hey dude, whatcha need?” Uh oh, it’s the waiter who always says “hey dude” to me. It always puts me off for some reason even though I go to this place because it is laid back and informal. Maybe he’s a little too informal, I dunno. I order the garden enchiladas and some coffee and he rushes off.

Dissolve to: later in the meal.

I’m partway through eating these spinach enchiladas and something doesn’t seem quite right. I spread one open and realize there’s no spinach in them. I flag the waiter down. “Whatcha need, man?” he says. I say, “Hey, isn’t there supposed to be spinach in these?” He looks at the plate. “Oh, is there spinach in the garden enchiladas?” he asks rhetorically. “I’ll have to check.” He leaves my table. I see him grab a menu and look up the garden enchiladas, and I watch as a funny reaction crosses his face as he reads the first words of the description: “Spinach-filled…”

He disappears into the kitchen for half a minute and comes rushing back. “Hey dude,” he says. “Yeah, uh, do you want them re-done, or do you want a side order of steamed spinach, or what do you want?” I was hoping maybe for a discount, but somehow I end up shrugging and saying, “Oh, a side order, I guess. Whatever.” So he nods and rushes off. Another reminder that I need to work on my negotiating skills.

In the interval, a waitress comes by with a coffee pot and we both regard my half-filled coffee mug. “Would you like more coffee?” she asks. “Yes, please!” I say.

A minute later, the waiter is back again with the side order of wet spinach leaves in a little bowl. “Hey man,” he says. “Ah, we’re gonna give you half off the price on the whole order, is that okay?”

“Sure, okay, cool,” I say. Score!

All that debating I did before ordering about whether to order by price or by what I wanted seems to have worked out extra-well after all. I’m not sure there’s any lesson to be learned from this or not. But I chose wisely today, it seems.

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