Friday, March 9, 2012

How to be fancy in flannel

This evening there was a trivia contest at our school to raise money for scholarships. I wasn't going to go even though I love trivia as I went last year and got in a fight with one of my team members. But at the end of the day I was asked to join a team of mostly teachers and I decided to do it. What the hell, right?

We came in second even though I danced/strutted my way to turn in the answer "Jim Lovell" but that's not the important part. The important part is that our team of 5 adults and 3 students won a $25 gift card that we could use, we were told, two restaurants. The adults left Molly, Brooke, and I with the gift card. We knew that one of the restaurants was really fancy and expensive and across the river so we decided to go to the other one then.

This is when the adventure really starts. We weren't sure exactly where the restaurant was. We discovered that we had driven past it so Molly pulled over to the side of the road to look it up on her GPS. While Molly was doing that, I noticed that a man in the house we were outside of was brushing his hands over the blinds so we couldn't see through the window, peeking out at us, and dragging his friend over to watch. I pointed this out and we drove around the block to a safer location.

So we now knew where we were going but still missed the restaurant a bit because we were distracted by "Badger Street". We parked in a convenience store parking lot which may have been considered loitering. The people in the car next to us seemed to be having a really good time (nudge nudge, wink wink.) The streets weren't that busy so Molly decided to run across the crosswalk when the glowing red hand was telling us to stop. I ran after her. Brooke got stuck on the other side. Panting and laughing and out of breath we entered. . . an extremely fancy Mediterranean restaurant. Molly and I were in flannel and Brooke was in a loose t-shirt. I also happened to be wearing an 8 year-old hunting jacket. The hostess was a little flustered but with excellent grace she led 3 laughing and under-dressed teenagers into a room filled with couples and fancy people.

We were a little awkward in our disarray and everything at first but we had a lovely time. Brooke got kind of stuck in the  bathroom but got out quickly. We had dessert and it was delicious. Brooke's rich aunt had taught her proper etiquette so she bestowed her wisdom upon Molly and I. We had lovely conversation which included me asking "Wait, can I say 'bitch' in a fancy restaurant?" and "Can I say 'litter box' here?" We had plenty of water as a very cute boy kept filling our glasses. When Brooke told us to put our napkins on the table to show we were done, our waitress came over and took our check. She noticed that the name of the other restaurant (which was owned by the same people who owned the one we were in) was on the gift card. And as it turned out they wouldn't accept the gift card.

At this point the waitress' maternal instincts took over and she asked us if we had money and was very apologetic and understanding. We had enough to pay for the 3 desserts we had ($22.68!!!!!!!!!!) and didn't have to pay off our debt in the kitchen but it was close. While we were sorting out the money I filled out the "tell us about your experience" card. I said that the food was great and it was very nice of them to not turn us away because of our flannel. I suggested that they make the gift cards usable at either restaurant or get envelopes that don't have both the names on them. I said that the staff was very kind and the water-boy extremely attractive. Then I wrote my name and phone number on the card with a smiley face and casually dropped it on the floor as we walked out the door. I'll tell you if anything comes of it.

And that, my friends, is how I wound up in flannel and a hunting jacket eating crème brûlée that I thought was paid for with two very good friends while rich people were romantic all around us in a room full of wine and dim candlelight and my name and number on a scrap of paper under a table in a Mediterranean restaurant.