Friday, January 6, 2012
The date was December 29th and the place was a popular German Village delicatessen. I was meeting my sister and her family for lunch before they headed to northeast Ohio to visit our parents for a couple days before starting the long trek back to Milwaukee. They were coming from Hocking Hills to get there whereas I had to walk a mere block from my office.
While this particular deli is wonderful, I rarely patronize it because it’s always jam packed and I’m not a big fan of sitting so close to the next table that my neighbor could easily snatch a bite of my dill pickle without even stretching out his arm and before I noticed that he’d done so. Nor do I particularly want to hear the strangers at the table next to me discussing the results of Uncle Wilbur’s annual colo-rectal exam.
It’s amazing what some people consider acceptable dinner table talk.
Anyway, since I was so close to the deli, I told my sister that I’d snag a table and wait for them. I thought that perhaps the restaurant might be a little less busy since it was a holiday week and my commute downtown had been surprisingly easy.
What I didn’t realize was that it was a holiday week and all those people who weren’t working were hanging out and eating at places like German Village delicatessens.
I walked into the place and it was, as usual, jam packed. And the line to order was nearly out the door. But, wonder of wonders, I found an empty table, so I abruptly sat down to claim it as if the music had stopped during a rousing game of Musical Chairs.
But then it started. People glaring at me sitting there at an empty table while they walked by holding trays full of food. Or people asking if they could take one of the chairs from the table, even though we were already going to be one short.
Since I was growing increasingly uncomfortable, I frantically texted my sister asking their ETA. She texted me back that they had taken a wrong turn and were still 20 minutes out.
Well, that did it. I told her I couldn’t in good conscience hold on to an empty table for another 20 minutes when it would easily be an hour before we had our food in front of us and could make use of the table.
When we agreed to meet at another restaurant, which we would determine upon their arrival, I abandoned my table. But as I walked toward the door, I heard a mad scramble behind me, so I knew Round 2 of Musical Chairs had just begun.
But here comes the “blonde moment” part.
As I stood outside the deli waiting for my sister and her family, I heard music. I thought it was being piped outside from speakers in the restaurant. It was Christmas music from B.E. Taylor, who is a musician from the Pittsburgh area. I love his songs and listen to his Christmas albums every December to get myself in the holiday spirit.
But I didn’t think B.E. Taylor was well known to the average Columbus-ite, so I assumed that whoever had selected the music was from the Pittsburgh area.
So I stood there smiling and thinking I was completely in sync with my nameless friend inside the German Village delicatessen who selected the music. And I nearly started singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” along with ol’ B.E. That would’ve been disastrous because I’m quite sure some passerby would’ve called, at the very least, the music police.
It was just about then that I realized that there was no music being piped out to the street from speakers at the German Village delicatessen. It was music that was loaded onto my iPhone.
Somehow it had gotten switched on during the whole Musical Chairs scramble and other people inside the deli had been listening to my music the whole time I was sitting there. Surely some of them had wondered why I didn’t at least plug in an ear bud to keep my music to myself.
Still waiting for my sister to show up, I stood there feeling my face grow hot, which was my clue that it was also beet red. I could only shake my head and smile ruefully. But, fortunately, there wasn’t anyone around right then to witness my blonde moment.
Ah well. At least my Christmas music was playing during the Christmas season. I mean, it’s not like "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" was playing on my iPhone at Easter.
But, just in case it happens again, I think I’m going to switch the first song in my playlist to something a little more generic and non-holiday-specific. Like Led Zeppelin or something. By the time Stairway to Heaven finishes playing, I’d have placed my order at the deli, gotten my food, and found an empty table. Musical Chairs optional.