My barrelassin' husband is a huge fan of the Waffle House. I like it okay, but it's definitely somewhere I have to visit in moderation. It has basically become the tradition that we eat at a Waffle House on our way out of town. We take care of everything in need of our attention, e.g., car rental, gas, going over a long list with the kids of what NOT to do while we're away; it just seems more realistic and specific than what "to do."
Anyway, our oldest son took us to pick up the rental car we had arranged to take to Memphis, TN. The three of stopped off at the Waffle House to get our usual. It was very busy, which is typical for a Waffle House, but for the first time, they jotted our last name down on a list they were compiling of customers waiting to be seated. It didn't take an unacceptable amount of time before we were seated, and we all knew exactly what we wanted. I ate and, in a sense, people watched and kept up with conversation while I pretty much thought the same thoughts that I have every time I visit one of their establishments: this place is loud.
This is what I want for the Waffle House; peace. Just peace. If for no other reason than simply for the health of the employees. It has occurred to me that more often than not; that place has the potential to be a complete disaster; a hot mess if you will ,(that should definitely be the name of at least one of their plates.)
As we were preparing to leave I stood in the doorway, watching with my son as my husband paid the bill. We stood there silently, looking around; our eyes darting around from one near catastrophic event to the next. It was then that my son turned to me and announced with not even a hint of sadness, "I could never work here." It was then that I realized I was not alone in my thoughts. I responded to him with excitement, knowing that he was having the exact same experience as I was. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. We enjoy the food and the atmosphere at the Waffle House; it is a one of a kind experience. No matter what city or town we happen to be in when we dine in one, we have always encountered kind, helpful staff and good food. We will continue to visit Waffle Houses all over the place- I'm certain. But like I explained to my son:
This place makes me a nervous wreck, sometimes. All of the hollering, and screaming from the minute I enter the building; everyone on the staff greeting me with a screaming HELLO!!! The only quiet words spoken are the ones spoken when we're actually ordering our meal. And although our waitress has written our order down on a tiny green notepad- from that moment on, she screams everything we just said to a cook close enough to have probably heard us when we ordered it had it not been for all the clinging and clanging, the banging and slamming of glasses and plates in the over-crowded restaurant. Silverware seems to always be flying everywhere, yet I never actually see it; I know it's there, because I hear it being thrown together the entire time I'm there. It sounds like all the dishes are being thrown and broken, but they're not- they're obviously very durable. At any given moment you can hear children speaking, a group of men and women laughing loudly, see one coffee-drinking man at the counter telling everyone around him his story, and all while listening to either a country or rock song from 1985. It makes me wonder, son, what would happen if I walked into a Waffle House one day and shouted- 'ALRIGHT! EVERYBODY JUST CALM THE F@#* DOWN! EVERYBODY FREAKIN' RELAX!' And then trail off with something like- 'today everyone is just gonna sit back and enjoy their coffee. We're all gonna sit back and take in the sites and some of us are gonna quietly read the newspaper and ponder about some things.'
Enjoy, Barrelassers :)