Category: Other stuff
Date: 24 December 2001
The Dalles: Columbia Gorge: Nicey’s Restaurant - `for real food.' Part of the motel I stayed in. Sunday - 7 am, breakfast.
The place seems to be run by the Stepford Wives: Incessantly smiling waitresses full of chirpy remarks running on autopilot. `How are you today?' I am asked as I limp in. `How are you today?' - asked by same person, 10 seconds later as I sit down.' `Rotten' I say. `Well that's good,' she replies, not having registered my reply.
And then, a waitress comes out of the kitchen and enthuses to anyone in earshot: `I just love the smell of huckleberry's. You should just go back there and smell them!'
I eat marionberry flatcakes: `that's a whole heap of pancakes.' And it was. When I get to the till I ask to have both my breakfast and a mug I have bought charged to my room. This seems to create a real problem for the smiling til-person who does not know what to do. She goes into a flustered loop, pressing buttons on the till, then looking at me and saying she does not know if she can do it, then starting again, becoming increasingly distressed and beginning to sweat with the anxiety of not being able to please as ordered. Eventually I tell her to put the mug on my credit card and the breakfast on the room. The loop is broken and the circuits start firing in order once more; the relief is obvious.
This in nice contrast to the following line in Beryl Bainbridge's superb `Every Man for Himself,' a novel about the upper classes on the Titanic, which I have just read:
"I spent five minutes in stilted exchange with Bruce Ismay, whom I knew quite well and didn't care for. Unlike most Englishmen, he lacked apathy. (p71) "
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