Well folks, after a six hour run at the soccer fields today, the family returned home tired and grungy. Three games, three wins, three children who scored goals. After washing off several layers of grit, the girls were sent off to a birthday party for the evening and the boys and I settled in to watch the Hokies. After a wonderful, nail biter of a game, we realized that it was 7pm and we had not fed the Fin. The Brain was hungry enough to eat the shamalamadingdong out of something, so we headed to his choice for the evening: Pizza Inn. Now, for those who have never had the "pleasure", the Inn is a buffet pizza place. Is it haute cuisine? No. Is it hot cuisine? Mercifully, yes. We arrived, got our table, got our food and commenced to dining. The restaurant was not very busy, but then the Vols were on and this is Knoxville. A few older people and some couples, all glued to the one station showing on the 10 televisions. So, to help illustrate the scene, I have used nothing but the best materials to make a diagram:
We were located at table #1. There was a woman and her son/daughter, not sure which and that person left leaving the mother by herself. They were at table #3. About 10 minutes before the conclusion of our meal, an older couple came in to dine. She was somewhat delicate looking, with a cane and he, in the story I made up in my mind, was a part time farmer in his best Saturday night blue jeans. Go ahead and say it....I have no life, I know. They were "seated" at table #2. The reason I used " "is the reason I began to observe these people. They stood, waiting for their server, and gave their drink requests. The man then took off behind me, I assume to the salad bar or pizza trough of evil. The woman opened her purse and started pulling out an individually packaged Purell wipe. Carefully and ritualistically unfolding it, she went about the process of wiping down her chair and that of her husband and the bottom of her purse. This took one wipe, after which she carefully folded it back up and put it back in the packaging. She then placed her newly cleaned purse in the chair and opened a new wipe. This one went towards the cleaning of the the napkin dispenser and the tabletop underneath it. The next one went to the cleaning of the salt and pepper shakers and the patch of table underneath them. Each wipe was then placed back in its packaging and placed in a pile next to the napkin dispenser. The next one was used to clean the rest of the tabletop. After this fourth wipe ritual, I also started watching the lady at table #3, who sat there with mouth agape, mesmerized by what she was witnessing. Every once in a while she would look around to see if anyone else was witnessing this. Now, we all know the restaurant business can be dirty. Those poor servers do not get paid of fraction of what they are due and they clean with what they are given. I could understand all of this until she sat down. At this point wipe numbers five and six were used to make sure the entire underside of the table was clean. Not sure what that was about, but I was hooked. Let me take a brief second to say that I am in no way making fun of OCD or those who suffer from it. As part of my studies, I had to read and do lots of research on this disorder and I understand what a terrible burden it is. That being said, I was confused, fascinated and amused all at the same time. Now back to the story. After she used wipe #7 as a post cleaning hand wash, her husband delivered to her two plates, two forks and two knives. Upon inspection, one of the knives failed and he was sent back for another. She then took a napkin out, unfolded it, refolded it to her specifications and placed it one the table. She repeated it again and then placed a fork and a knife on top and a fork on the other. Once an acceptable knife was found, her husband placed on the correct napkin. The wife, with a look of exasperation, reached over and turned the knife around in the proper direction. The husband went to get his plate of food, as did she, comfortable in the fact that the table was properly sanitized and set. Meanwhile, table 3 lady was still trying to find the Candid Camera, thinking these people had to be a plant. I couldn't look at her or it would have been all over and I would be going to hell for laughing at this person. Brain got up to pay the check and the wife began to adjust the napkins in proximity to the plates in relation to the napkin holder. This all had to be just perfect. She then got a napkin, unfolded it, refolded it to her liking, used her fingernail to make a tiny slit. She used this slit as a makeshift buttonhole bib, hooking it on to the button of her blouse, then carefully unfolding to maximize coverage. She then settled in to eat her little bowl of spaghetti. Her husband reached for the salt shaker, which is unnecessary in the house of sodium, and used copius amounts on his salad. Then, the unthinkable happened. He put the salt shaker back down where it had been. Well, that flew all over her. This started the unwrapping of wipe #7 or 8....I've lost count. She had to wipe the salt shaker all over again, place it directly in the center between the two of them. This process repeated with the pepper. By this time, the Brain returned and we were ready to go. Table 3 lady had, at this point, lost all sense of decorum and was staring, mouth open, at the couple...only pausing to look away long enough to get the straw in her mouth and taste her beverage. I was in the state of silent, crying laughter and needed to escape immediately. Who knew that we would get dinner and a show? Poor Fin and Brain missed out. I am sad. It was the best dinner theatre ever.
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