That Went Well

Find me a corner booth somewhere. I don’t care where. Soon, please. Preferably in a greasy spoon diner where I can order two plates of gravy fries, three bacon cheeseburgers, a dozen deep fried wings, onion rings, unlimited sodas, and a whole dutch apple pie with slop-loads of whipped cream slathered on top. Don’t really care if napkins are available. Appearances at that point in my life will be secondary to the joy received from drowning my sorrows in cholesterol.

Oh, and one other request: find the person responsible for the phrase, “Well, that went well…”. I’d like to have a gentle discussion with said person – as I most likely will mouth-bulldoze (it’s a thing) through mounds of stress meats, drippy fats, and empty carbs. Yesterday will be talked about, sarcastically, as a “that went well..” day and I’ll want a full explanation.

It DIDN’T begin well once I realized the words, “Oh, you’re here celebrating your mom’s birthday!” ejected out of my mouth before my eyes and brain had a say in the matter. Clearly in front of me stood a man I’ve known for years. Roughly two years older than I, he is a good friend who married (emphasis on married) a lovely woman a few years older than us. I know this. I KNEW this when we crossed an unfortunate path yesterday in the cafe when I made the extra effort to approach him … in the semi-crowded room … where his lovely wife sat … at a table with birthday balloons at the ready … (getting the picture here?).

As he brisked by me to meet his wife on her special day, I spoke those seven hapless words to him – to my utmost horror – immediately wanting to cower under my small table as the air raid sirens of inappropriateness bellowed for all to hear. As my feet were immediately entrenched firmly in my gaping mouth, I was unable to follow him over to the table to extend my apologies for the gaffe. A cowering butt-scoot, however, under the circumstances probably would have been the right move.

What wasn’t the right move, in retrospect (after I wrenched my feet out of my piehole), was to go over to the table two minutes later and try to apologize. I ordered an omelet at what seemed like hours prior at that point. Had it arrived earlier, the eggy deliciousness would have been in my mouth – preventing this whole saga. It was not in front of me inviting a release from the torture, so the “go over” move was in play. Already knowing my brain-mouth relationship was tenuous, I adulted my way over hoping I could smooth this over. MmmHmm.

Act two. Adding the element of surprise: the arm around. Physical touch always adds a personal touch. Taking into account, as I mentioned, my history with these two fine individuals … I found myself beside the husband once again. This time, repeating the same phrase, “Oh, you’re here celebrating your mom’s birthday!”, but with two special add-ons … up-sizes – just like McDonald’s! #1. My left arm around the waist of said husband for comfort as I spoke, and #2. The phrase, “I’m so sorry I said ….” prior to saying “Oh, you’re here …”. Problem? You wouldn’t think so, right? Husband heard. Wife didn’t. Correction. Wife heard only second phrase. Not, “I’m sorry..”

If you are keeping score of the “Who heard what?” game: Husband 2, Wife 1, Doug wants to crawl in hole and die a slow death. Did I mention I knew they were married? Oh, I did?

There was no recovery. A few floor tiles away sat a nice older couple I’ve seen about town. At the very table where I sat a week ago pondering my good deed, they sat mouths agape. My voice, apparently, carries words of wisdom and woe. One more attempt to apologize fell flat. Details unnecessary as they wouldn’t surprise even the awarest of the aware. I slunked and slithered back to my table as my wonderful, now pale, wife/friend was left to think of ways to silently silence forever her current former friend. A moment of reflection as my omelet finally arrived. “Well, that went well.”

I didn’t look back. Their table five paces over my left shoulder. I could hear muted birthday celebratory words as another couple joined their table of four. Most likely friends of theirs NOT arriving to find merriment in a Mother’s Day fest. My table mates deriving deliciousness, not only from the end of their brunch fare forks but also from the irony at my expense. And shall I say, deservedly so.

To add a rather pleasant chapter to this continuing story, we did connect later on social media and exchanged messages. For clarity, mine began, “I am so sorry …. “, and she replied, “Thanks, Doug. Don’t worry about it …”. Her husband, the quiet type anyway, has not responded. I’m ok with that. He’s a super human, too.

Now to the matter of my unknown person. The inventor of, “Well, that went well …”

When we meet, this will be my tale spoken across the cracked black and white checkered, coffee stained table. To my friend who sits and listens to my insistent query, “Why the need for, ‘ Well, that went well?’ …”. I may refer him/her to this tome for perspective. Bitterness and regret will be interrupting the conversation disguised as heaping, caloric-laden fingerfulls of satisfaction. Loathing and lethargy may soon take over as well once the second and third helpings settle. Additionally, my body could begin to sink into the cheap ribbed vinyl, off-red, sunken booth seat I found myself glued into.

Near food coma. Good news, however. I probably won’t know anyone in that diner. Even if I do, there will be little brain activity at the moment. My friend, the inventor of the phrase, long gone. Read the summary above, figured I was ultimately responsible for my own inanity, and left. Alone, looking over sloshed gravy plates, empty crumply onion ring baskets, and a few slumpy fries, my glossy eyes will see the error of my ways.

Think before you act. The empty plates a testament to quick decisions having slow, festering consequences. Greasy, awesome food the quick tongue of the non-thinking world, and empty plates the lingering regret.

My jeans will make that awkward squeak as I scoot out of the booth. Doris, the only waitress on staff late at night, steadily wipes the counter near the register as she politely tells me, “Your friend picked up the tab. A bit pricey with all you ate, but he didn’t think you’d survive all the cholesterol and wanted to be sure I got paid.”. Pretty sure I’d see the irony, and possible truth, in this scene if it were to play out.

Heading out through two glass doors into the refreshing cold air, my still bloated, lesson learned, belly full of not-so-healthy imaginary goodness ushers this guy into the parking lot. He stops, turns to look over his left shoulder thinking he saw his two wonderful friends enter the diner, and says:

“Well, that went well ” … and, it kinda did.

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