Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Night at the Pizza Hut

My husband and I live in a small community. So when I have a craving for Pizza Hut Veggie's Lover Pizza and a salad, we have to drive about 16 miles to get it.

After a long day, of writing and rewriting, hanging out with my foot propped up in its boot on the coffee table, and listening to the jaybirds out our front window squawking at Rowdy, the Medicare Cat, I wanted pizza.

We drove into Woodland Park, put gas in the car before the thing literally stopped in the middle of the street, and scooted over to the Pizza Hut. Busy night! The parking lot was full. People were going in; people with to go orders were leaving. We were sure there would be a wait, but a young lady from our church who is a server there (and has a boot on, too, because of a broken foot) saw us, waved and smiled and motioned for us to find a seat. Gladly.

At first, I was almost certain there would be a riot of epic proportions because we went straight to a booth, but when everybody saw me hobbling, the would-be naysayers put a lid on it and went back to just being their normal selves.

Shortly, I could come to the conclusion that just because we were getting primo service, didn't mean it was the be all and end all of pizzeria dining experiences.

Sitting directly behind us was a thirty-something woman and a much younger, young man, who I was fairly certain...all right, maybe on partially certain...was her teen-aged son. From the moment I sat, until the time we stood to leave, the woman watched every bite I took and every sip of Diet Pepsi from my straw. Did I have a smudge on my face? Or did my makeup look so exceptional tonight that she wanted make up tips? Or did I remind her of a long lost cousin? Whatever it was, it made for uncomfortable dining.

If that weren't enough, another woman came in with her two children, one of which was severely autistic (and I know this because of all the letters behind my name, i.e., Hazel Wesson-Peterson, J.U.D.G.E., J.U.R.Y.).  At any rate, he was an adorable child, who screamed at the top of his lungs the entire time...except for when his pizza arrived.  He was an unusual study, and as I watched him, I reminded myself of the woman who was watching me and decided I'd be better served just enjoying the company of my husband and savoring the pizza when it arrived.

Then, a couple and their two children from Arkansas came in. How do I know they were from Arkansas? Is it because I am from Arkansas and we put off this secret aura that only other Arkansans recognize? Yeah, right! I know, because the woman had on a tee shirt from the University of Central Arkansas, her husband had the twangy Arkansas accent and their license plates said "Arkansas, The Natural State". When they first came into the restaurant, the family had a little squabble in their Southern twang, calling attention to themselves. (Great!) Realizing everybody was watching and listening, they took it outside where the argument escalated and one of the children was actually pushed by their dad. When Dad realized he'd caused a scene, he rallied his small family, managed to get them all back in the vehicle without loss of life or limb and scrammed out of the parking lot..  My husband wanted to know if they were cousins of mine. Really, Don?!?!?

If all that weren't enough, the man at the booth in front of us got tired of waiting for his food and began to make a scene. I suppose he couldn't see there was but one server on the floor, and she had a broken foot, and, that the restaurant was full. When the staff was polite to him, he simply chose to take his order to go. (I would, too, if I'd made such a scene. Maybe it just wasn't as much fun when no one would argue with him.)

Then a group of firemen came in. Our city and county was evacuated earlier this summer in the Waldo Canyon Fire, so these guys are like National Heroes around here. Everyone stopped eating to stare at the local celebrities. I was honestly surprised someone didn't offer to buy their meal.

Next, a woman and her very small son came in to have pizza. No big deal except she committed one of the most resented acts restaurant people deal with: she brought a soft drink in from a local fast food restaurant. Now, in my experience, that was a big no-no. So much so, that in my dad's restaurant, back in Arkansas (and yes, he had a huge accent just like the aforementioned dad in this story) customers were given two choices, should they commit such a travesty. Either pour the drink down the sink...or leave. It's simply not done.

The final blow was a man who was wearing a hat advertising his desire for the impeachment of our county sheriff. I also noticed his pick-up truck had sideboards built on it which were painted black with stenciled yellow and red letters that said "Impeach our County Sheriff and his SWAT Gang!"  Seriously? Oh, well, to each his own, I guess.

So there you have it...a Friday night visit to Pizza Hut. Something for everyone! OH...and just to set the record Veggie Lovers' Pizza? One slice had Canadian bacon. First bite of meat I've had in about 10 years! That's what I get for going to the head of the line, I suppose.

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