As I’ve mentioned before, obsession is rarely healthy and never pretty. Despite the fact that I know this, I still struggle with it. (Blame it on a 1976 high school project on mental health if you like. I drew ‘neuroses’ and nothing has been the same ever since. Oh well, the first step and all that.) And of course I don’t direct my obsessive tendencies into constructive or socially endorsed channels, not me. No, I try to beat the high score in obscure video games, watch movies more times than is strictly considered ‘normal’ and I count the number of times that people say the word ‘perfect.’ (A week ago last Friday the nice lady named after a soccer team who brought me a pizza said it twice. For example.)
And why do I do this? Because ever since someone pointed out to me that waiters say ‘perfect’ a lot, I’ve noticed EVERY SINGLE ONE. (To be honest, it drives me a little crazy. But I can’t stop. I suspect my friends wish that I would. Not gonna happen.)
And it’s getting worse. Or at least no better.
A couple of Saturdays ago we (Ms. Rose and I) were at the Insomniac Capriform Cafe for breakfast. I always (well, almost always) have the same thing — bacon and eggs — partly because I enjoy the irony of eating bacon at a nominally vegetarian restaurant. Oh, and a beverage. In the summer the beverage is often lemonade (because lemonade is seasonal); in the winter it’s usually water (because water isn’t). So I ordered my plate-o-irony and the nice lady whose hair happened to be green that day dutifully wrote it down. And then I ordered my glass of water.
Now, water as an accompaniment to a restaurant meal can be a lot of things. It can mean that you’d rather concentrate on the food. It can suggest that you’re all about the hydration. Or it can simply imply that you’re nothing more than a cheap bastard. When I asked for water, however, she said something totally unexpected.
She said “Perfect.”
That stopped me in my tracks.
Her response told me that the bacon wasn’t perfect. The eggs? Not perfect. The (real) homefries and toast and strawberry jam? Not perfect. But the tap water? That was perfect.
I was confused. I stood there with my mouth hanging open for, well, longer than I like to think. (Not my best look.) Then she asked me where I was sitting. (The ICC doesn’t have table service — you order your food at the counter and the kitchen staff brings it to your table. So they have to ask you where you’re sitting when you order.)
I pointed toward our table where Ms. Rose was sitting, wearing a pink sweater and reading a newspaper or something.
“Pink sweater” I told the green-haired lady.
Apparently the pink sweater was perfect too.