I’m trying out something new where I just… share stories here? Let me know if you like or dislike this new post style, because I have a few drafted but previously didn’t really think they really fit here.
When I was a freshman in high school, our class went to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway as a field trip to supplement us having read PotO in English class. Before the show, we got dinner at a nearby restaurant (I want to say… it may have been Playwright Tavern but I’m not 100% sure now, several years later). There were almost 40 students there, so we were given a very simple choice for dinner to expedite the process for our chaperones and for the restaurant: chicken or cheeseburger.
Now, I don’t like cheese (you did not misread that, I really dislike cheese), so I naturally opted for the chicken. As our server went around collecting orders — “Chicken” “Cheeseburger, please” “Cheeseburger” “Chicken” — I let him know my order: chicken.
What ensued remains, to this day, one of the most confusing exchanges I have had with any restaurant staff or human person in my life.
Me: Chicken, please.
Him: Okay, cheeseburger.
Me: Sorry, no, chicken.
Him: … right. Cheeseburger.
Me: No, can I please have chicken.
Him: Sure, cheeseburger.
I was getting really exasperated and turned to my friends. “Am I saying chicken or cheeseburger?!” They confirmed that I was saying “chicken”, so I tried again.
Me: Can I please have the CHICKEN?
Him: Um, yes, sure.
Me: Okay great, thanks.
Him: Yeah, that’s fine, one cheeseburger.
Friend: WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT MAN?
The relief I felt with my friends (and eventually, my teachers) sticking up for me was immense. There was so much doubt in my head like… Am I saying “cheeseburger” every time when I mean to say “chicken”? Is my English somehow so atrocious that he keeps hearing “cheeseburger” instead? Meanwhile, my fellow 14-year-old friends are making clucking noises to indicate to our server that I want chicken, and when a teacher intervened to say “She wants chicken” we were finally able to get my order in. Chicken for Starr. Hooray.
I wish the story ended here.
The food starts to come out, chicken and cheeseburgers all around, and I am waiting… and waiting… and waiting…
… my food never comes out. After all the trouble we went through to put in my order, all that clucking and flapping did not yield me any chicken. I wasn’t the last person to order, but my order was the only one not filled yet. Our teacher called over the server and asks where my order is.
“Oh, the cheeseburger right?”
NO PLEASE SIR WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME.
We clarify, pretty freaking firmly, that I ordered the chicken and not the cheeseburger. Our server repeats “chicken” to us, apologizes for the delay, and hurries off to make sure my order gets filled.
Guess who they bring a cheeseburger out to?
At this point, I’m almost resigned to eat the cheeseburger, I really am, but I just can’t stand cheese. And the weirdest thing was the cheeseburger did not look good at all? Like it had been sitting for a long time, even though my friends’ cheeseburgers did not look like mine did.
Eventually, I got my chicken. I have no idea how it tasted, because I remember almost nothing about my time at this restaurant except for the infuriating process of trying to NOT get the cheeseburger. I do remember having a great time with my friends and absolutely loving my first-ever Broadway show.
Sometimes, when I struggle with ordering food at restaurants, I remember this situation and just consider myself lucky!
Have you ever had a weird experience ordering food somewhere before? I still wonder why they were so hell-bent on giving me a cheeseburger. Maybe it was a weird assassination attempt, I had seen something I shouldn’t have, and they needed to take me out…. via cheeseburger? That’s the only explanation I’ve got so far. Do you have any better explanations?