Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Any Given Wednesday

Oh, how the Baroness loves her Wednesdays.

I love pretending that I'm my own personal assistant as I zip from errand to errand. Grocery store - hmm - I think the Baroness would like a bag of frozen tilapia. It's the new Louis Vuitton of the fish world. Classy, yet nutritious. Sure, hurl it in the cart. Drugstore - gelcaps or tablet? Which is least likely to get wedged in the Baroness' delicate throat? Let's throw all caution to the wind and go for the gelcap. She'll be thrilled. Big box store - if I can score her those yoga pants, I'm in for a hu-u-u-ge raise. Oh, how the Baroness does love having a personal assistant. To make all the tough decisions. That fish thing? Whoa.

But the thing that I love the most on Wednesdays is going out for breakfast. Truth be told, I think that any ol' day is a good day for going out to breakfast, but on Wednesdays I actually do it. And I go to the same local restaurant every week. Have for years. Why? Well, for a couple of very solid reasons. One, it's a Mom and Pop establishment, and I try to use community services whenever I can, and two - they know me. When I walk in, I don't get the Cheers-esque "Baroness!", but they know what booth I like, they know both my "A" and my "B" menu selection, and they can always tell if I want decaf or regular. (That last one? I don't know how - maybe they're magical. Or maybe it's the look on my face. You know, that constipated-looking one.)

Oh, hold up. There's a third reason I love my greasy spoon, and the main reason I wouldn't dream of spending Wednesday morning anywhere else - The Cackler.

The Cackler is one of a group of about 12 older gentleman who are always at the restaurant at the same time as me. These gentlemen (sometimes a token lady or two shows up) sit and b.s. over coffee. The topics aren't all that extraordinary - WW II memories, so and so's health, sports. It's the fact that, without fail, they are there any given Wednesday. I once asked Ray - who has worked there since the invention of dirt - how long they'd been showing up, and he said as long as he could remember. Among them is my favorite. I call him the Cackler. When the group is really cookin', and someone's telling a whopper, the Cackler begins his laugh. I'm sure, dear readers, that all of you know someone who has such an infectious laugh. The kind of chortle, that even if you're on the verge of losing your royal bearings, you hear it and begin to smile. Yeah, that one!

I have come to look forward to hearing that laugh every Wednesday. I expect it. I crave it. And when they spend their morning on serious matters, I want to go over to the table and bark at them to lighten up already. Just to hear that laugh. Duke 1 and Duke 2 know the Cackler. As does the Baron. Even our exchange student has heard him in action. To know him is to love him.

Last Wednesday, one of the men from the table got up and asked another patron if they'd seen Bob lately. He was concerned, as Bob hadn't been around at any of their senior haunts in the last couple of weeks. The patron assured him that Bob was alright, just had the flu. The look of relief that washed over that man's face almost brought tears to my eyes.

Today's decree from the Baroness - call up a friend you haven't talked to in a while to see how they're doing. Or have your personal assistant do it.


Pioneering in PA said...

What fun would breakfast be without a cackler or two? I've managed to reconnect with a couple of old friends already, and they are getting used to me calling at the most unannounced times of day already. Amazing how old habits come back to haunt you from the depths of childhood, huh?

Scarlett Wanna Be said...

Ohhhh I love a good crackler. They usually smell like medicine but they are fabulous to be within an ear shot of. I also love Ma and Pop joints. They have the best food and you can feel good about yourself while your eating. Yes, feeling good while you support small America. It's the right thing to do.

Pioneering in PA said...

My blog is demanding your attention. Hippity-hop, hurry hurry!

Lisa said...

Oh Baronness, I TOO am a fan of the ma & pa, local yokel kinds of place. Wayyyy more character .... and characters! The chains get enough biz from everybody else. There's a favorite diner here in Philly that I love love love ... the waitresses are all about 60 and they still wear uniforms and bark like guard dogs (that's part of the "charm"). They make the best french onion soup I've ever had in my life!!! Am gonna for lunch, in honor of YOU! .... Barbra Peapod

The Guv'ner said...

That sounds like FUN! I like things like The Cackler myself. Although I have to say, last night on the subway there was some....ENTITY...who kept hawking up phlegm really loudly, grossing everyone out. He was so loud with the throat noises and nasal sounds that I just wanted to GUFFAW like a crazy person. Every few seconds he'd do it and I'd have to bury my face in my hands. Horrible but hilarious at the same time.

Cackling however, sounds much more pleasant!:)

i am playing outside said...

with this one post, you have one me over. i shall return!

i don't pretend that i'm my own personal shopper, but there have been times when i'm known to pretend [entirely within my mind, of course] that i am on The Amazing Race, and i need to to to places faster than the people around me, or that i need to finish all my errands within a certain amount of time. it just makes life fun.

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Countess FP Chop: So glad to hear that you're doing some re-connecting.
The unannounced time of day reference? Intriguing. Thanks again for the props - today has been mildly nuts, but I'm sure that I'll be able to properly pay it forward in the morning.

Countess Scarlett WB: You're spot on
(and hilarious) with your medicine smell reference. That, and the inside of Great Aunt Lexa's handbag - a combo of cough drops, Arpege perfume, and mothballs. It's strangely comforting.

Countess LPD Bubbles: I SO need to come to your neck of the woods. It sounds like a little slice of heaven. A la mode, of course.

Count of Playing Outside: Welcome!
I love the whole Amazing Race thing - you can bet that I'll be passing that on to my PA. I just hope, for your sake, that you're more of a Tyler (TaTao!) than a Jonathan (VICK-TOOOO-RIA!!!).

Baroness von Bloggenschtern said...

Oops - Guv - did not mean to leave you out. Mercifully, the Cackler does not appear to have any phlegmatic concerns. Yet. What is it, exactly, about the subterranean transit system that brings out the weirdos (present company excluded, of course...)? Oh wait, I just answered my own question.

The Guv'ner said...

Riding the subterranean transit system makes ME feel NORMAL, Baroness!!!!

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