“When Good Plans Go Bad”

Damnit. You know, sometimes a day off is nearly impossible to finagle into turning badly.
Enlivened, refreshed, you bounce out of bed and proceed to embrace the day with gusto; with a furiously optimistic zeal. Freed for the next 8 hours from the tethers of wage slavery.

Or so it should turn out, normally.
Today should have turned out this way.
I had it all planned. Last night I asked my son if he wanted to go eat breakfast at _ this morning and he said sure. Awesome man, I penned that sucker in and looked forward to it since eating out has become a novelty for me. There is very little more rewarding than going out for a nice, mellow breakfast on a day off while the rest of mankind is gearing up for another daily rat race. It’s very liberating and sets an awesome tone to kick off a vacation day.

I began this morning by dragging my butt out of bed on the heels of a 4.5 hour night of sleep. Tops. I went to bed very, very (uncharacteristically) late and I had no energy, mental or physical, as I clamored through my morning routine. I warmed 1/2 a cup of groggy coffee since I knew I would be drinking a lot more at _ but I needed some now in order to kickstart my lagging mind to life. I wasn’t in the best shape but the prospect of a delicious breakfast out with my son on a day neither of us had normal daytime obligations was enervating enough to sluggishly propel me through the morning paces. He woke up gingerly as well (the morning was shaping up to be hot and stuffy, L.A. in August, blah). We eventually dried off our post-shower dampness and jumped in the car. I stopped first to put gas since the fuel needle was dwindling near the bottom of its range and I doubted whether I had enough juice to even make it the couple of miles to _. After pumping her up, I drove to _ and parked in the half-empty parking lot. That’s another benefit of weekday morning dining: the crowd is sparse. The only other people you share the restaurant with are geriatrics, and during summer, school-aged kids accompanying parents or grandparents. I was so ready for breakfast. I had decided much earlier that I would have an omelette. Of some sort. I needed to check out the menu.

The waitress took our orders, and having noticed that the omelette I was contemplating came with mushrooms, a “food” I despise more than anything. I often wonder who in the hell first laid eyes on these fungal nightmares and thought, “Hm, that looks awfully delicious, let me try cooking one up!” They look terrible, they smell terrible. They are fungus. Mildew. We have special cleaners to clean that shit off our shower walls. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about mushrooms and I always ask restaurants to leave them out of any dish which includes their putrid chunks. If I find mushrooms have infiltrated my dish in any form or shape, I will disrupt my meal as I individually fish out each and every mushroom particle from my food and send it into orbit circling the outer perimeter of my dish rim. Once segregated into “do not eat” land, I ignore their filthy, earthy grayness while I enjoy the rest of my sane meal.

After the waitress brought my first heavenly cup of hot coffee, my son and I chatted. We got on the subject of pies since I was planning to order a whole one to take over my parents later in the day. He asked what my least favorite pie is since it is widely known that I will eat just about any pie that comes my way. I worship pies. “Hm, I would have to say peach,” I told him. Peach pies bore me. I don’t even care for peaches. Putting them in a pie is a waste of dough and corn syrup as far as I’m concerned. We continue chatting and I notice that a woman, 50-55ish, is walking briskly toward the restrooms (which are not double-layered behind another door in this section of the restaurant, by the way) and she is coughing, gagging up a storm. She sounds like she’s in the midst of a choking fit. She darts into the women’s restroom and the sounds of her bellowing gagging are disturbingly audible to my son and I at this table since there is only one door separating us from the catastrophe unfolding in that bathroom right now. I have no fucking clue what is going on in there nor do I want to, but it sounds like she’s coughing up a lung or two. Most likely a good portion of her guts as well. This is one of the most revolting sounds I can think of, especially while you wait patiently for your breakfast. Gag. God, now I wanted to gag. And of course, the timing was im-fucking-peccable because right at this moment our server brought our plates out. Ugh. Now if that woman would finally just patch it up, swallow down the loose bile and be quiet, I might be able to concentrate on my hunger again….or maybe not. Finally she walks out of the bathroom and I notice that she is slightly haggard/gross looking. Her legs look marked up and her overall physical presentation is slightly disturbing. Ugh. I dig into my omelette and realize I forgot to tell the waitress to hold the mushrooms. I forgot.

So my breakfast is helplessly hurtling toward the realm of epic failure.
The presence of mushrooms accompanied by the sound effects of faceless projectile gagging behind the thin restroom door have certainly splashed buckets of cold water on my appetite. I dig into my omelette half-heartedly and now it’s a struggle just to eat while circumventing intrusive mushrooms while simultaneously fooling myself that I am enjoying this for fuckssake. My son is bothered too. We both have that unnatural vomit aversion and we are not doing so well. He doesn’t finish his meal, but I do. We ask for a box to take his leftovers and I order a Dutch Apple Pie which the waitress brings in a box. I down the last of my coffee and we split. I feel as if my breakfast was tasteless and devoid of pleasurable sensation. As if I’d eaten that omelette intravenously.

We still had the pie. Perhaps there was still a chance to rescue this shattered breakfast dream…

Later this evening, I took the box happily over to my parents. I boasted of Dutch Apple joy, and my mom sliced it and commented oddly that there was pink coloring.


Sure enough, much of the filling had a reddish hue. We began digging in. The texture was grainy and crunchy.

“This is peach,” my mom noted. The waitress had brought me back a Dutch Peach pie. Somewhere, there was a misunderstanding. Or something.

And I thought of what I told my son about Peach pies earlier at the breakfast table before the lady with the seasick stomach gave us a concert. Some things were simply not meant to be. I commented that next time I go to _ I will 1) ask for a seat away far from the restrooms, and 2) remember to ask them to hold the mushrooms.

Maybe then my breakfast will live up to its billing…