let them eat cake

I know it’s a new year and I should be thinking positive thoughts, but it was my birthday until just a little while ago, when the New Year rang in, and it wasn’t exactly my best birthday on record.  So I promise tomorrow I will write about hope and dreams for 2011, but tonight I feel like laying it all out there…I feel like complaining. 

The day didn’t start out bad.

My dad called me first thing this morning to wish me Happy Birthday and since I had to get up to let the dogs out anyway, he didn’t even ruin any extra winks I was trying to squeeze in.  I was still able to fall asleep once the dogs had their breakfast and were ready for their morning naps. 

I got lots of nice birthday wishes from friends and family.  No one forgot about me.  My headache from the other day was almost gone, so I didn’t even feel awful.  I went out for brunch with my kids (minus one who overslept) and my daughter even offered to buy my breakfast.  How sweet is that? 

After brunch is when things started sliding down hill.

My husband had to go to the office (on my birthday…which also happens to be an international holiday) for some “end of the year” project that he left until the last minute.  I can’t really be mad about the project…I’m not known for my perfect planning.  And I am also a procrastinator, so I might have done the same thing.  What I was mad about is the fact that he could have scheduled this for the morning…while I was already out with the girls…but he didn’t.  He had to schedule this for the dinner hour when I was likely to be hungry. 

So I kept myself busy while he worked and then we were going to go out to dinner.  You would think at least one of us would have remembered that I was born on New Year’s Eve and this would be one of the most important nights of the year to have reservations for dinner. 

You would think so…but we didn’t.

Our bright idea was to avoid the places we knew reservations would be required and we tried our luck at the local Longhorn Steak House. 

I knew it was going to be bad when we couldn’t find a place to park.  I even watched someone walk from the Panda Express parking lot to get to Longhorn. 

Inside was no better.  The entire waiting area was packed with people.  The bar was stuffed with more people waiting for a table, and there were even people standing outside with drinks and appetizers, waiting for their table to be ready.  Once we pushed our way through the crowd to the front of the line the hostess said it would be a sixty minute wait. 

We looked at each other and cringed because we knew that musical restaurants would do us no good on New Year’s Eve.  We gave our name to the hostess, accepted the remote control looking buzzer she handed us, and took up residence in the vestibule where it was at least remotely quiet.  I had my phone, charged and ready to go, playing solitaire until I couldn’t stand it anymore. 

After we had waited thirty minutes, a woman came through the first set of doors complaining about the hostess and her “wait time” estimates.  Apparently this woman thought we should double any estimate we were given. 

This would put our wait at two hours and it was already after eight. 

I wanted to leave.  I really did.  I was ready to eat McDonald’s.  But after the mini argument I had with my husband about his “little project” I figured I should just keep my mouth shut and let him buy me a birthday dinner even if it turned out to be a birthday breakfast.

We had waited an hour when I asked my husband to see how many people were still ahead of us.  I figured if I knew I could relax.  My feet were starting to hurt and I was tired of standing in the vestibule, trapped in limbo, between the warm inside and the cold outside.  And I was annoyed that a group of people came in while we waited and were seated almost immediately.  They were related to the hostess (I eavesdropped on their conversation so I know this to be a fact.)

He wouldn’t go ask.  He said it wouldn’t make the wait go any faster knowing.  I totally disagreed, but again, I didn’t want to stir the pot and get into a new argument.  I re-checked the buzzer the hostess gave us to be sure it was working (I had done this every ten minutes or so since we got it) and debated telling a little white lie.  I could say I was related to Mr. Longhorn himself!  But I was afraid I would get caught, and I didn’t want to get kicked out after waiting for an entire hour.

So I played a few more rounds of solitaire, checked my Facebook, and read a few chapters of a book on the Kindle app for my android phone.  The only thing that could have made the night worse would have been if my battery had died. 

Finally after nearly an hour and a half, our little remote control went off with flashing lights and vibrating buzz, letting us know that we would be allowed to eat.  The hostess passed us off to a boy dressed all in black, and he took the lead as we weaved carefully through the packed dining room to our table in the back. 

The only table immediately outside of the restrooms.

I was certain I had seen this entire scenario go down in a movie once. 

My birthday dinner would be spent sitting directly outside of the restrooms.  The romantic mood lighting at all of the other tables was replaced by the harsh lights illuminating the narrow passageway. And a steady stream of diners passed our table before we had even gotten comfortable in our seats. 

It was almost as if someone up there was scripting my birthday dinner in such a way to give me something good to blog about. But the food was very good, and I knew that at the end of our meal, the entire staff would sing to me and I would get cake.  I had waited all day for cake. 

But my husband didn’t tell them it was my birthday.  So no one came to sing.  And no one brought cake. 

I found a piece of stale cake in the kitchen at home.  It was one of those leftover Christmas treats that I missed the other day. 

As I was heading off to bed, bemoaning my lack of birthday cake, Mike told me that I didn’t need cake anyway, and then he reminded me of how old I was. 

Lucky for him I was too tired to attack. 

Until the next time…I’ll be working on my New Year’s resolution with a piece of damn cake!

Copyright © 2000-2018, Erica Lucke Dean. All rights reserved. Any retranscription or reproduction is prohibited and illegal.
Posted on January 1, 2011 .