We meet good friends on Sunday for lunch and hiking. Now I could wax on about how spectacular Sugarloaf Mountain is at this time of year--and it is-- and how lucky we are to have good friends to share fresh air and spectacular vistas with--and we are-- but why do that when I can grouse? Especially about plans that I didn't lift a finger to orchestrate.
We meet for lunch at a deli in Silver Spring: The Parkway Deli. This is apparently the Studio 54 of delis.* It is a mob scene. "Loud and crowded" do not begin to convey the feeling.**
We wait in line, squeezed in uncomfortably close, for half an hour. When we are finally signaled to come forward, we are shown to a "staging area", where there is a shorter, even more compressed line. That's right, a line for a line. What is this, Disney World?
While we are standing in this fresh hell, the hostess asks us to please not block the aisles adjacent to the area that she has put us in. The woman behind me, a total stranger, starts to spoon me. As I have nowhere to go, and I'm not going to be intimidated into moving the 1/4 inch forward I've selfishly kept to myself, I nuzzle back into her.
Another 10 minutes pass and we are directed to a booth. AHHH! We have arrived! Except that it is every bit as noisy as it was in line. This is not my idea of a relaxing lunch.
To their credit, the food is good, inexpensive, and brought quickly, but you'd think they were giving it away for free, the way people are jamming in there and shouting to be heard.*** I, for one, don't get it. I couldn't wait to get out of there and I will not be going back.
* If Studio 54 still existed and smelled of kosher dills.
** You know that feeling you get when you're at a concert and you've scored spectacularly close seats but you're right in front of the 200 foot speakers and the music is so loud the fillings in your teeth are vibrating and the crowd is nevertheless pressing in on you and you think, "If I don't get out of here RIGHT NOW I'll die"? That was quiet and spacious compared to this.
*** Chipotle was giving away free burritos on Friday to people dressed as burritos. I was in the city and saw the aluminum foil madness but cheerfully avoided it, having just recently had the full Chipotle experience.