I am not a morning person. The only reason I experience mornings at all is because they’re usually there when I wake up.
Today was a great morning, though. All day, everywhere I went, pretty girls were smiling at me. (Disclaimer: I use the term “girls” intentionally, as in each case I am old enough to be their father’s older brother.) Because of the age difference, I may compliment the girls, but I do not hit on them in any way. (Sort of like a fisherman who throws back fish that are too small.)
When I went to the dry cleaners this morning, the girl who took my shirts had one of those smiles that could melt ice cream. I’m not used to getting that greeting from someone who’s only getting dirty shirts in return, so I complimented her on her smile. She just got a bigger smile and thanked me like I had just rescued her from the Daleks. Score: John 1, Dry Cleaner Girl 1, Morning 0.
I then went to IHOP for breakfast. For a Saturday morning, the place was surprisingly unpacked, and I got a seat immediately. A lovely young waitress came up to me, and we had the following true but improvised conversation:
Cori: Hi, my name is Cori, and I’ll be your server, along with Marcie, who’s on my team.
Me: Hi, my name is John, and I’ll be your customer this morning. And I’ll try to have a very complex order, so that you can justify having an entire team on the job.
Cori: That’s OK. She’s covering those tables (indicating those tables with her hand). We’re called “zone bunnies”.
Me: On purpose?
Cori (smiling): Yes, that’s what the manager calls us.
(Disclaimer: If Dave Barry were here, he would point out that “Zone Bunnies” would be a great name for a girl band. Since he’s not here, I do this in his name.)
The fact that she thought being called a zone bunny was fun, or at least funny, made me instantly like her. The ordering process continued:
Cori: What can I get you to drink?
Me: Coffee and a glass of water, please.
Me: God, yes! Bring me about as much cream as you do coffee.
I drink my coffee heavily diluted. My best friend once described the way I drink my coffee as “warm coffee ice cream”, which is about right. I prefer powdered non-dairy creamer over half-and-half for two reasons: creamer doesn’t make the coffee colder, and it takes forever for me to open enough of those little “Mini-Moos” (a brand name of tiny half-and-half containers) to make up a full Moo.
A few minutes later Cori returns with a pot of coffee and a giant soup bowl with about 30 Mini-Moos in it, and says, “These should be about the same amount of coffee and cream.”
I can’t stop laughing. Her comedic timing is perfect.
So I order my sirloin tips and eggs, and she moves on to a nearby table. Maybe a minute later, she walks back past my table, and I’m having too much fun to resist.
Me: Excuse me, miss. Is it done yet?
Cori: Not quite. The staff is cooking your order to perfection.
Me: That’s probably more than I need. How long to cook my order to adequacy?
Cori: They’re not allowed to do that. Right now, they’re personally killing Betsy so that your steak will be perfect.
(Disclaimer: I didn’t ask, but I’m hoping Betsy was the cow, and not a slow-moving zone bunny.)
A few minutes later, Cori brings me my order. Betsy is done to perfection, and the eggs (who are only extras and don’t get names) are just right. While I’m eating, I hear Cori taking orders at another table. I don’t know what the woman ordered, but Cori excitedly told her, “Excellent choice!”
When I’m finished, Cori comes back with the check, and we have one last conversation:
Cori: How was Betsy?
Me: Wonderful, as promised. But since we’ve reached the question-and-answer portion of our meal, I have a few questions of my own.
Me: First, I don’t want you to violate zone bunny-customer privilege, but I heard you say that that woman’s order was an “excellent choice”. Did she actually make an excellent choice, or were you just saying that?
Cori: No, she made an excellent choice. She ordered the spinach melt.
Me: OK, but spinach melts at a very high temperature. Make sure you warn her.
Me: My other question is “How?”
Cori: How what?
Me: I don’t know. The sign here on the table says “Ask me how”.
She proceeds to explain that if I fill out the online survey, I can get free pancakes or $2 off on my next order. I never fill these out, but I’m going to this time, because Cori is the greatest zone bunny in the history of restaurants, and earned every bit of the $10 tip I left her.
Score: Me 51, Cori the Zone Bunny 10, Dry Cleaner Girl 1, Morning 0.
After a quick trip to Barnes & Noble, where I found a seat immediately (Score: Me 52, Cori 10, Dry Cleaner Girl 1, Morning 0), I stopped off at Starbucks for more coffee, where I was greeted by the lovely Laura, Stephanie, and Karen, who all had big smiles for me. They were busy, so I chatted briefly, took my coffee, and came home.
Final Score: Me 55, Cori the Zone Bunny 10, Starbucks Girls 3, Dry Cleaner Girl 1, Morning 0.
Best morning I can remember in a long, long time. I am now going to hide in the closet until this day is over, so as to maintain my lead over the day.