It’s not my birthday yet. But it’s close enough to have forced me out of the house today, despite my lingering PAX Pox, and into the cold, sterile, unfeeling arms of the DMV. Their gift to me? Highway robbery and eight years of a picture that somehow managed to look even worse than the last one. I didn’t even think that was possible.
After an hour spent swaying unsteadily in line we decided that food would be a good idea. Unfortunately my illness (plus the weather, which has decided to unload the three months of rain it was saving all this week) has rather effectively derailed the birthday plans Mike had meticulously laid out. Instead tomorrow will probably be spent wrapped in a blankie playing on my XBox. And I can’t actually find fault with that.
Wanting to maximize the line graph intersection of “time” and “distance” on my food chart, we decided to hit up Red Robin. As we walked in I suddenly remembered that I had a coupon for a free birthday burger sitting in the gmail inbox I specifically created to get free shit from restaurants and called it up on my phone. It seemed pretty firm on the “you have to print this out” part, but I figured I’d give just flashing my phone screen at them a try.
They had to pull a manager in to make a final call, and he regretfully said he needed the email actually printed – but they’d give me a free sundae! Yaaay! And a song! Yaaa– Wait, what?
My emphatic “Oh please no” managed to convince them there would be no singing (which our server seemed most upset about, but he can go be all “HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLAH BLAH BLAH” on someone else’s less-shamed ass).
So we got our food in record time, and I wasn’t too broken up about having to pay for the burger since I’d fully intended to do so up until about 45 seconds of walking in the door, and hey, the coupon’s good for another week yet. The problem is that it was BIG and I was STUFFED.
“When he comes by to ask about the sundae, I’ll tell him I’ll just pass,” I said to Mike.
Then next thing I know this ginormous sundae is in front of my face. “I know we couldn’t give you the free burger,” Billy-the-server said apologetically, “but I have this! I made you the best sundae I could possibly make.”
If any of you reading this have dogs then you might understand the series of emotions I went through. (I would imagine that “small child” could easily be substituted for “dog” up there.) (I would further imagine that this substitution works in most every instance.)
“Oh god what is this shit” was the first thought, sent to my brain by way of stomach.
Then I’m keenly aware of Billy-the-Server’s hopeful expression, his desperate hunger for my approval.
My approval of this fifty-foot tall vanilla tyrant, threaded with pulsating veins of chocolate and caramel, capped with an explosion of Ready-Whip, and lovingly accented with rainbow sprinkles.
I think it was the rainbow sprinkles that really got me.
Billy-the-Server is hovering on the fringes. I think I can see him hopping from one foot to the other in anticipation.
“…wow!” was all that I managed to get out. Then I picked up a spoon.
What choice did I have? To deny the sundae would be to deny him. I couldn’t have hurt him more if I’d swept the sundae to the floor with a cry of “You dare present me with this FILTH!”, then spit on the back of his head as, weeping, he kneels before me to clean it up. (Because these were of course the only two possible options in dealing with the situation.)
And so I ate the sundae, ignoring the feeble, anguished cries of my stomach. Billy-the-Server grinned as though this were the single highest point in all his years as Billy-the-Server.
I paid for the burger I wanted for free. I ate the free sundae I didn’t want at all. I now have a tummy ache I could’ve done without.
Yup, sounds just about right for a birthday.