Saturday, June 12, 2004

Dateline, Saturday AM, Baltimore

My bus rolled in at about 10:45 pm - 15 minutes early. I don't do buses well, but this one wasn't so bad. I couldn't sleep - for some reason I never can sleep on public transportation - but the pretty young girl in the seat next to me basically dissolved into her discman, so I did the same. I had a CD filled with Country Music MP3's that lasted the whole trip.

Zenchick arrived with a big hug, and IMMEDIATELY started driving a circuitous route through Baltimore. She had just finished a crabcake dinner with a very hot "friend" of hers (oh come on), and was energized from top to toes. I'm sure it was from my arrival, not the friend. Or maybe the crabcakes. Anyway. She drove me all over Baltimore at 11-something PM, pointing out all sorts of neighborhoods where various friends of hers whom I've heard lots of stories about live, and generally being a bubbly, aggressive-driving tour guide. Which would have been fabulous, if I had not been so exhausted. She's bouncing behind the wheel, pointing out windows and chatting furiously, and I'm (as she so eloquently described) a bobble-head.

We stopped at this freakily decorated diner called the Paper Moon. This is one of ZC's fave spots. It's truly cool and the food is scrumptious. I'm semi-addicted to vegetarian wrap sandwiches (which means I'm addicted but in denial, I suppose), and theirs is no disappointment. Sprouts, avocado, hummous, fresh chewy wrap, red tomatoes, and an unnecessary but delish slice of Swiss cheese. (They normally add black olives but I said hold those. Yuck.)

Anyway, while we were waiting for my sandwich... which took a LONG time... one of the waiters thought it would be cute or funny or something to give ME shit about rolling the silverware up into napkins for him. I guess at 11:30PM on a Friday after a 4-hour bus ride and particularly difficult week, I wasn't outgoing enough for him. So Zenchick says "Gimme the silverware, I'll roll it." "No," the waiter says, "I want HER to do it" and POKES me in the bicep, waking me up. I am amazed I don't have a bruise. "I was a waitress!" Zenchick insists. "I'll do this for you!" So she grabs the tray of freshly washed cheap silverware, a stack of napkins, and sure enough begins to expertly roll the silverware, as though she did this every day.

You should have seen the glee in her face, it was so adorable. "I can't believe I'm rolling silverware at the Paper Moon!" she said. She placed the forks neatly, perfectly on top of each other. The forks go on top of the flat knife, and the teaspoon nestles into the forks, like an overly-loving family. Or a normal one from Arkansas. Anyway, she was really good at this. "This is so fun!" she giggled. Fork, fork, knife, spoon, TWO napkins, place diagonally, fold once, tuck the ends, roll, roll, place in the bin with the rest. Like clockwork. I watched.

"Notice the staff doesn't even notice I'm doing this!" Zenchick said. "They notice," I said. "I'm sure they are too busy to care. They probably are grateful."

ZC gets out the cellphone. "I have to tell Mike this!" She dials the phone. "Hi, I'm in the Paper Moon rolling silverware for the staff!"

"I'm out of napkins!" she suddenly said. "Hey," she called to the staff person behind the counter "I need more napkins!" Sure enough, they handed her another stack, and she happily returned to her task. The waiters were amused.

Eventually I started to roll them too. How could I resist? I did it exactly as she did... but I am a novice. I only waited tables for one year, and we didn't roll silverware. I couldn't quite make the perfect little bundle that ZC did. But... it was fun. And seemed to pull me out of my stupor.

At some point I paid for my sandwich and we went home. I've been in town only a few hours, it's the middle of the night, and I've already got stories.

Oh and by the way... Taz really IS that cute.

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