I’ll have my usual…
This is my friend Jon. We’ve got our hangouts down to a science. It’s no frills efficiency – so we can cut through the crud and get down to gossip. It all started at Sushi West on Hudson Street, maybe a year ago.
He said we were going to his favorite sushi place where they know him and he always gets the same thing. He said he just tells the waitress that he’s having “the usual”. This, I had to see. We sit down and go to order and he tells the waitress (who has no sign of recognition on her face) that he will have his “usual”. Pause. "The Kani Salad,“ he reminds her. "Oh yes, of course,” she says as she searches her mind to understand who he is or what he’s saying. Thus began the joke of “the usual”. Because, other than the Kani Salad, he never orders the same thing.
The handfull of times we’ve walked in there, it’s not like Cheers and there is no Sam or Diane greeting us. The wait staff doesn’t know Jon and they certainly don’t know me. Needless to say, we’re not buying a round of Kani Salads for the bar. Then there is the push-pull with timing. The waitress always rushes the order. She gives me 30 seconds to read the menu, “I’m not ready yet.” “Okay, I come back,” and she’s back 30 seconds later. So then I end up getting the same thing. Always the Kani Salad and spicy Lobster Roll. The Roll always comes before I’m half way through the salad. There’s hardly time to chew. They try to push us out. But we don’t leave. We sit and talk and never order desert. That takes place elsewhere. We’ve always been the last 2 to leave the restaurant and they wait eagerly for us to go so they can close. Yet, they don’t know us.
Then it’s off to Magnolia Bakery. Jon and I argue every time weather we go down 11th or Perry to get there. We always get peanut butter bars, but ask the counter staff for recommendations…but get peanut butter bars anyway. We eat them standing up by the forks and napkins and pretend to get annoyed when other customers need to get by us.
Then we do a mini photo shoot in Magnolia semi-blacked-out in a sugar haze. I’m always making a “I didn’t know you were taking my picture” face and he always does the “I’m shy and cutsie” face.
The only difference between every other time we’ve done this same script and now, is that I’ve never publicly acknowledged our efficiency hangouts. And how much I love them. They are the most unusual “usual” nights ever.