Submitted by megan on Sat, 12/06/2008 - 18:10
All last winter, once a week, either Saturday or Sunday, missing only a few weekends in between December and April, I went to the Unusual Spot for brunch. By myself mostly, with a paper for good company.
Because I don't eat wheat or dairy, and because I am a creature of habit anyway, I ordered the same thing almost every time, probably 9 visits out of 10. Though that didn't stop me from asking for a menu every time, pretending that I was considering other options. The servers always handed it to me, but they knew.
You might think I'm exaggerating, but the days I order something that is not what I normally order, it's a notable day.
Several months ago, when I said, -I'll have the special omelette please, no toast- the server raised her eyebrows.
"Really?" she said.
"I know," I said. "It's weird."
"Whenever you walk in, the cooks are always like, 'There she is, Miss Don Fran.' They're gonna be disappointed."
"Well, good to keep them on their toes."
It was a good omelette. But it was no Don Fran.*
Over the fall especially, I've gotten out of the habit of going with only the paper for company. At least one of the Esses is almost always around, Michael finishes work around that time and is sometimes into brunching, and I've had someone occasionally waking up with me.
This morning, I was alone. It felt like a solo breakfast kind of morning.
When I got there, my favourite server gave me a huge smile.
"Just for one?" she asked, noting the Globe tucked under my arm. "You need a menu?"
"Yeah," I said. "I'll look at the omelettes. Just in case."
I snuggled in, perused the menu, opened the front section, started in on my first coffee. She came back.
"So this one here, with the goats cheese, is that really roasted red onion AND shallots? Is it maybe roasted red pepper?"
"No, I'm pretty sure it's onion."
"Hrm. Too much onion for me. The Don Fran, then."
I dove back into the reading and sipping. She took the order to the kitchen. The music, which is always unusually eclectic, was low. I could hear snatches of the conversation.
"So... pepper? Because... yeah.... she was going to deviate, but.... onion. I know."
It makes me feel a little famous.
This both pleases me and makes me uneasy. Like I'm not a real person, just a character in the lives of the people who work there. Like whenever they all get together and trade stories about who comes in, Miss Don Fran makes the grade, and they spend drunken minutes spinning me fantastical back stories, each one weirder than the last.