My friend D and I need to go to Chicago on business—something with Lucent Technolgies, where D works in real life. I wander out of the bathroom—fully dressed, with minimal pocket contents, and carrying a large comic book—and D is waiting for me in the car. I get into the car, and he starts driving.

"Wait," I say, "I didn't finish getting ready! I need my notebooks, or a pen, or something…"

And D says, "Don't worry. They'll provide you with everything you need."

I want to just sit there and read my book, but I figure that, since D is driving, I should be sociable and keep him company instead.

So we are driving to Chicago. I notice that I am sitting in the back seat, which is a little weird since it is just the 2 of us, but then I realize that it is because D is sitting in the passenger seat up front. He's got the car on cruise control and soemthing called turn recovery, so that all he has to do to keep the car going is occasionally nudge the steering wheel. He likes the passenger seat better, because it is more comfortable.

Since I don't want to get finagled into driving, I opt to stay in the back seat rather than up front in the driver's seat.

After a while, we stop at a little restaurant for lunch. We sit at a table and notice that a) there are no menus and b) there is a little cover on the table underneath which is a variety of soups and some chicken shish kabobs. Unsure of whether we can just help ourselves to these foods and of what it all costs, we start wandering around the restaurant and find a larger buffet table. There are still a number of people at the buffet table, but it is late in the day, so the foods are a little depleted.

There are giant leaves of lettuce—I take a single leaf of red leaf and rip it into smaller pieces, producing enough for a large salad. There are various nasty-looking cheeses and fish products, and slabs of tofu that look edible but way too big for one human. Farther down the table is some meat that looks ok and not too giant with the portions, so I take some of that. I see dessert stuff even farther down, but I figure those can wait for a second visit.

Now, really, those soups back at our table looked the most appealing, especially when I see scattered among the buffet items things that the restaurant people forgot to clean and/or cook. But everyone is up at this large table, so I am still not sure if I can eat from our little table.

Having finished filling my plate, I go over to the beverage area, put my tray down, aand ponder what I would like to drink. I decide on a drink and glance back at my tray—it is gone! One of the busboys decided it was somebody's left-behind tray and threw it out.

I find someone who works at the restaurant, sputter that my tray was taken away, and they say, "Well, I guess you'll need to start over!"

So, grumbling, I do. But the buffet is picked even more clean, and nothing looks at all appetizing. I think about just eating dessert, but finally scrounge up some not-exactly-tasty-looking food, and then the alarm goes off

and I wake up.

RedFeather, by

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