I remember Dad always used to joke that he didnâ€™t have enough money to pay the restaurant bill. â€œWell, it looks like theyâ€™re going to make us go into the kitchen and wash dishes,â€ heâ€™d say with a wry smile. Hey, that always made sense to me.
Fast forward to last week. After ordering up a grilled cheese & tomato sandwich, French fries, a big chocolate chip cookie, and a small Coke in the company cafeteria I moseyed over to the checkout counter with my tray full of food.
â€œ$6.15, Hon,â€ said the cashier.
So I reached into my pocket to get my wallet andâ€¦ uh-oh. It wasnâ€™t there!
Now if youâ€™ve been in this predicament before, you know the feeling. In my case, I ended up experiencing the five stages of grief in exactly 10.7 seconds:
Denial â€“ â€œWait a minute, I never forget my wallet.â€
Anger â€” â€œWhat?! Six dollars plus for this lunch? I knew I should have gone to Sizzler!â€
Bargaining â€” â€œDear God: Iâ€™m now going to slowly reach down and check my left shoe. If you would kindly perform a little miracle for me â€” just this once â€” I promise Iâ€™llâ€¦ Nope.â€
Depression â€” â€œIâ€™m sure itâ€™s only a matter of time before I have to start wearing Depends too.â€
Acceptance â€“ â€œWell, maybe washing dishes wonâ€™t be as bad as I thought. (I just hope the diners ignored the Stroganoff today.)â€
After accepting my inglorious fate, I made my biggest puppy dog eyes and looked up at the cashier. â€œIâ€™m very sorry, Dorothy,â€ I said, â€œbut I, uh, forgot my wallet at home today. Iâ€™ll be happy to wash dishes if you just let me eat my lunch.â€
Actually, my dish-washing proposal was a weak attempt at making light of a bad situation. I really wasnâ€™t happy about the prospect of washing oodles of noodles and other gravy goop off of the cafeteria plates and trays. Then again, what else was I going to do?
In the back of my mind I quickly ran down a list of other potential fates waiting for me aside from washing dishes. Dorothy could challenge me to play a game of â€œAre You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?â€ by making me recite my credit card number from memory. Of course, that wouldnâ€™t be so bad if my credit card number was 6, but itâ€™s not. She could also call the cops or, even worse, get a couple of her fry cooks to drag me into the back room and beat me like a 5-egg frittata.
Needless to say, the uncertainty of what was to come made me more than a bit uncomfortable.
After my little remark about washing dishes, Dorothy quickly tipped her eyeglasses down her nose, staring at me over the rim. Uh oh; here it comes.
â€œYou forgot your wallet?â€ she asked with a poker face that would have intimidated Wild Bill Hickok.
I was going to give her a long-drawn out explanation as to how I could be so stupid to forget my wallet at home, but all I could muster was a pathetic nod.
â€œItâ€™s okay, Hon,â€ she said with a laugh. â€œCan you remember to come back tomorrow and pay?â€
Really? Relieved, I wanted to kiss her, but I just gave her another nod and a big smile before thanking her for being so understanding.
â€œEnjoy your lunch, Hon,â€ she replied matter-of-factly. And with that, Dorothy moved on to the next customer.
Photo Credit: Falashad