Greg and his family took a brief summer sojourn to Tybee Island, where they dined out at a little place called Café Loco on the banks of Lazaretto Creek. They sat on the upper deck, which captures the ocean winds rushing inland to meet the marsh breezes and the Savannah River air currents. The last time I myself sat on that deck I spent most of my meal holding down my skirt and pulling my hair out of my lipstick.
Greg's kids ordered baskets of fried Georgia shrimp. Charlotte decided on the stuffed flounder and deviled blue crab combo. Greg, however, ordered Alaskan salmon and a house salad with ranch dressing. In Greg's defense, he probably couldn't think straight for holding down his skirt and keeping his hair out of his lipstick, metaphorically speaking, of course.
Greg's waitress didn't give him the same benefit of the doubt. She went back to the kitchen and yelled, "We've got some yahoo up on the deck who ordered ranch dressing and salmon," to which the dishwasher responded, "Is he a redneck or a sorority girl?" to which the waitress replied, "I couldn't tell. I was holding down my skirt and pulling my hair out of my lipstick."
My Mississippi brother, the space lawyer (if that gives him any additional credibility), counseled me never to order ranch dressing in a dining establishment, because his restranteur friend, John Tatum, reports that waiters and waitresses say ranch is the dressing of choice among rednecks and sorority girls.
He tells me things like this to prey on my insecurities, to make me think back to the last time I ate ranch dressing in public. He knows I don't want the wait staff to look down on me, and label me, and talk about my food tastes behind my back.
Greg, on the other hand, is not fazed by snooty servers, even the misguided one who thinks if she tells her whole miserable life story she'll get a bigger tip. After deriding Greg in the kitchen, his waitress returned to refill drinks and proceeded to relate how she could only afford a green Pinto hatchback that ran out of gas on her way to work, because gas is so expensive and she was planning to use that night's tips to fill it up. So she walked the rest of the way in her flip-flops, since her live-in, good-for-nothing boyfriend, Jeremy, who spends all her tips on beer and doesn't have a job and says he won't get one until after the final episode of The Guiding Light airs wouldn't get off his lazy badonka-donk and rescue her.
So, you see where Greg and the waitress stood with each other. And possibly why, upon delivery of his food, Greg asked her, "Is this salmon local?" causing the waitress to pause with her mouth open and then gush, "Oh, yes sir. It was caught fresh right out there." She pointed toward the creek. "Our chef bought it off the boat this morning."
When she left, Greg told his wife, "Jeremy is never going to get a job."
The waitress announced to the kitchen staff, "That yahoo thinks salmon is local catch from the creek." A ruckus broke out over the sorority girl/redneck wager.
Greg left her a nice tip for being a good sport.
In the end, who fooled who?
I think the lot of us, me, Greg, sorority girls, rednecks, waitresses, maybe you, and especially space lawyers, are all just managing to prevent our skirts from wafting up and our hair from sticking in our lipstick despite the swirl of hot air blowing around us.
(Lucy Adams is a syndicated columnist, freelance writer, and author of If Mama Don't Laugh, It Ain't Funny. She lives in Thomson. Lucy invites readers to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her web site, www.IfMama.com.)