|Gary pushed the door of the Salty Dog Diner open as swiftly as if it was a shower curtain. He hurried to the first stool he found, and beckoned the waitress.
“An order of toast, two eggs, and a small coffee, please.” He glanced at his watch.
“Would you like white or wheat bread?” the waitress asked calmly, holding a pad and a pen.
“Yes, please, with two eggs…”
“White or wheat bread?” she repeated, slower and a bit louder.
“Huh? Oh… white please.” Gary took a newspaper and started reading the headlines.
“How would you like your eggs?” the waitress said, writing on her pad.
Gary gave a little start, seeing that she was still there. “Yes, two of them, please, with a coffee.” He went back to reading his paper.
“Scrambled or sunny-side-up?” the waitress said patiently.
“Yeah, it’s a bit cloudy, but it should be a warm day,” Gary replied absent-mindedly, without looking at her.
The waitress gave Gary a confused look. “Your eggs, Sir. Would you like them scrambled,” she made a scrambling motion with her hand, “or sunny-side-up?” She flipped her hand back and forth.
Gary frowned, and waved his hand. “Doesn’t matter. I’m in a bit of a hurry… Scrambled is fine. Whatever is faster.”
She scribbled on her pad, and asked, “How would you like your coffee, Sir?”
Gary closed his eyes, and re-opened them slowly. He slammed the newspaper on the table, took a deep breath, and said, “Just – regular; milk – and – sugar.” He took the paper again and resumed reading.
The waitress discreetly disappeared. She reappeared a minute later, waited to get Gary’s attention, then announced, “We’re out of white bread, Sir. Would you like wheat instead?”
She took Gary’s silent glare for a yes and disappeared again.
She came back a while later, with his plate, a cup of warm coffee, and a variety of jelly cups.
“Well, you didn’t ask me what kind of jelly I wanted. How rude of you!”
The waitress just shook her head and left.
After gobbling up his breakfast, Gary left a ten-dollar bill on the table and hopped in his pick-up truck.
He left the parking lot with a screech, and quickly reached a just-over-the-limit speed.
Just before he arrived at the first intersection, a little old lady slowly turned in front of him, in her roomy, brown sedan.
Gary let go of the gas pedal, mumbling under his mustache. “Okay,” he said out loud, “just pretend she’s your grandma.” He took a calming breath, and meekly started following the sedan, at half his previous speed, while whistling a little tune.
A few seconds later, he passed the lady on the shoulder, and pushed on the gas pedal, to make up for the wasted time. “Sorry, Granny, gotta go!” he said, looking in his rear-view mirror.
After speeding through a few yellow lights, slowing down to fifty miles an hour in a school zone, and screeching through a few more intersections, he finally reached his destination.
His frown changed to a smile, as his friend Mark greeted him.
“Hey, Gary! You’re just in time. It’s high tide, and some of the guys are already catching. Grab your rod, the boat’s ready to go!”
Gary sighed. It was refreshing not to have to make any decisions for a few hours.