Friday, September 4, 2015

WiFi, Skipper!

I love books, and I love food.  It's a good day if I can get away from work for lunch and spend about an hour in a nearby restaurant eating and reading.  I used to choose my restaurants based on the quality of their fries and the soda selection, but a new trend with some restaurants has me changing my standards.  

It all started one day when I was at my favorite burger place and as usual had ordered the #5 combo (pastrami cheeseburger with fries and a soda).  I filled my cup with Cherry Coke and sat down at my favorite booth (the one next to the soda fountain).  I started reading an eBook on my tablet when I noticed the new signs indicating free WiFi.  "Hmmm," I thought.  "I wonder if anything interesting has happened on Facebook since I left the office 15 minutes ago."  After spending 10 minutes on Facebook making sure that nothing interesting was happening, I figured I might as well fire up Netflix and catch some Arrested Development.  That's when the frustration started.  Netflix would not work.  Grrr!  Okay, you stupid burger place, I guess I'll get back to reading stupid Treasure Island.  I bet stupid Jim Hawkins wishes he had WiFi.

After that I started going to Zupas more often.  They have an excellent WiFi connection and I could get Netflix without any trouble at all.  Until the day when I couldn't get Netflix.  Grrr again! I suspect Zupas blocked it on purpose to prevent guys like me from taking up table space for too long. But wait, Hulu still works!  Ha ha, Zupas, now I'm going to sit here for another - (looking to see how long this episode of Bones is) - 44 minutes and 26 seconds drinking creative soda concoctions and eating oyster crackers.

A few months ago when Subway put up a sign advertising free WiFi, I realized that I could really use more meatball subs in my life.  And there's nothing quite like that feeling when you've racked up 75 Subway points so you can go in for a free twelve-inch sub.  It is a little deflating when you realize that also means that you've already spent over $75.

Ever since I was a kid, there has been a Skippers restaurant in my hometown of Orem, Utah.  I think I went there once with my mom when I was about seven years old.  I don't remember exactly why I didn't like it, but I think it had something to do with the fact that I was expected to eat fried clams.  Over the years there has been some remodeling of the building, and half of it has been re-purposed as a Jamba Juice.  I assumed the Skippers half eventually went out of business because, who would eat there?  I must not have been the only one making this assumption.  I was genuinely surprised when they put up a sign to make sure passers-by knew that they were still making a go of it.  Not only that, but I also learned that they now have WiFi.

After doing a little reconnaissance, I chose a Tuesday to venture back to Skippers because that is the day you can get the all-you-can-eat fish n' chips and clam chowder special (which means it's something like a dollar less than usual).  The first thing I noticed was that the restaurant seemed cleaner than I remembered.  Even though I knew what I was going to order, I spent a little time looking at the menu.  It struck me that with very few exceptions, everything is deep fried.  They do have salads on the menu, and I wondered what kind of person would order a salad from Skippers when there's a Zupas just down the street.  I bet the kitchen staff freaks out every time someone does order a salad.  I imagine a heated argument in the back between the server and the cooks, ending with the server returning to the customer and saying, "I'm sorry, but we're all out of lettuce.  Would you like some popcorn shrimp instead?"

When they brought my food out, there was a little cup of coleslaw on the side.  I quickly checked to make sure none of the food had touched it and I immediately moved it to the far edge of my table where it couldn't cause any mischief.  The clam chowder was better than I expected, the fish was pretty good when the right ratio of tartar sauce was applied, and the fries - I mean "chips" - were about average.  But the WiFi connection was superb and since it was all-you-can eat, I always had food in front of me while I was watching what Agent Coulson was getting up to.  But that coleslaw cup kept staring at me, and I kept wondering if it had any purpose other than to unnerve me.  I did learn that all-I-*should*-eat was two small fish fillets, one serving of "chips," and one bowl of chowder.  All-I-*can*-eat is a little less than twice that much.

But why do they put the coleslaw on there?  Is it some sort of weird FDA requirement?  I've been back to Skippers several times, and yesterday I overheard the server at the next booth apologize for forgetting one of the coleslaw cups.  To my amazement, I heard one of the group say that he wanted it.  What?!  I couldn't ignore this.  I just had to know what he was going to do with it.  After an appropriate interval I got up with the pretense of refilling my soda, making sure to casually glance over to get a look at this strange person and see if I could discover his diabolical plan.  To my utter horror, he had a fork and was actually putting the stuff in his mouth!  Then, and I am not making this up, his mouth started making chewing motions and I swear I saw his Adam's apple move as if he had swallowed it. And he just sat there, cool as a cucumber, as if he were not doing something unimaginably repulsive.  I don't know how the rest of his group could sit in such close proximity to him.  They must be his minions.  This won't stop me from going back to Skippers because there are still limited restaurants that have good WiFi.  But I'm definitely keeping a wary eye out for that coleslaw guy.  Someone like that could be capable of just about anything.

1 comment:

Jona said...

Ha ha! Another good one! I like to try strange foods when opportunities arrive. I've eaten rocky mtn oisters, mud with a spider in it (thanks Doug), Nutella (thanks Kerri). I don't like to talk about this, but I feel that I must share... when I was a child, I was forced to eat... ZUCCHINI...(sobs and can't continue anymore).