Um almoço estranho

It was a very warm Saturday afternoon. Not hot by global standards this summer, but warmer than we’d experienced for a while. We had a reservation for two at two at a sushi restaurant we’d wanted to check out for a while.

Maybe it was the heat. Maybe the perseid meteor showers of this past week sprinkled starlets of strangeness into the stratosphere above. Maybe it was the karma of the day after the Friday the 13th when Trump was supposed to somehow return to office, despite all constitutional evidence to the contrary. Perhaps it was my post Friday night haze. Whatever it was, it was an odd day.

Since we’ve been back, we’ve noticed that COVID induced (most likely) short staffing at most restaurants has transformed a typically easy going pace of service to nearly glacial speed, but whatever, it’s Saturday, we’ve got time. We checked in at our appointed time and chose a table in a somewhat shady spot on the terrace. Lo and behold, an unusually aggressive and in-a-hurry Portuguese couple practically knocked us over to get to a table next to us sans reservations (and let’s be clear, that’s usually a requisite admission pass at this particular joint on a Saturday afternoon). She decides on their meal and (also atypically) barges forward to the hostess stand to inform all that they were ready, skipping ahead of us and at least one other table in ordering sequence. Whatever, it’s a Saturday, we can wait, though a garrafa de água would be nice.

Then, the fastidious German man appears. Kn95 mask covering his face, he hovers and hovers and hovers over our table with an eye on the one behind us. He sits and immediately begins ordering, insisting on using English to place a complicated order with a waitress whose English is less than good. This before that, that follows this. Saki then this, these things before that. Mensch, chill. And again, we’ve got nowhere to be, by all means jump ahead fella. Fast forward, and you already know what happens, it doesn’t come out as desired and is very unpopular. When the second food item arrives in place of what was to be first in its stead, back it goes with a grunt of disgust. Tief durchatmen, dude.

And then there’s the collection of non patrons swarming in our midst, like pigeons in a park begging for popcorn, they swirl.

There’s the elderly neighbor who painstakingly advances from the alley behind the restaurant, walker assisted, to advance to the cardboard recycling bin to deposit the smallest parcel of cardboard trash known to man. Slowly she retreats, again painstakingly coming to rest to lean and observe the entire meal of the Brits in the corner, hovering just behind their heads as if expecting some scraps.

And then the Scandinavians appear, alpine chapeaus on heads (save the one tubby lad who woke up this morning and thought that this weird rainbow colored loop adorned cap was the perfect match for his “There’s No Future Without Nature” tee). Peruse the menu, leave, return and peruse, leave, return. No idea where they ended up, but with the lunch hour drawing to a close, BK most likely.

And finally, as we prepare to leave and a Saint Nick look alike disembarks the restaurant to clap aloud at the entry and marches off to find his reindeer, the family quaffing rum drinks out of pink umbrella adorned, carved out pineapples appears. I’m not even sure where one can procure such an item in this town.

Odd day, odd lunch, odd mood, odd karma. Man, I love this place.

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