8.9.09

"More coffee, hun?"

I’ve had many memories at Waffle House. But I’m guessing some of you have never even been to one before. For those who don't know, it's a 24 hour grease-pit. A southern staple of grits and hospitality. It originally began in a little suburb outside of Atlanta Georgia in 1955 and now reaches as far north as Pennsylvania / Rhode Island and stretches west to Arizona / Colorado. Sorry Portland, but Waffle House might be my favorite cup of coffee. The coffee is not good, it’s bland. But the atmosphere is ironically endearing in that white-trash sort of way. A classic American icon if you ask me.

With three of us at the table my friend looks at my other friend and says, “translate this for me, I’ve been wondering about this for a while.”

He glanced across my friend’s brand new MacBook Pro and starts translating arcane Greek sentences from the ancient Nicene Creed devised by the Romans in 325AD. This is a bedrock, if not the bedrock document securing the survival and health of Christendom.

From across the table I hear, φς κ φωτός, Θεν ληθινν κ Θεο ληθινο, γεννηθέντα ο ποιηθέντα, μοούσιον τ Πατρί, δι' ο τ πάντα γένετο . . . God from God, Light from Light . . .

In Waffle House, mind you, he starts telling us about the annoying propensity to which the Grecians utilized reflexive participles. A literary faux-pas if you ask him. I start laughing at the insanity of it all. I mean, a Waffle House is no place for a MacBook. Let alone an opinionated lecture on an archaic language. My life doesn 't make sense and I'm beginning to be okay with that.

And right before this happened on the same MacBook we purchased plane tickets from Shanghai to Xiamen (pronounced Shaw-Men) a paradise city located on the southern shores of China where we will be living and teaching English next week. A United States Passport and a Chase MasterCard were on the table trying to avoid coffee stains. Ten minutes before all this my friend was quoting Shakespearian Sonnets from his iPhone. This had to be the most sophisticated table in all of Waffle House history.

As we were laughing at this juxtaposition our waitress yelled across the room, “Good morning Duke!”

I looked up at Duke. Duke was more probably a local trucker. He had a Harley Davison hat with flames coming off the bill. A cigarette hung from his mouth and tattoos lined his arms. His black Sturgis t-shirt was tucked into his Brett Favre Wranglers but on his feet he did not have boots . . . on his feet he had flannel house shoes.

Duke garbled, “Good morning darlin.”

I later got in my car and followed my friend back to his house so he could use my car the next day. He was driving his mothers car at the time. And I passed a cop and panicked because my speedometer light is out in my hubcap-less 95’ red Buick Skylark. I didn’t know how fast I was going. It was five in the morning. The story started swirling in my head, “Officer, we were just at Waffle House buying a plane ticket to China because we’ll be over there next week and my friend needs to use my car because he’s taking his mothers car back to her so she can go to work in a little bit. He needs to go to this bookstore in Fayetteville and buy himself a dry erase book with the 500 hundred most used Chinese characters in it. He’s really smart, he knows a lot about Koine Greek and Shakespeare and all...you know he's a good guy.”

And I’m sure he would have said something like, “Sir, I’ve heard a lot of stories in my day. Step out of your car.”

7 comments:

  1. faux-pas, n'est-ce pas? Nice juxtaposition.

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  2. Ha. Merci, Vous avez raison et c'est ironique. I guess I'll change it.

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  3. I was hoping the trucker was going to join into your conversation about Greek theology. You know, because before trucking he was a Rhodes Scholar who specialized in Biblical languages, and only left it all behind for the love of the road.

    Alas, maybe next time.

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  4. Whenever Auburn loses a football game in spectacular fashion, my wife and I always drown our sorrows in grease, butter, and syrup at the nearest Waffle House.

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  5. hysterical! "license and registration please."

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  6. So Chad, you and your wife are known as regulars at the waffle joint?

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