Now that I live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it is unbelievably difficult to describe the appeal of the 24-hour New York Greek diner to those who have never experienced it.
Literally, anything you can imagine is on the thirty-page menu, and if it’s not, they will still make it for you.
For teens and twenty-somethings, if you can find someone sober enough to drive you there, the diner is a late night last stop for some hangover food.
But no cheese fries and puking under booths this morning.
No. This was a classy “working” breakfast.
I was starving, but unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of breakfast foods. One thing I do like is bagels. So while everyone else ordered eggs or toast, I ordered the bagels and lox.
It looked like Archie farted a bullet; he bounced right up into the sky from his chair.
“Bagels and Lox! Bagels and Lox! The most expensive thing on the breakfast menu!?!”
Christ. I hadn’t even looked at the price. I didn’t even realize The Congressman’s campaign was paying for breakfast. My dad had given Peter and me some cash that morning for such incidentals.
“I…I’ll pay for it.”
I stammered, red-faced, Peter grinning like a Cheshire cat at my embarrassment. He knew I was dying inside.
To relieve the tension or merely to bring the attention back to himself, The Congressman told a story of the last time he was on the campaign trail. He stood in front of a group of firemen and during his speech kept reiterating the theme of the importance of volunteerism. About how wonderful these men and women were to be volunteer firefighters. How important it is for our community to have volunteers like them. To give up their free time to serve an important cause.
At the end of the event, The Congressman made an important discovery.
They weren’t volunteers.
Civil servants just like him. Paid, career, non-volunteers.
Even though we played the “No, I’ve got the bill” tug of war for a minute, I succumbed to the incumbent and The Congressman paid for my expensive breakfast.
The one I didn’t even eat because I was too embarrassed.
On the bright side, Peter and I were able to pocket my Dad’s daily allowance for beer instead.