Four months ago, I signed up for a popular dating app. It’s worked out so well that I’m sitting on my sofa all alone at 6pm on a Friday night.
NO! I refuse to sit around and feel sorry for myself! I grabbed my wallet and keys off the counter. I shook $2 in quarters out of my change tube and headed downstairs to catch the arriving southbound trolley.
Perhaps I should have thought this through. I know it’s only a “20% chance of rain,” but I could have worn the jacket on the trolley – you would think by now I’d know those things are ALWAYS FREEZING COLD! Not only that, but according to their own maps there are almost no restaurants south of Sea World.
Wait, it’s also a FRIDAY night so my choices are – well, it doesn’t matter we’ve just sailed past the stop with all restaurants. This leaves exactly two choices and conveniently enough they share the same stop as the destination of the only other passenger on this fake “trolley.”
I could go to CiCi’s pizza…or fall back on Golden Corral (formerly Wood Grill Buffet). I just had pizza the other day besides GC was closer to the bus stop. I enter the store, thinking if I only order water I should be fine.
Water, water, water… “Iced tea” I told the woman arguing into the store’s phone when she finally asked what I wanted to drink. While I was waiting for the drink I accidentally ordered, I pulled $15 out of my wallet.
“That will be $17.87,” she said impatiently as I handed her the money. I opened my wallet and found I had exactly $3. The same $3 I was going to use to get back, but it was too late to put it on a credit card as there was already a line of people behind me.
I found a table, put down my drink and hat and went immediately off to the food bar hoping to not run into my server along the way. I go around the buffet getting a moderate amount of everything in the first section before returning to the table.
The instant I put my plate down, the server appeared behind me, reached across the table telling me he has to “check my table” and proceeds to ask me about anything I need and that I should know his name was “Isaiah” and he’d do “anything he could” to help me during my meal. Though I somehow doubted going to the ATM and bringing me enough money to get back to my apartment fell under his purview.
Great, now I’m not sitting at home alone feeling sorry for myself – now I’m sitting alone in a moderately crowded buffet feeling sorry for Isaiah and the maximum 13-cent tip I had to give him. Now I had all this food in front of me, and I could barely stand to eat any of it.
I felt somewhat better when I came back from my second trip to the food bar to find my plate, napkins and drink exactly as I left them, but the second I sat down the server appeared out of nowhere to clear the table for me and get me a new drink (which he got wrong but whatever as he was back in less than 30 seconds).
I finish my food, and leave the coins on the table passing a smiling Isaiah on the way out of the restaurant. Though I can all but guarantee he wasn’t smiling when he was cleaning my table…
Now, I have to figure out how I’m getting back. I check my phone for nearby ATMs and Google Maps shows that I’m indeed at the Golden Corral… at Sand Lake & International. When I scrolled down to my actual location (the nearest “landmark” I could select was CiCi’s which was close enough for my needs), I couldn’t find any “branded” ATMs listed anywhere within reasonable walking distance.
This meant my only option was the Bank of America at Publix shopping center nearly 2mi away. I crossed the parking lot to get to the sidewalk apparently forgetting this was Orlando and that the sidewalks end where the shopping center does. So I’d be walking the entire length of international drive on an uneven embankment, this was just perf…drop-drop-drop…
Sorry, NOW it was perfect… and, of course, it ended the second I reached the sidewalk outside the tourist information office on Central Florida Parkway. With the rain gone and semi-level terrain underfoot, the remaining half mile to Bank of America was relatively easy…it was the walk back to International that tired me out.
Fortunately, it only gave me an excuse to get an iced coffee at the Starbucks across from SeaWorld Park, and while I honestly wasn’t all that thirsty, it did give me enough change to take the trolley the rest of the way back to the apartment…