March 7th, 2009 was the middle night of Phish’s triumphant comeback run at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia, a super-fun sold out string of shows that marked the end of the band’s second hiatus. In addition to spending the weekend attending a trio of great concerts I spent a whole lot of time socializing and meeting m’lady’s US concert buddies for the first time.
And there were a lot of them.
Among the swirl of introductions, handshakes, hugs, and hotel room have-a-beer’s were a number of hey-let’s-get-a-bite-to-eat’s. On one such diversion six or so of us found ourselves at a Hooters restaurant. I have no idea why we went to Hooters; it must have been the closest place. Either that or we were already sick of Applebee’s or were unwilling to shell out the big bucks for a place like The Keg, which should give you an idea of the urban sprawl sort of food options we were faced with in the immediate vicinity of our room at the Hampton Inn.
So anyway, we walk into Hooters and are wearily welcomed by the hostess, a short, stocky seventeen year-old greeter that had unmercifully (for everyone) squeezed herself into her obligatory too-tight orange t-shirt.
“Can I help you?”
“Yeah,” I replied. “Table for six please.”
“Sorry,” she said, clearly not sorry. “It’s going to take about an hour for a table, are you gonna wait?”
I pointed to an empty table right behind her that was set up for six and looked ready to go.
“Could we use that table?” I asked, hopefully.
She turned to me with popping gum and a teenaged swagger that was painful to watch and said (if you can believe this):
“How much will you pay me if I let you sit at that table?”
Oh, to have a time machine so I could go back and and ask to speak to her manager! It kills me that I merely gaped in shocked horror and gave her a poisoned, “Are you kidding?!?!” before turning to the group and insisting that we “go somewhere else, now!” I won’t say I walked out of there livid, but I would have if I hadn’t been in such a great mood when I walked in. As it was we merely laughed about it, agreed that she was being ridiculous and walked to one of the many other nearby food chains.
Of course later on we went to the show and had a fantastic time. The band encored with A Day In The Life, which always pleases me. But the one thing that is really permanently burned into my memory from the day is that chubby Virginia hick asking me, “How much will you pay me…”
It makes me shudder with ickiness.