Today has been a Dine-In Bonus Day for Shawn here.
This afternoon I followed my gut instinct (read: hunger) all the way to the nearby IHOP which offered the kind of hot, toasted club sandwich I was craving. Going to IHOP on saturday has become a habit of mine as of late, a way to reward myself, in a sense, for finishing a week, or as just one of those weekly things I do. Anyway, I got there, grabbed my journal (the real one), walked inside and was seated right away to await my waitress.
“We should be friends!” she said as she approached my table.
I looked up at her and replied, “Yeah? Why?”
“I’m always your waitress.”
“Heh, Ok…I’m Shawn.”
Pointing to her name tag, “Um, you know my name. I’m Vanessa. Hello!”
I shook hands with an IHOP waitress.
The meal was good, I had some good journal-writing time to think about Things, and occasionally Vanessa would stop by to chat or see how I was doing or ask something about me, y’know, stuff that resembles flirting. I saw something that resembled a men’s class ring on her left ring finger, so I played it down, chatted back, and gave her a good tip. Whether it was flirting, cordial chatting, doing her job, or that she remembers my face, it was pleasant to have someone outside my sphere knock on my door to say hello. A bonus.
Some hours later, I went to my recent haunt Austin Java Company to have a caffeinated beverage, possibly something to eat, and to get into some quality laptop time. The crowd there was typical for a saturday afternoon: heavy. I was hungry for something light, so I ordered a cup of their roasted chicken soup (it’s incredible), got a soda, took my table number sign and found a nice seat in the corner. Twenty distracted minutes later (thanks to laptop crashes, etcetera), I realize that it’d been 20 minutes since I placed my order for the soup and that they hadn’t brought it to me. I did the standard glaring-at-the-counter gag, but that didn’t work. Finally, with full realization that they had forgotten about me, I took my receipt and flag up to the counter to prod them again.
“Um, excuse me, but I ordered a cup of soup 30 minutes ago, and I haven’t gotten it yet.”
“What? Oh, I’m so sorry, sir. I apologize. We probably forgot about you. I’ll bring that soup right out, sir, and refund your money.”
The barrista I talked to wasn’t the one who took my order, but he was crawling over himself all the same to rectify the situation. So, instead of getting a cup of soup, I got the bowl (bigger) and a chunk of focaccia bread, my entire receipt refunded ($5.32), my soda for free, and the manager’s business card with a stamp on the back good for 50% off my next entrÃ©e purchase. Talk about bonus.
Snoozy from the soup, the weather, and the caffeine wearing off, I went home to nap for a few hours. Woke up tonight around 11 and lazed around, did stuff online. Then I put on my shoes. Had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, but I put them on because my gut instincts told me I was going out at 2:30am. Then it hit me: I want to walk — because I’ve been itching to do so; the breezy, humid, cool weather tonight is most excellent for walking; and there’s nothing better to do this late at night than walk under cover of dark. But where to walk?
Ah, yes. Whataburger. Can grab a light snack and have a walkabout endpoint at the same time. So I walk. I walk across, along, and through the construction work on Koenig Lane where it’s being widened and improved, checking out the subroad, the equipment, standing on the bridge over Waller Creek to look over just in time to see a raccoon crossing a waterfall to check out the hole in the end of a pipe. I walk along the Texas DPS wrecker yard where they’ve conveniently placed plastic strips in the chain link fence around the perimeter to hide the hulking, twisted, wrecked DPS patrol cars and their workshops. I felt the breeze and smelled the earth, the trees, the creek, and that odd feeling of connection with my immediate environment, that feeling I felt in college as I had my walkabouts, came back for a while. It was nice. I round the corner and make my way up the hill to Whataburger where a long drive-thru line testified to the glacial pace inside the kitchen.
I went in anyway. Ordered a breakfast burger combo. Took my orange juice and order number to my table to await my order. It took them over 10 minutes before they realised they skipped me. So the cashier quickly pulled a bag together and threw in a free apple pie as an apology. And what are we calling that? That’s right: BONUS.
It’s just refreshing to me that by following my gut feelings as I have today I’ve met with Serendipity several times, just like that [snaps fingers]. There’s a school of thought that believes that life should always be lived like that: go where it appears brightest, follow your instincts, listen to intuition, etcetera. It’s not the best way to live life, but it’s good for brief bits of randomness among the drudgery of responsibilities. It’s those tangents that give one dimensional life some depth. A definite bonus.