I was going to call this post “Here’s To The Ladies Who Lunch,” (from Sondheim’s musical “Company”). But, given the lunch in question, I thought I would instead toast the waitresses who have to serve the ladies who lunch.
But First, The Dowager Duchess
My Mother The Dowager Duchess continues to improve dramatically as a result of the surgery. Unfortunately, she’s very weak and very tired and unable to appreciate the other improvements. The only pain she currently feels is from the surgical healing. The nerve pain and back pain are gone. Amazing. The splint came off her hand yesterday afternoon and she’s been exercising that arm and hand ever since. She couldn’t close her hand yesterday. When I arrived this morning, she was holding a pen and signing her name to something. Stunning. She has physical therapy and has actually been able to sit in a wheelchair, take a few steps, and do some other things — with no pain. Exhaustion, however, doesn’t allow her to do much. So, she tells me she’s miserable and I tell her it will get better.
The Ladies Who
To maintain my sanity, I’ve been taking long (and fast-paced) walks every day during my afternoon break from the hospital. Today, I walked more than 4 miles round-trip (6.5 km) just so I could have a meal at Jay and Lloyd’s Deli on Avenue U in Brooklyn.
When I arrived at the deli, after my 2-mile walk in the sweltering heat, I was greeted by the stares of a group of 16 women.
All were in their 70s and 80s… except for one, as I later told my mother, who was I thought between 112 and 117. She, however, had some new parts — nose, lips and cheekbones, at minimum, topped off with a platinum wig that would make Dolly Parton proud.
Since they were all staring (well, glaring) at me when I entered, I smiled and said, “Hi.” No one responded. They just stared/glared a bit longer and then turned back to their conversations, punctuated with very loud complaints about the food, the waitress, the chairs, the water, the air-conditioning, the busboy, and each other. All in stage whispers.
|MY MEAL. AND A SUBTLE WAY OF GETTING A PHOTO OF THE LADIES WHO EAT.
(CLICK TO ENLARGE MY “JUNIOR” SANDWICH… AND THE LADIES.)
I learned it was a birthday party when the woman next to the platinum blonde roared, “Well, is anybody going to bring out the birthday cake?!? Some of us want to leave!” And then in her stage whisper, “My God! These people are idiots.” She then continued, “You know, we’re going to have to pay for Betty too. She likes to pretend, but she never has any money.” Betty called across the table, “That’s not necessary. I can pay for myself.” “Shut up, Betty,” her dear friend snapped. “I’ll tell you when you have to pay.” And then the stage whisper, “My God, that woman hears everything!”
The waitress brought out the cake (that the group had brought to the restaurant themselves) with one candle. They (the staff) sang the birthday song to the honoree, while the 15 other women continued their conversations.
My pastrami sandwich (on rye), square potato knish, Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda, and cole slaw? Delicious!
The floor show? At least there was no cover charge.