At Buddy's Diner
I Was Listening
By Joshua Lewin
In the spirit of These Wild Apples, this series turns snippets of conversation from our dining room into stories for everyone to overhear.
I was at Buddy’s the other day and Chris says he took off. He’s an artist now.
That explains a lot actually.
Explains what exactly?
Chris and him had this argument the other day, I was there for breakfast.
So, what’s different about that? An argument at the diner over breakfast. Sounds like every day but Monday.
Well, no you’re wrong about that, and apparently you aren’t paying much attention lately. Because the diner is open on Mondays. So an argument over breakfast, sounds like any old day, not just any day but Monday anymore. But this one was different. Buddy wasn’t making any sense, and then suddenly he was making nothing but sense. The whole thing just made sense, man.
Now you’re not making any sense.
Right, I know, but let me try to explain.
So there I am, waiting for an omelet.
What kind of an omelette?
Well, first of all, not that kind of omelette. I’m talking about an omelet. They are a little bit different you know. One can’t exactly mean the other.
This again, really? We’re talking about the diner, so we both know what kind of an omelet we are talking about here, okay, let’s just let this rest already. Omelet, omelet. Omelet. Omelet. It’s always this omelet thing with you. It’s just the way I pronounce it, okay? An omelet. Got it.
Well, it’s important. If we can’t understand what we are talking about to begin with, there’s no way we’ll see the end of this thing. There’s an omelette, and there’s an omelet. And it is not the same thing.
Alright, good. Got it. So what happened next?
So I’m waiting for an omelet.
What kind of an omelet?
Well, a Denver, I guess. Does it matter?
After all that, suddenly it doesn’t matter? You’re just going to sit here and do all that with the omelet thing and now it doesn’t matter what kind it is? So who says what matters? I’m still waiting for you to make any sense.
Listen. Okay. You’ll see. So I’m waiting for an omelet, a Denver omelet, for sure. And Chris just spills coffee all over the counter. His shirt’s all untucked, and this is like 1:30, so he’s been there since, I dunno, 5:30 AM and he’s thinking about going home, probably got a roast beef sandwich waiting for him or something and he just starts mopping at all that coffee with a towel, it’s dripping all over the floors, the counters, there’s probably, what, ice back there for water? And it’s just dripping all over that and he’s got that smile on his face, you know?
I’ve never seen Chris smile.
Well, no, fine, I don’t mean like, you know, what Chris looks like when he smiles, but like anyone who’s about to head home and eat a roast beef sandwich, at 2:00 in the afternoon, maybe crack a beer, after working since the sun was still down, like that kind of a smile, you know what that smile looks like?
So Buddy just loses it, right. Shuts down the grill. The griddle. He’s shouting: What the hell is wrong with you!? Gotta keep this place looking like place worth eating out of! And Chris is like: Man, we’re out of here, there’s no one here, it’s just a diner, what the hell? And Buddy’s like: It is a diner, but it’s never just anything, man. You gotta keep up appearances. Or else we might as well just do this! And he kicks over the trash. Bread wrappers, like those plastic bags and those little plastic tags with the teeth on them, they just go flying up in the air like they were sitting there waiting for the chance to escape, and all those omelets there on the griddle they just kind of all roll together and I swear they all swirl up and I look down and there’s Chris’s face, 2:00 smile and all, cooking up on the grill!
Like, in the eggs?
Yes, in the eggs. Looks just like him. Scruffy beard. Pot leaf necklace. And that smile. That 2:00 smile like you’ve never seen. And he just starts shouting at Buddy: So you’re an artist now? Didn’t know you had it in ya. Get the fuck out of here before it’s too late will ya! And he’s laughing and the smile is just getting bigger and bigger, on his face, and the smile on the eggs too. it was nuts.
How was the omelet?
Never got it.
Honestly, I don’t think I’ll have another omelet for a while. But Hell on Earth it was worth it.
What time is it?
Oh, he’s good. I’m sure of that. Buddy though…we’ll see.