“Dad! Where are you going?”
I was in the process of dipping my metrocard in the Q10 bus’ farebox. After reading “Pass Okay,” I looked back at my daughter like, you better come on before the door closes.
We had just spent two hours waiting in the doctor’s office. My daughter had to drink what looked like an eight ounce bottle of water; judging from her reaction as she drank, it wasn’t water (and if it was, it was Flint, Michigan flavored). After finishing the bottle’s contents, she (and as her guardian, I as well) had to wait two hours for the liquid to do whatever it did, so her blood could be drawn and we could get out of that preheated medical office. (My neck was sweating profusely.)
We left after the lady on “The Price Is Right” incorrectly bidded on the brand new Fiat. She should’ve waited until Drew Carey went to the next card, before shouting: “That’s too much!” When we stepped outside my daughter said, “Dad, I’m hungry.” Well that came as no surprise, since the blood test she did required her to fast from the night before. It was almost noon.
As we crossed Kew Gardens Road, I looked at and contemplated whether or not to try out The Chicken House, where through the window I could see undocumented whole chickens being quartered and char-broiled on the grill; that’s when, while jaywalking between a city bus and the car behind it, I heard my daughter joke aloud to herself, “I’m just gonna hop on that Q10 bus and see where it goes.”
Sounded like a good improvisational idea to me.
So I’m in a window seat. The AC is on full blast. (My neck dries up.) And I’m doing my phonetography thing–taking pictures of places we ride past, like a doctor’s office that offers medical marijuana. When the Ancestral Spirit moves me, I say c’mon and we get off at a random bus stop–one in front of the Richmond Hill Library.
(Even though I had no destination in mind, I knew we wouldn’t be going to the last stop, JFK airport. I’m known to sport a bushy beard at times, which means there’s a good probability I’m on the No Fly Waiting List.)
So we walk about two blocks. Along the way an old Asian lady passes us; she’s loaded up with big, black garbage bags full of redeemable recyclables. My daughter, who as of late has taken to returning bottles and cans to supplement her 16-year-old income, says, “Dad, she’s by herself–and there’s two of us–let’s take her.” My daughter was joking, of course (or at least I hope she was).
After nixing the teenage angst-filled suggestion of jumping the old Asian lady for her salvaged glass and aluminum, I saw a diner. The Ancestors whispered, “french toast,” and we made our way over to the Classic Diner. Upon entering, the Belinda Carlisle song “Heaven Is A Place On Earth” is playing.
I order for us: two lumberjack breakfast platters (french toast, eggs, sausage, bacon and ham) with a side order of sour cream. My daughter gives me a look of annoyance, as if I offended her feminist sensibilities by ordering for her. I pay it no mind; the person who pays the entire bill reserves the right to order for the whole table.
When the food arrives, I attempt to pass down a childhood tradition to my daughter: covering the french toast with sour cream and then topping it with sugar (which essentially transforms it into sweet cream). She tries it out of respect, but opts to use syrup for the remainder of her meal.
Towards the end of the meal, I taste some egg shell in my last bite of scrambled eggs; my daughter gets some too, in her second-to-last bite. I still tip the waitress though because it’s not her fault–she didn’t cook the eggs. My daughter remarks that she NEVER tips–not even the Chinese restaurant delivery guy. As I leave three dollars on the table (two singles and four quarters), and head to register, I wonder if my daughter’s ultra-conservative gratuity policy jibes with her Social Justice Warrior persona.
I pass two patrons to my left, seated on bar stool-style chairs at the diner’s lunch counter. One comments on renewing his NRA subscription; the other talks about bringing a “yuge” deer to a butcher. I pay the bill…and raid the free peppermints bowl on the way out.