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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mac and Cheese + Calamari = Friendship

Isn't it funny how one tiny happening can immediately send your brain to something entirely different? Do you know what I mean? A scent or a song seem to be the quickest route down memory lane. Whenever I smell a woman wearing Rose Water perfume, I automatically think of two people; my Mamo Rita and my dear friend Missi because they both wore it. And I can't listen to the song Cherish without turning into a big ball of mushy tears. When I was about 16 years old, my uncle transferred some silent home movies to video and that's one of the songs he used for audio. So now whenever I hear it, all I see is the scratchy home movie image of my dad laughing on the floor and holding me when I was about one year old. It makes me cry. Those emotional assaults always take us by surprise but they are always so welcome. It happened to me at work the other day.

I took an order for calamari and went to the computer and rang it in like I always do. I must have been in a hurry, because I accidentally hit the button for macaroni and cheese instead. As soon as the ticket printed in the kitchen, I was there to tell the chef to ignore the mac and make a mari instead. He was fine with it and I went on my merry way. About five minutes later, the chef put the calamari in the window and said, "Hey, your mac-a-mari is ready!" I thanked him and when I picked up the plate, I realized what he had said. "Mac Amari." That is the name of one of my best friends in the whole world. Her initials in college were M.A.C. so we always called her Mac. After she got married, her last name changed to Amari, so now she is Mac Amari. Of course the chef had no idea he had just yelled out the name of one my favorite people in the world who I have known for 25 years and don't get to see nearly often enough because we live so far away from each other. So there I was in the kitchen holding a plate of calamari and suddenly overcome with emotion. "Oh my God," I thought. "I have not talked to her in forever." As table 7 waited for their appetizer, I took a mental break and flashed back to college where I first met Mac.

I thought about the time we went shopping together at The Gap and we both bought the same pair of pants and the same shirt but in different colors. Yeah, I bought ladies pants, so what? We went back to her apartment and we put on our nearly identical outfits and did a photo shoot.

I thought about how on my first Thanksgiving away from my own family in 1985, she took me to her parents house in Alamosa, Colorado. Her family embraced me and welcomed me and got me through the sadness of not being with my own family in Texas.

I remembered how she used to have a dry erase board on her dorm room door and I wrote a poem on it once that she liked so much that she kept it there all semester and eventually printed it out on her typewriter and put it inside a photo collage that I still have.

Meanwhile, table 7 is wondering what the hell happened to their appetizer.

I flashed back to the time I had a layover in Denver just months after moving away from there and saying goodbye to all my college friends. Mac and several others met me at the Denver Airport for my two hour layover and we had a picnic at the gate before I got back on the plane and flew away from my best friends in the world.

I remembered how I spent my 24th birthday laying on her couch because I was sick and she still made sure I had a wonderful birthday surrounded by friends and a cake.

All of this came from ordering mac and cheese instead of calamari, but I was happy that it did. It reminded me that no matter what my job is, I have friends that make my life special. I have always felt lucky to have so many friends. There are people who I met in the second grade that I could call right now and talk to about anything I wanted. Friends are important to me. And for those thirty seconds that it took for me to carry the calamari to table 7, Mac Amari was the most important one. I put the plate down and they told me thank you. "No," I said. "Thank you." The rest of the night plodded on but the mood was good because I had had one of those most surprising but ever-so-welcome emotional memory assaults that reminded me how truly good life can be.

Call your friend today. Tell them they are important. They'll be glad you did and you will make their day. I promise.



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25 comments:

Chunky Mama said...

Aww..
Mushy. I like it. :)

Twinkie said...

**sniff** Me too! Loves it.

ChiTown Girl said...

Honey, there are no accidents in life. There is a reason these events unfolded the way they did. I'm glad you had a great night because of it. :)

Hey, I hope you called her today!!!

Mark W said...

I have two questions.

01) What is a..."typewriter?"
02) Did your friend in Denver buy a ticket to get to the gate? If not, how did she and her friends get through security?

Wait...you're not...old. Are you?

The Bitchy Waiter said...

Yes, the airport picnic could never happen now. Those were the days when you could do whatever you wanted in an airport.

Kitten with a Whisk said...

love this post.

Anonymous said...

Bitchy is the second love of my life. My first being his dad. I love you my little curly haired Bitchy.

Stephanie said...

Such an amazing post today...usually you're making me laugh my ass off but today you made me teary!! :)

Auto Title Loans said...

Things like this happen to me all the time! Except, I always have to refrain from crying in public afterward. Isn't it interesting how much power sensory memory has on us? And I'm not going to lie- the last date I was on, I couldn't decide what to order so I order the Mac and Cheese and Calamari together. Weird, huh?
Ava

The Empress said...

What a lovely and sentimental post. I think I'll go call my best friend now...

Noelle said...

ugh! that was soooo sappy.
also very touching, thanks.
I will have to get my laugh with John Stewart today.

G.E. Moon II said...

What a GREAT story. In the next couple of minutes I'm reaching out and calling a dear friend who I haven't spoken to in the longest time. It sad how we all get so caught up in work, life, traffic, etc. - and we forget to connect with the people who have truly made a difference in our lives. Thanks for the wonderful post.

Yours In Health!


G.E. Moon II
www.AbundantHealthCenter.com

Jasmine said...

It's crazy how things like that happen. Though this post is very sweet and sentimental, I kind of want mac and cheese now. :]

Mary A. said...

Loving this! she sounds so awesome!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is freakin' amazing. I'm from Houston, TX so I remember the restaurants where you worked (OMG I reallyreally miss gettin drunk at that Bennigans!) I've been waiting tables for 7 yrs (nowhere close to what you've pulled) but your blog always makes me feel better about my job. In fact, at work when I get a shitty ass table I think to myself...WWBWD (what would bitchy waiter do?) Thanks for the awesome posts, I read it every night while I sip on my glass/bottle of Yellow Tail.

barwrench said...

I thought you should know, everytime I make a "mistake" behind the bar, I pour if into a cup and drink that shit myself. It always reminds me of a post you once wrote about doing that and makes me smile. :-)

Tonya said...

Damn, that was touching.

Sov said...

Get over it. Who the ____ cares about your treackly memories? They are certainly not what I read you for.

January said...

Thank you. I'm calling my bf right now. I haven't seen her in months and miss her like crazy. Loved this.

witchybaiter said...

@Sov: If you're going to use fancy words you should learn how to spell them. Snark is much more effective if you don't make yourself look like an idiot with no attention to detail. Don't they have spell check under the rock from which you crawled?

mcfortune said...

I <3 those flashback to happy moments in life! Thank you (again)for sharing :)

Anonymous said...

Amazing write-up. So mushy:P

Gallo said...

LOVED IT.

Missy Berry said...

You'd better watch it, or you'll have to change the name of your blog to the mushy waiter. I love this post, as I can relate to these sudden assaults of nostalgia. Thanks for sharing, bitchy.

Ela said...

I love it when random things remind me of the people who are important to me.
This was great.