Yesterday, R.G. Ryan posted a list of questions (which I have yet to answer) but one of them reminded me of this incident. The question was: What's the longest you've ever waited in line to see a concert/movie/get into a restaurant? And, was it worth the wait?
First, the background: I was boarding with my cousin in East Orange, New Jersey while doing some contracting work for NYSEG. That's pretty impressive considering I was only 19. She wanted to go out, me not so much. I agreed to go anyways since I hadn't seen many of the sites (of NY, not NJ).
Second, the setup: My cousin and her friend decided that they wanted to go out to a restaurant. I was basically just along for the ride. They had heard just awesome things about this place, B-B-Q where the food was delicious and you could get a quarter chicken for like 5 bucks and the cornbread is fantastic!
Next, the wait: We arrived at said location to see a line not only out the door, but around the corner! Were it just me, there's no way I would have waited, but as I said, I was just along for the ride. I am sure that we waited no less than an hour outside in line. Have I waited longer in other places? Yes. But those places had bars to get drinks and seats available. This was just standing in a line outside of a building. As the host passed us several times looking to seat parties of two, my cousin and her friend eyeballed me as if it were my fault they couldn't be seated earlier. (Let me specify that she isn't a cousin in the 'one of my parents is a sibling of one of your parents' way, but in the black folks way of 'we're all related but don't you white people dare make that assumption'.)
The seating: There was finally room for our party of three. We were escorted to a table that was nearly on top of the table next to us. Additionally, this place was DARK! Not ambiance dark either. Dark like I can barely read the menu. Squinting, we checked out the menu although they had already decided long before arrival that it would be a quarter chicken for each of them. I wasn't in the mood for all that chicken so I decided on a caesar salad much to the dismay of my dining companions. I literally took crap from them for a solid 10 minutes about we came over here for chicken and I can't believe you're having a salad. Luckily, I built my thick skin early.
The food: Finally, the food arrived at the table. I will readily admit that it smelled great. I started to think that maybe I should have ordered the chicken with it's yummy cornbread side. But salad it was. Not the best salad I've ever had, but edible. I'm quite sure I took some razzing on that too as they sat devouring their chicken. My cousin's cornbread was long gone but some crumbs when she started pestering her friend about having her cornbread. Friend wasn't planning on eating it but after quite a bit of pushing, she gave in to the pressure.
For the weak of stomach, it's probably time for you to stop reading now.
The gross-out: As you may or may not know, cornbread is delicious with some butter on it. As such, Friend cut her cornbread in half to give it some butter. This was only a square of cornbread about 3" by 3". She set aside the top half of the cornbread only to look down and find a cockroach, belly-up, cooked directly into the center of her cornbread. I had no alternative but to laugh. There was no gross-out for me since I didn't eat any cornbread. My cousin turned green. Ever seen a black lady turn green? I have. Friend flat-out screamed. All the while, I am giggling my fool ass off.
The bitch slap: Since we are now causing quite a ruckus, a manager comes over to our table, presumably to quiet us down. Friend has gone to the ladies room to be sick as she is a pansy with a weak stomach. This leaves Cousin and I at the table to deal with Manager. Manager asks what seems to be the matter here and Cousin replies that there is a roach in the cornbread. We are, at this point, the loud black people that you want to shush at the restaurant and believe me, Manager wants nothing more than to shush about a cockroach in the food. Manager whisks away the plate containing the offending cornbread and says to us, "That was just a hair." I swear to you right here and right now that my giggles went straight to guffaws as I exclaimed, "A HAIR?!?!?! A hair with a body and 8 legs?!?!"
By this time, Friend has returned from the table, I'm still laughing hysterically and Cousin has asked Manager if he is going to compensate us in any way for our troubles (at least take one of the chickens off) but he says, no, it was just a hair.
This was in 1992, so I would hope that Manager no longer works there and that they've managed to get a little cleaner by now.
Oh, was it worth the wait? Entirely!