Extra Lollipops

extra lollipops 2

The movie didn’t start till ten
so we scanned the massive mall
of concrete block stores
for a place to eat.


and seated
by super-cool
teenage boy wearing the required shirt,
red plaid,
and a pair of jeans
just one small movement from falling off his hips.
The very least-Calgary boy,
a misplaced surfer
or skater.
Possibly a poet.

We read the menu,
fought the steak or salad battle
(they have excellent salads),
placed our order from a young man
with less hair,
and jeans not in peril
of dramatic self-liberation.

With crayons, we drew
on the brown wrapping paper
that covered our table.
Ordered a margarita
that arrived
with a parade of salt around the rim.

Little girl wandered into the kitchen.
The waiter bent down,
kindly asked,
“Are you looking for the washroom?”
Her father picked her up.
“She’s looking for food.”
A whoop of laughter
was launched
from the table behind us.
I turned.
A woman mouthed,
“We’ve been waiting for an hour.”
I looked around
but she was addressing me.

We continued to talk and draw and drink.
The people at the next table
shared with the waiter
their loud tales of woe.

A second complaint.

Then a third.

A poster in the Women’s bathroom
advertised four different jobs
in the restaurant.
It’s hard to get people
in Calgary
to work for minimum wage
when a small house
costs half a million.

Their meal arrived
with another apology from the waiter.

When the cheque was requested
the meal was comped.

when we asked for our bill
the waiter said,
“I really appreciate your patience
as we all help out
in the kitchen.
I’m just a server
so I can’t give you a free meal
but I brought you extra lollipops.”

I want to remember
to be happy
with extra lollipops.

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