It’s not like I eat at a certain pizza place every week. But I go there often enough that I have an established and happy routine. I know what I’m going to order (two slices, not too crispy around the edges, please). I know what I’m going to drink (a fountain Diet Coke with a splash of regular Coke in it).
And I know where I’m going to sit: I’m going to take the table near the window, to the right of the door. Sure, there have been weeks when I’ve arrived and found someone else occupying my spot. I’ve always handled this circumstance with dignity and grace. I take the high table by the other window. If the same people are still at my table when I leave, I discreetly leave them a card that explains the scale of their error. Simple.
Today, though, I took two steps into the pizza place and I froze. What I saw made no sense whatsoever.
I should mention that the dining area is laid out with a row of high tables on one side and a row of low tables on the other. Well, after years of operation, they’d gone insane and switched them. As if that weren’t bad enough, the refrigerated beverage case had been moved to the other side of the prep counter, next to the fountain dispensers.
I won’t lie to you: it freaked me out a little. I had entered the Bizarro Mirror Universe version of the pizza place. I expected the counterstaff to all be wearing little goatees.
(Actually, many of them already did. But maybe I expected them to be shaved into clear Evil Mirror Universe goatees, and for the girl at the register to goad one of the cooks into battling me to the death with pizza paddles to win her favor.)
I was having a true Sheldon Moment. I couldn’t come up with any credible reason why the sudden change to this familiar layout bothered me. Yet I found myself wanting to tell the person at the register “But that’s not where those tables go. Why would you do that?” in a calm but very firm voice.
Instead, I complimented them on doing something outlandish and bizarre to create an upsetting “Haunted House”-style effect for Halloween. “But seriously: when can I expect you to have everything put back the right way?” I asked. Their answer was noncommittal at best.
My pizza was getting cold. I thought long and hard and ultimately decided that “low table” was more critical to my routine than “…on the right side of the dining area.” I wasn’t happy about it, mind you. But I will continue to give them my patronage. This speaks well of me.
It speaks slightly less-well of me that I posted an anonymous one-star review to Yelp entitled “The tables are now completely in the wrong places. Why would they even do that?” as soon as I got home.