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David Sedaris ate at Denny’s

August 20, 2015


Thursday. My writing has been going poorly. Yesterday I wrote about my first day in the Marines. Today I feel positive that I don’t give a damn about my first day in the Marines. Why did I spend any time writing about that? It was nearly 50 years ago!
Yesterday I took our car to Jerry, my trusted mechanic who owns a shop about a mile away on the other side of down town. You see, a warning message appeared near the speedometer but the LEDs have burned out, or something, and I couldn’t read it. My bike hung out the trunk.
In the old days (before the LEDs burned out) if I took care of the problem the warning message would go away. Only this time I didn’t know what to fix, so the warning came on with a “ding” each time I started and stopped the engine.
I had checked the oil. It was good. I had checked the brake fluid. No, I couldn’t find it. I called Jerry who told me to remove the air cleaner. Then at first I couldn’t check the brake fluid because I didn’t know how, so I poured some brake fluid into the reservoir until it ran out the top. Then I wiped the outside of the reservoir with a nice rag I had, the Harley-Davidson rag I had just used to wipe the oil dipstick. Then I topped off the coolant and windshield washing fluid with faucet water. What else could the car want?
Still, the warning message and dings did not go away. I finally phoned Jerry, my mechanic. I have his number in my $14.95 Tracfone. That was last week.
Yesterday, after taking in the car so Jerry could figure out what was wrong, he called me back an hour later.
After I had driven the car in to Jerry yesterday I took my bicycle out of the trunk for further transportation. My bike rode in the trunk, half sticking out, trunk lid almost down. A 1970-era reddish pink Hiawatha girls bike, one I never need lock up because it looks worthless but is actually damned reliable. I went to the library on my way home.
Billings has a beautiful new library, easy to use, with self check-out, interesting architecture. LEED certified. I checked out a book by Ernest Hemingway and another by H.P. Lovecraft. I pedaled on home. I know I’m not supposed to ride on the sidewalk, but I did. I even met another cyclist who stayed on his right edge. I overtook a walker so I said, “on your left.” He just kind of looked at me, like, huh?
Today I shall pedal back to Jerry’s shop for the car. The problem was that a brake light bulb had burned out. Of course, the question is how much he will charge me.
I didn’t pedal. Instead, I walked to Jerry’s. The First Interstate Bank looked hazy and the sunlight on the street had a curious yellowish look. Forest fires, I thought. I tried to look at the sun but it was blinding, not red as I had hoped. I decided to visit Denny’s Restaurant on the way to get the car.
A tall Black man was sitting near a sign asking us to wait to be seated, so I sat next to him. I asked him if he was waiting to be seated, but he said he was waiting for the manager.
Took a long time for my “senior omelette” but the employees were entertaining. A cook asked another cook not to be sarcastic. I noticed one of the waiters was Asian. One of the cooks was Black. I couldn’t identify any other ethnicities, but I was satisfied with the diversity. Our friend Hilary works there, but she must have a later shift or had the day off, I thought. The waitress apologized for the wait. She said all of the cooks were newly hired.
One time a couple of years ago P. and I went to hear the famous humorist, David Sedaris, speak at the Alberta Bair Theater a few blocks away. He said he had eaten at Denny’s and recommended it. Made me proud of Hilary.
Breakfast was $12, including tip. I shook hands with one of the cooks, and thanked the rest of the kitchen folks for the delicious senior omelette.
Walking to Jerry’s I met a man whose face is much like mine. We exchanged greetings. I hoped he was not a criminal.
Jerry didn’t charge me for the brake light. I said I’d pay for it next time. “Oh, you will!” he replied.

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