Using Manners to Get Food when Hungry and a Stranger in a Strange Land.
Here’s the deal, the inside story on a big good time (bigbonton) in this town (population 3,325).
Begins with Hunger.
Go into the Star Cafe & Lounge front door. Ignore the empty Cafe & Lounge area. Proceded on the uneven flooring through wooden door, then navigate the maze of halls and unmarked doors, trying each one. They are all locked or open into shadows of danger.
Hear a big laugh. Follow, people are in this building & they seem OK, maybe. They laugh like that here.
Enter the “actual” Star Cafe & Lounge entrance after a 10 minute search through the empty Star Cafe & Lounge building.
Persist! There are no other choices, wha’ you want Thai tonight? Deep dish pizza? Feel like Pho? Then go home. Dude, you want to eat tonight? Well you’re going to ask the barmaid nicely about a meal. Hat in hand, because everyone here knows
“we quit serving early tonight”.
Persist, call up the manners Grandma told you about. Follow Miss Barmaids directions through another maze of halls and unmarked doors. Fear a trap. You are lost in a building and know you cannot find your way out. I left my flashlight in my daypack. Helpless & hungry, but in America so we’ll be OK.
Enter the secret (licensed?) cantina through their backdoor. You were not invited to dinner. The room of 18 festive Spanish-speaking farming brethern goes silent.
Smile hard, remember the manners Grandma taught you. Some people are eating here. Others might be able to eat tonight also.
Smile and for Gawds sake don’t step on anyones toes, you couldn’t find your way out of here in the daylight, much less “after we quit serving early”.
You may win big like we did! We charmed an off-duty cook into the best Mexican plate I have ever tasted – not just because it was a hard-won meal, but because this burrito had life and was a gift of love!
“Hungry and you fed me”.
Now get a formerly festive brethern to lead you back to your place at the Star Cafe & Lounge, so he “can get on along with his party”.
Next: Place $5 before Miss Barmaid. Now you can smile more easily. Say things like: “Keep ’em coming, M’am. I sure do like it here.”
Saying “keep the change, you are so good to me” also works when your smile and manners need a boost.