My love/hate relationship with waffle houses turned to sadness yesterday when I heard that someone shot up one of the places I used to go sometimes near Nashville. Usually, we got done working late and were too tired to cook. I remember there was a truck stop that my friend Mark and I would go chat after the studio closed for work I was trying to save our show idea post 9-11 without realizing we were completely engulfed on the launch pad, and he was a really nice human being that was trying to get his break while working as a monitor engineer in a rehearsal space, that would smile at me as I had no idea how bad it was, myself. At least I provided comedic fodder and inspiration for his songwriting about love. I think he went out with Keith Urban, and the last someone told me he was with Rascal Flatts. it is nice when you see good things happen to good people. I digress…this is about the love/hate of waffle houses. I wonder, did mark and I ever go to a waffle house? hmm…
first…I never went to a waffle house until I fell in love in New Orleans and we had a few day break from ending the east coast swing, so I stayed in New Orleans and took a bus ride to catch to Biloxi Mississippi for the next show. The bus basically dropped you off at a waffle house in the middle of nowhere Biloxi, and I saw the infamous, “waffle house” sign and when I walked into that fine eating establishment to get a cab or way to the hotel.
walking in, I was met with a blond hair, blue-eyed woman, in a waitress uniform that could have had her on any rock bands album cover at the time. I was thinking, “what is she doing here?” then she opened her angelic mouth and said, “how you doing hunnney?” with her deep south accent, at that moment, i could understand the old sailors tales of how they would run their ships into rocks after being tempted by the sirens of the sea.
it was that day, that I realized waffle houses are also probably the most unhealthy, yet delicious place where you can get the two southern food groups in abundance. what are those two food groups?” lard and sugar.
what I learned over time was how you could bring in others who never had the “waffle house” experience into the family. one time heading to a SIGgraphics show in New Orleans, we had a guy with us from Ohio that never heard or had seen a waffle house. he was so smitten, that if we saw another one, we had to stop and eat again. then I think of all the times in the middle of the night where I would stop on the cross-country road trips to get some food. what I realized is after midnight, most waffle houses turn into freak shows of sorts where you never knew what would be there. the norm was always a few drunk people coming in to layer their innards with a layer of grease after too much drinking, there always seemed to be the potential for a brawl to break out for no reason, and there was always a few folks that would make great characters for a modern-day Charles Dickens type story. you could sit and watch all this while eating hash browns cooked in any one of a myriad of combinations.
what I never really expected to hear was someone walking into a waffle house and shooting it up. I mean the place was already goofy enough and has a fan club of people that somehow became a fan of the place. perhaps they put something special in their butter or pancake mix to get folks to simply regress to the lowest denominator or comfort food and goofy fun of Americana? all I know is I was sad that even waffle house was loosie enough, but now a line was crossed and people were killed for reason it doesn’t appear anyone knows.
perhaps I am just lamenting the sadness of American culture. last night I cooked a dinner where I tried to impersonate chef Paul Prudhomme and when everyone was leaving I asked, “is America getting stranger, or the world?”
“the world, it is a global thing happening. sad.”
then I thought about our trajectory with our current leaders, of which, it doesn’t matter if you are a Clinton or a trump fan – democrat or republican. if the leaders all held themselves accountable – I think the rest of the country might see that as a sign that they need to also hold themselves accountable. perhaps then, people might behave a bit better in the overall social context?
what I see now is our president defending his own junk, attacking anyone that doesn’t agree with him, a turnover rate that is astounding of his teams, and then on the other side – I just read the DNC is filing a lawsuit for some Russia/trump/election stuff. what do I think of it all?
sadly, I think our president has a closetful of lies that are covered up and he is giving license to a lot of impressionable young kids that it is ok to bash anything different than you and call them petty names. the DNC side appears to be the message of, “don’t look at your own stuff and shady backroom deals with Biden/sanders/Clinton and how the democratic party, acted more like a kingdom with behaving in the interests of one candidate, and then instead of looking at themselves – lets sue our opponent
while this behavior might have always gone on, and I was dumb enough to play that game in the world to get more shiny objects and stuff at the cost of people’s hearts and souls. well, it is like waffle house and someone going into the lovable, odd, and goofy dysfunction that the place was – yet – it is a bit of a cult classic for food. now someone thinks it is ok to go shoot up one.
it is not ok, nor is it ok for the leader of the free world to act the fool, or people to simply run and hide behind a layer of lawyers and money versus simply operating out of a space that is good for themselves and society.
greed, lying, and the lust for power are probably more powerful than an opiate addiction. yet, we don’t seem to realize it – or we somehow accept it more these days?
I must confess, I have no clue what came out today – may it make sense in some way. I had many a strange and fun, unhealthy meals at waffle houses. my friend in Santa fe had me laugh that one day we would go visit and eat there.
what is funny about that? imagine a 6’ tall lipstick lesbian dressed to the nines and me walking into a waffle house and eating way too much food. but that is the beauty of waffle houses.
as for the young gorgeous waitress that called me “hunnneeeyyy” when I walked into my first one in Biloxi, Mississippi – I was the only customer in the place, and had about 5 minutes where I wondered, “wow, she must like me…no one has ever called me, “hunnnneeeyy” with that sweet accent before, and she looks like she could be on a heavy metal album cover.”well, the door opened and two dudes walked in and she said, “how ya’all doin hunnneeeey” to them too. it was then that I got busy in my plate of too many calories and said, “I like this place…It is sufficiently weird for me.”
there is no need for anyone to ever shoot up a waffle house. the place is already weird enough.
now I wonder where Mark is traveling on this planet and with what band? it really is nice to hear when good things happen to good people in a world that is getting stranger by the minute. I mean, what loonie thinks shooting up a waffle house is ok?