Thevictorians are in Norman, Oklahoma for an orientation camp at the University of Oklahoma for incoming freshman The Pony. It's a three-day affair that's occupying us for five. He's all hyped-up about meeting new people, as much as The Pony gets hyped-up, and as much as he shows interest in people. It's kind of like turning your heat up from 72 to 73.
Of course the trip has already been fraught with blog fodder! Val, like Tina and Ike, never does anything nice and easy. Let's begin our travelogue with today's tale of The Last Night's Supper.
We got into town late. It was about a 10-hour drive from Backroads, accounting for our bathroom/leg-stretching stops and lunch. We rolled into town at 5:30, gathered our wits and belongings, checked into the Holiday Inn Express, and headed out for supper at 6:15. The Pony and Hick chose Saltgrass Steak House, having eaten there before on their campus visit trip. I was eager to see what fine dining lay in store for me, as I watched us pass up a perfectly good Outback Steak House.
Well. Let the record show that Val was not impressed. Come on! Did you actually think there was going to be any other scenario? That Val would feast upon succulent meat from an establishment where no animal was harmed in the making of her meal? An eatery which served bottomless, free tankards of unicorn milk, and provided fluffy kittens for petting while dinner was being prepared? No. You knew what you were in for by the second paragraph.
Hick held the door open for me to enter. Alarm bells! Let the record show that during the entire trip, Hick never once held open any other door for me. Not at rest stops, not at convenience stores, not at Steak N Shake (where we had lunch and saw that tattoos were a requirement for the waitresses), not at the hotel. He only does this when he does not want to be the one to enter and make a decision when accosted by the greeter.
We were escorted to our table and left to fend for ourselves. Which was a problem, what with me forgetting to bring my miner's lamp. I swear. It was darker than McDougal's Cave after Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher burned their last candle. I thought it was a joke. That surely that seater was going to turn on a light. But no. As she laid down the menus and left, I said, some might say passive-aggressively, "Thanks. I'm not sure I can read in the dark." Hick picked up his menu and told me my eyes would adjust. They did not. I held that menu seven ways to Sunday, trying to catch a glimmer of the sunset coming through a window on the periphery. No luck. I asked The Pony to read it to me. Even he had to twist and turn and catch an errant sunset beam to make it out. I decided on the marinated chicken breast with seasoned vegetables, and a Caesar salad, since The Pony read off my choices and said I was allowed a side and a salad.
It was quite hard to hear him, even though he was sitting at my right hand. There was a raucous family group led by a boozy floozy to our right, and an obnoxious 3-man, 1-woman group next to them led by a raging bore. I don't know why people in Oklahoma (Val, the questionable artist, paints with a broad brush) have to bellow each word at the top of their lungs, like calling a cowboy in from the north 40,000 when the dinner bell in broken.
As the evening progressed, Raging Bore grew more and more vociferous. I saw him accept the server's offer of another margarita. That was the third he'd had since we came in, and from the sound of him, he'd imbibed before our arrival. Val does not begrudge a patron his liquor. But his good time should stop before her bad time begins. He was telling stories about picking up girls, and not describing them in a very good light (which had nothing to do with the darkness within that dining area). His buddies roared mercilessly with mirth. The gal went along with it, making me wonder how he was going to talk about her later. It was like a middle-aged frat party. At one point, Raging Bore bellowed, "And then she threatened to knock me out!" Leading Val to declare, "I'D like to knock him out!" and Hick and The Pony to comment, "WHAT?"
Our drinks (of the soft variety) arrived, and a plate of bread. The Pony was on it like a locust on the Heartland. He had sliced off 2/3 of it, slathered his hunks with butter, and devoured them before Hick could pick up the knife. Hick finished it off, leading Val to declare, "That's okay. I didn't want any bread anyway." And Hick to reply, "WHAT?"
The side salads and my Caesar arrived after a bit. Hick and The Pony's were in large bowls with ranch dressing (what ELSE would you choose in Oklahoma?), and mine was on a square plate. Let the record show that the temperature of that plate was approximately -272 degrees Celsius. (A science aficionado will get that reference.) I think they must have chilled it with liquid nitrogen. Caesar himself was limp, and thus unsatisfying. But the croutons were like 3/4-inch minus, the stones of which driveways are made. Quite a contrast, between breaking my teeth off to nubs, and trying to swallow Caesar, who clung to my tonsils like Dracula wrapping himself in his cape to avoid the sun's rays.
The main course took so long that a different server came out to apologize. Gotta keep those tips coming, you know. I think he apologized. Because I couldn't read his lips in the darkness, and I couldn't hear his words over The Raging Bore Show. When our food finally came out, The Pony had regained his appetite after eating a loaf and a half of bread.
Both Thevictorian guys declared by charade that their meals were fabulous. My marinated chicken was the best fowl I ever ate. The seasoned mixed vegetable, though, were shockingly seasonless. Bland! With the taste of only...are you ready for this...VEGETABLES! I had carrot coins, and green beans, and broccoli. They were passable, as long as I ate them with a bite of chicken. Nobody told me this healthy food quest was going to be so tasteless. And full of roughage. One green bean had an inch-long stem on the end. I tried to eat it. Let nothing go to waste. No need to get the vegetables steamed. But I simply could not chew that stick. Not after the croutons took my teeth.
We didn't get out of there until after 8:30. When we got back to our hotel, I looked up the menu to make sure of the names of our dishes, so I would not violate the Truth in Blogging Law. Turns out those seasoned vegetables were actually SEASONAL vegetables!
An honest mistake for The Pony, seeing as how he was not-seeing in the dark.