Lenoir County man stranded on Beltline
Last Saturday I was scheduled to do a little recording work in Raleigh, so I called up an old buddy to see if he wanted to meet for breakfast.
My friend Correai Moore and I met at a revered Raleigh restaurant with visions of omelets and pancakes in our heads. Normally I'd reveal the name the restaurant in hopes of driving some business their way, but the experience was odd so I’m keeping the name a secret.
First things first, the parking lot was packed at 8:30 a.m. People parked their cars on curbs, in front of fire hydrants, and in one unfortunate case, the kitchen. It was as if Elvis and Frank Sinatra were working out their new Vegas act in the dining room. Surely, I thought, a place this crowded must have great food.
In short, I was glad to be there, and frankly, lucky to be alive.
I left La Grange at 7 a.m., which resulted in 90% of my drive being devoid of traffic. That all changed when the nice lady from Google Maps instructed me to merge on to I-440, - The Devil's Highway - known to most as The Beltline.
It may not have been the best idea to tackle The Beltline on an empty stomach. To properly navigate the unending wave kamikaze drivers who believe the Autobahn now reaches Wake County requires a lot of calories. It would be less stressful to tap dance through a minefield in clown shoes than to deal with these most assuredly insane motorists
It may just be an internet rumor, but I heard Richard Petty once pulled over while driving on The Beltline out of fear for his life. Evel Knievel reportedly wouldn’t allow his private jet to even fly over it.
Speed isn't the only thing that makes The Beltline the automotive equivalent of a bungee jump without a helmet. Turn signals are apparently taxable in Wake County because I was the only rube within miles taking the time to give one. Not only do these people not give turn signals, they also change lanes in such an abrupt manner it's as if they're simultaneously being stung by a bee.
After nearly being run over by someone driving a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle that was being held together by several generations of Bondo and a GIVE PEACE A CHANCE bumper sticker, I was happy to sit down for an old school breakfast. During the week I drink these spinach/banana/blueberry smoothies The Wife makes for me, but on the weekend breakfast usually consists of something fried that at one point had a personality.
Our beverages were served in Mason jars, which was a good sign. Be it tea, lemonade or Havoline, everything tastes better when served in one of these jars:
I ordered an omelet, while Correai went with pancakes. While waiting for the food I quizzed Correai on his new life as a married man. Having been an apartment guy for his entire adult life, he's now getting used to maintaining a house, a yard and neighbors. He also mentioned that he'd gained a little weight since he got married last summer.
When I asked what was he going to do about the weight, he replied: "buy bigger pants."
A few minutes later the waitress brought the food, and it looked great. Correai's pancake was the size of a hubcap, and my omelet looked as if it were scooped from the sun. Of course the omelet had bacon and cheese on it, and to be honest I'd probably eat an alarm clock if it were smothered with cheese and bacon.
After a few bites, I noticed something peculiar. For some reason, the omelet tasted like green peppers - which were an option on the menu but I didn't order them. When the waitress came over I asked if they'd put green peppers in the omelet.
"Do you not like green peppers?" she asked.
"Not to eat," I replied.
Eventually, we figured out the omelet didn't contain green peppers, but it had been cooked on a griddle that green peppers had been cooked on.
"I can get them to cook you another one on a griddle that hasn't had green peppers on it," the waitress offered, but I didn't want to be 'that guy', so I told her it was okay and soldiered on.
Minor food issues aside, I had a good time catching up with an old friend. I've been parked beside the exit that'll take me back to the Beltline for two days now, slowly typing this column on my phone. Hopefully by the middle of the week I'll have enough courage to get back on the road and head home.
Jon Dawson's humor columns are published weekly by Neuse News. Contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.jondawson.com.