Every restaurant receives phone calls for to go orders. Some people have a bit more tact than others when placing an order. How, you ask? By calling either before or after the obvious rush between 6p.m. and 8p.m.. By also having the order ready in efforts to not have the server recite the entire bloody menu over the phone. Minor details.
This particular woman called at an appropriate time and knew exactly what she wanted; granting her immediate respect on my behalf. How considerate of her, I thought to myself. See, not everyone is a complete dunce- there is hope!
I spoke too soon.
I proceeded to take her order in a leisurely fashion as I had time to do so. She started the order with a pear and cheese salad, no cheese.
“I’m lactose intolerant,” she explained.
“Oh, not a worry. I have a wheat allergy so you can imagine how silly I sound ordering a sandwich-” I responded.
She giggled and proceeded to order the clams and veal- both of which are bombarded with butter- which not only raised a red flag, but an air horn and flare gun as well. I personally have two of my dearest friends who are severely allergic to lactose, and when exposed to it, undergo gastrointestinal rendition of Mt. Etna. So, I intervened.
“Sounds great. Although, are the clams and veal for someone else?” I asked.
“No, they’re for me,” she responded.
“Oh dear. Well, I hate to say it but you may want to reconsider your order. Both of those dishes are laden with butter!”
“Oh…” she trailed off.
I was so pleased with myself in that moment. I had saved her a night of complete an utter misery. Having a nasty allergy myself, I so much appreciate it when a server knows their menu, and can steer me away from any hidden allergen I may not have caught. Awaiting her extreme gratitude to come gushing through the phone receiver, I began listing a few other options.
“That being said, you could do-”
“-well, it should be ok,” she cut in, ” the salad will counteract the clams and veal.”
Counteract the clams and veal? I thought. Does she have any fucking clue what will happen to her? Perhaps I should clarify.
“Sure. But, there is a significant amount of dairy in both of those dishes. I don’t know how much lettuce will counteract anything in this scenario,” I explained, “I’d just hate for you to become ill.”
“Oh, it’ll be fine. I’m not that lactose intolerant,” she responded.
(Insert jaw-drop here).
“Very well then. The pear and cheese salad- no cheese- the clams and the veal. To go,” I read back.
“Sounds great. Could I also get some bread and butter with that?”
Somewhere in town, a fecal massacre ensues…