I take a seat at the bar and ask to see a menu. I order a skirt steak and a seltzer, then begin to wonder who Todd English is.
The bartender disappears (to presumably place my order) and suddenly I realize that I'm alone here, in this bar/restaurant. I notice the slight coat of dust on the bottles of liquor behind the bar. A muted soccer match is on the plasma TVs suspended in the corners. And, of course, Sade is playing through obviously cheap-o speakers on the restaurant's sound system.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard Sade in airport bars/restaurants. What is the deal with Sade? Why is it the soundtrack of choice for people scarfing down a meal before boarding their flight? I boggle my mind by trying to contemplate all the thousands of airport bars/restaurants that are, at this very moment, playing Sade.
My skirt steak arrives. I asked for medium rare. But what I get is a piece of meat that's so raw that the pool of blood it's sitting in merits a lifeguard. I tell the bartender. He takes the skirt steak away. A few minutes later, he returns. This time, it's so overcooked, I can taste the chef's anger. "NOT COOKED PROPERLY? NOW I'LL COOK IT PROPERLY FOR HIM."
I've worked in kitchens. They're very angry places.
I pay my bill, then head to the gate, serenaded by "Smooth Operator." (Smooooooth operatorrrrrrrr.)
I wish I'd opted for that Saran-wrapped Granny Smith.