Adrenaline Shots to the Head and the Night Bus

Posted on March 25, 2011


Dear Hard (to get a table..) Rock Cafe,

Food was great. Server was really great. BUT we waited for over an hour for a table. I hate wait. We did not make a reservation and glared at all the people chowing down at all the sinful American food. By the time that we got seated we settled and put all the shopping bags in order, reviewed the menu and were set on our order of drinks and chow in less than 2 minutes. Nachos to start and two beers and a Long Island Iced Tea for me. If I am paying 10 euro for a drink you better believe that it best have all the liquor one can handle in one glass all at once. When in doubt drink everything together. A server came to us and told us that we were accidentally seated and should get up and go back inside to wait. Are you kidding me?! We each refused and silently said our vaffanculos under our breath. Waiting for over an hour was enough to set us over the edge. It was nearly 10 pm and we were starved and had angry empty stomachs. About three other servers came to try to get us to move and one succeeded when she promised that she had a table ready and we would not have to stand and wait.

Our server greets us and tells us that she will be right with us. First time ever that we were seated and greeted before we sat for ten minutes in any restaurant in Rome! Speaking of seats…the bathrooms here were normal Americanized toilets. There were toilet seats! AND they were on the same level as the dining room. The toilets are always down some steep stairs to the dungeons of darkness and smelly underground. I think that I like this place and will return again for some American food if it strikes me. I got a little buzz from my tall tea and we had some good laughs around the table. We ate the entire huge plate of nachos as if we were part of an eating contest in less than ten minutes, easily, and I am not proud. I was full before my pulled pork sandwich was coming to assault my mouth and tummy. I barely ate my main course and was not about to consider dessert. Another thing that happened at this place was that our bubbly waitress came by to see how we were doing and if we were enjoying our food!? Never happens. It is more to the effect of “here is your food. Ask for the check when you are done. I will disappear when you really need me so don’t be in a rush.” I was impressed by this service that I am very much used to in the States. Hell, if we were in the States after all the wreck with the seating twice I could have had a free appetizer and a round of drinks after complaining to a manager. Not here. I wouldn’t dare. I leave the complaining to Mickey. He’s the “me” in Rome when it comes to fine dining and critiquing.

In fact, this guy has been teaching me many things about myself that I didn’t care to realize. Number one: I complain. Number two: I bitch a LOT about all. And three: maybe I am a “nice” girl after all. I only realized that I was a massive complainer since I have become so quiet and observant here that I found time to listen to others and not just have my chance to talk. I still don’t talk much and since listening I realize that this guy is just like me. Good eyebrows and a keen taste for the best. He also shared with me that when he can’t sleep it is because he is thinking about (in this order no less!) shoes, cars or me! Unreal and such a coincidence that his and my thoughts are one of the same…this guy is truly the best thing that has happened to me since! But you only acquire the best by saying that something sucks and you want better. You must say what you want and only complain if you are not specific. One will get what he or she asks and if it is not to their liking? Send it back! The customer is always right and nothing is ever to be blamed on the chef! Rules of life. (And the chef does not clean the kitchen after the meal is prepared by he or she.)

When we left the restaurant finally we walked for a bit and caught a taxi. Another first of many events today! This ride was brilliant since I did not have to pay and I was dropped right in front of Mickey’s work. I went in to say hello at almost midnight. I still get that “nervous-excited” feeling when I know I am going to see him. I will never call them “butterflies”…EVER.  The real medical term for this “feeling” is actually a release of epinephrine/adrenaline that is secreted from the adrenal glands. In other words there is no purple and pink with flittery wings: in correct terms, this  has to do with an automatic reaction of neurotransmitters that manifest in the stomach. It is all part of the sympathetic nervous system. It’s science not a flying insect damnit. This guy definitely gives me daily doses of epinephrine. Okay, maybe not daily, since I don’t see or talk to him everyday but I can admit that weekly adrenaline escapes and overwhelms me.

After my epinephrine calmed he walked me back outside to catch my bus. He realized that my regular bus was not running and that I would have to take the “night bus” and I looked at him with worry. The night bus sounds so scary and dark. I have flash scenes of the movie Ghost for some reason and shudder. He tells me the short version of his night of serving a party of 85 chinese with a set menu that he help to create. He told me about the menu last night and was super excited about the courses and the order of the menu plans. I have not seen anyone so excited to talk about food like this that is not actually related to me! He is going on and on about an extensive menu that he himself is not actually going to eat! Reason 37 he gives me adrenaline shots to the head. When I walked in was his only short break that he has had all day since 4pm when he clocked in. This guy seriously works very hard and reminds me that everything that he has is because he “made it with his own hands.” He sees my “night bus” approaching and tells me to hurry and catch it! I give him a quick kiss goodbye and turn away and jump on the dirty night bus. I look around and realize that the night bus is really dark and dirtier than the day bus. I make absolutely no eye contact and hope and pray that the bus takes me the right direction home. There is no way that I would ever walk that far past 10pm anywhere in Rome alone. Once we near a stop I am familiar with I jump out at a 4-way cross street. I don’t want to risk having the bus go the wrong way and get lost at midnight. I cross a short bridge over the river to the bus stop in front of the ospedale (hospital) and wait for another bus that takes me directly to my street. Once I get on another I realize that my dark night bus is right in front of us! I got off for absolutely no reason and this bus was going all the way to my house. I learn the hard way all the time when it comes to transportation in this city. I have run and chased the wrong bus more than once. I laugh to myself as I get to my building but am happy to know that there is a bus that takes me straight home from his work with no stops. I take out my phone to charge it and see there is already a message from him to let him know when I am home safe. Ahhh epinephrine once again.


Posted in: When in Rome