You might think this was just thoughtful caution on the part of the owners to make sure their employees would get home before the ice storm that we didn't have started. But remember...this is South Louisiana. People will use any excuse they can to go home early and cook gumbo. In fact, Kim's EMT partner who usually drives around in an ambulance saving lives all day long was given the day off today in order to cook gumbo for the entire ambulance station. Actually, I really can't be too critical about that because yesterday they responded to a call where they found a toddler with a fish hook stuck in her eyeball. I think I would need a day off after that too.
I love Deano's, I've never had a bad meal there. Last night I got their guiltless pizza (which is really good, by the way) along with a small spinach salad and their yummy fat free tomato vinaigrette dressing. Then I had a slab of birthday cake for dessert. But that wasn't at Deano's. We were just leisurely enjoying our meal then looked up to notice that we were the only customers left and they were shutting down for the night. We asked the waitress if we were holding them up but she said, "Oh no, not at all!" Then she brought us our checks and asked if I wanted anymore tea because they were about to dump it. When they asked us to lift our feet so they could vacuum under us, we thought it might be best to have birthday cake someplace else.
We decided to head over to Johnston Street Java to have some of the yummy cake that Lisa brought. I don't remember what we were talking about when we got there but it was obviously something really funny because we all walked in laughing (maybe a little too loudly) causing everyone in there to turn around and give us the stink eye. When we noticed the soft, soothing background music and the scattered groups of students trying to study along with random other people with their noses buried in their laptops, we turned the volume down a couple of notches and tried to fit in.
We quietly ordered some warm and delicious beverages and we admired the lovely cake before devouring it. One of my favorite things about Johnston Street Java is that they have coconut syrup for your coffee. Starbucks and CC's don't. That earns them extra points in my book because my favorite coffee beverage is a white chocolate mocha with coconut.
I also like JSJ because when you go over to the little coffee accessory station (whatever that counter is called where they have all the napkins and sugar and stuff) they have real metal knives, forks and spoons instead of plastic ones. I'm not some kind of green Nazi like I wrote about here who strives to maintain a zero waste lifestyle. I'm not even close but don't get me wrong, I'm all about sustainability as long as it doesn't inconvenience me. I just like the metal silverware because it makes me feel special...like they care enough to let me use their good dishes.
When our warm and delicious beverages were ready, I picked them up at the counter and asked the barista if they had any small paper plates that we could use for the birthday cake we brought in. She said no, but she very eagerly gave me a stack of their regular non-disposable plates to use and she encouraged me to help ourselves to the silverware and whatever else we needed. I thought that was really extra cool of her since they sell cupcakes and pastries there but didn't seem to mind at all that we brought our own.
So as not to disturb the other obviously more sophisticated patrons, the four of us huddled over the cake and quietly sang the happy birthday song in a whisper. Then we enjoyed our dessert, visited with each other, and occasionally listened in on the conversation at the next table. That's not as bad as it sounds because they were obviously nursing students who were studying and we couldn't understand any of the words they used anyway. And it wasn't like they knew we were eavesdropping.
A couple of days ago (on my birthday, in fact) I had coffee with a friend at the coffee shop in Barnes & Noble. She's someone I really enjoy visiting with and before I know it, three hours have flown by. Anyway, at some point in the conversation, Jayson called me and for some reason we started talking about Groundhog's Day and Punxsutawney Phil. I told him about a Facebook message I got from a friend who wished me happy birthday and said something like, "It's a big day for you and Phil!" I think I read that message in the morning and was not operating on all four cylinders because all I could think was: me and Dr. Phil have the same birthday?? Then later I realized she was talking about Punxsutawney Phil. Der.
So this random man at a table behind us started laughing and when I hung up the phone he said he couldn't help but overhear my conversation and he wanted to know when Groundhog's Day was. I told him it was that very day, and was also my birthday...at which time two random ladies at the table next to us told me happy birthday and started talking about the movie Groundhog's Day.
I had completely lost control of the conversation. Random Man wanted to discuss the history of Groundhog's Day, followed by the weather and how it was hindering his bus trip to...I forget where...which would be inconvenient for his children because his wife died 3 months ago, blah, blah, blah. What could I do? He played the dead wife card. Nothing trumps the dead wife card. And yes, I did feel very badly for him because God knows that one of my worst nightmares is losing my husband. I was sympathetic and pretended to listen long enough to be polite but not well enough to remember any details.
I did finally manage to resume my conversation with my friend, but from that point on it was obvious that Random Man felt like he was one of us. I refused to make eye contact with him again, lest he be sucked in by my freak magnet's pull, but it didn't do any good. In my peripheral vision I could see him smiling and nodding as my friend and I talked, as if he was just as much a part of the conversation as we were. And like I said, we talked for several hours. And he listened for several hours.
Back to Johnston Street Java. After our cake and visiting and eavesdropping, Taylor and I stopped at Winn Dixie on our way home to get dog food. I was wanting to make a pot of homemade soup so I grabbed a buggy to get the stuff for that. I had no sooner tossed my giant purse into the seat of the buggy when a voice came over the loud speaker and said, "Winn Dixie will be closing in 15 minutes." What the heck??!