“Boi, looks like the suns kickn’ yo ass!”. The sign spinner couldn’t help but laugh at the state of me. I liked him. Honesty in interaction, with no malice in delivery, is a wonderful thing.
He wasn’t wrong either. Not even midday and I was feeling the heat. Being a ghostly, paler-shade-of-white Scotsman, I’m not exactly set up to handle the heat and although I do love it, you can easily see I’m not used to it.
“what’s your name?” he continued, chuckling at the mass of sweat and heat exhaustion I was.
“Graeme, like Gram… pronounced ‘Gray-ham‘”. I always explain my name like that. The rough tone of my accent seems to make it impossible for people to get to grips with my name. There is an artist who paints on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, who calls me ‘Grim’ as he couldn’t understand me when we met. Now that is what I respond to when he says hello. Most of the time I just choose another name, Jim is the go-to. After a brief conversation I was ushered across the road in search of our breakfast destination and you we only had twenty seconds to cross the junction. There is a timer counting you down which adds excitement to the proceedings.
We’d been walking for well over thirty minutes believing that breakfast was the next door up. It wasn’t, it was at least another ten before me caught sight of a Denny’s sign.
“How far now? Have we walked by it? We have definitely walked by it! Should we turn back? It must be near? AH, I am so hungry!” the conversation went in circles, each one of us spouting each one of these statements at some point.
“Denny’s! There it is. Must have moved it” said Niall with a hunger and relief.
“Thank God! Definitely wasn’t this far up last time” replied Stef.
“The Woman at the Virgin desk did say that things had changed” commented Boss.
It hadn’t changed that much; we had actually missed the Denny’s we were looking for, about twenty minutes previously, but had failed to notice the glaringly obvious yellow and red signs that point you in. We discovered our mistake days later and there was a taste of bitterness about it all. The walk had famished us. We were ravenous, about ready to cannibalise each other.
“Hello, how many?”, whoever is out in front always gestures a number with their hands, “Four? Just one minute, thank you”.
Every greeter seems like an automatic tape recording. It’s easy to see why, and how, we will be replaced by machines in mere minutes. We stood and waited next to a the creepy ‘Balloon Guy’ for our server to lead us to the banquet.
“Four? Excellent! Fallow me ma babies”.
She was a joyful, voluptuous, black beauty, who had such command and presence over us, we could only follow. I remember thinking she must have been a mother and I wouldn’t cross her. I wish I could remember her name. Christine, maybe, I can’t be sure but I was instantly entranced by her. We all were. “I’ll let you look through the menu an I’ll be back in a minute, OK ma babies?”. We were more OK. That was a great breakfast. Pancakes, topped with crispy bacon, topped with syrup, topped with butter, sided by french toast which is sided by eggs-scrambled and all nestled on a gleaming white plate with a lovely cut of gammon ham to finish it. Filling, fulling, fattening and flavourful. Great breakfast. Although a chocolate milkshake at ten in the morning wasn’t my greatest idea.
“Thank you ma babies, have a good day!”. What a woman.
We shopped a bit that afternoon.