Monday, July 16, 2012

The Saga of the Cheese Steak

Note: We spotted one of the few remaining pay phones in the US. An overly helpful homeless chap informed us rather loudly, not once, but three times! that that pay phone didn't work.

Yesterday we put our niece and nephew back on the plane for Colorado. I have mixed feelings about all that. Shelly and I had a blast together, and I miss her already. When the other kids were in VBS, we went off on a few adventures. One day, we dropped the kids off at 9am and drove straight to South Street in Philly. South Street is this eclectic, funky, edgy place...not really sure how else to describe it. It is home to the famous Jim's Steaks. If you are in Philly, the first thing you think of when you hear 'steak' is not a steak in the traditional sense...as in T-Bone, rather it is thinly sliced steak fried on a ginormous griddle and thrown in a hoagie roll along side some 'whiz, as in cheese whiz. The thing you must know is that you can't just meander into the place, spend an hour gazing at the menu, and then mosey up to the counter to order a 'cheese steak with cheese whiz, and...oh, mushrooms sound good. And peppers! Yes, that would make a mighty fine sandwich.' Jim's is usually incredibly busy and manned by some pretty intimidating grill sergeants. Ha, ha! I just made that up. Anyway, the first time we were there Jeff took too long to order and got yelled at. I was so afraid of the wrath of the steak man that I ordered exactly what I heard the person in front of me order. Usually the line at Jim's is out the door and it takes a while to get to the counter. Guess what?! There are precious few people brave enough to eat a steak at 10:30 in the morning. With only one group in front of us, I was feeling pretty fine. Then, one of the GINORMOUS grill sergeants looked at me and said 'Ma'am, with summer school in session we aren't allowed to accommodate school age children until noon.' Now I was taken aback and thought for sure he must be kidding. I asked him as much and he looked at me and said 'Do I look like I'm smiling? I'm serious.' Well, he sure wasn't smiling and he sure looked intimidating, but still! I asked him one more time if he was serious and he said yes. I asked him if I could buy the sandwich and leave the store with it. He gave me this 'I'll let you just this once look' and said yes. I was mentally shaking my head, but also didn't want to tick off GINORMOUS grill sergeant so I just stood there. After a minute or so, he looked at me and told me he was just messing with me. Oh, funny, funny! So I ordered our steak 'wit wiz' because that's the way a Philly steak is meant to be I'm told. My GINORMOUS grill sergeant buddy then harassed me about not ordering a beverage. He kept heckling me about it, but all I could think about was that I was approximately an hour and a half away from a bathroom that wasn't infested with herpes, and didn't want to push my luck.  But how does one explain that to your new-found but intimidating buddy? You don't. After a little back and forth, he went to the fridge to get Shelly's water, and grabbed another one for me. It's 'on me' he said, just in case you get thirsty. Thanks, GINORMOUS grill sergeant buddy, thanks!

P.S. All our adventures were part of our YOLOcoaster campaign. I am not really up on ye old young people's vernacular, but apparently YOLO is the new slang for 'You Only Live Once,' which can surely be used as an excuse to indulge in all manner of sketchy and destructive behavior. We, however, used it as the motto for all our fun adventures, and bonus points for actually being able to remember it all later and with no time spent in the slammer. Woo!

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