Weighty Matters

“It’s really quite an interesting psychological phenomenon.” — Andrew Steyn, The Gods Must Be Crazy

I can’t wear my wedding ring until I either gain more weight or get some sort of spacer for it. (For the record, I’m planning for the second option.) I’ve recently shed a few pounds, and the darn thing just slides off my finger now.

A few years ago, I lost quite a lot of weight and had the same problem. Then I gained most of it back and could wear the ring again, so yay?

Having been through this cycle of ring-wearing feasibility gave me an opportunity to perform a field study on the assumptions of wait staff.

There’s a sports bar conveniently located a block away from work. Wendi and I eat there often enough that the staff remember our typical drink orders. We’ll sit down, and a waitperson will point at us and identify our beverages. We confirm, and everybody leaves the encounter feeling pretty good.

When I stopped wearing my wedding ring the first time, I began to notice something odd. These same servers began to give us separate checks. I pointed this out to Wendi, who found it amusing, but neither of us clearly recalled how the bills had previously been handled. My perception could be biased by own acute awareness of my empty finger, but we suspected otherwise.

Now and then a server would ask whether it would be one check or two, but the emphasis was always on their assumption that it would be two. “Will this be separate?”, “Two checks?”, or the like. Again, we couldn’t remember how the question had been phrased before.

Fortunately (?) I beefed up again, and my ring finger once more sported proof of my official pairing. (Sorry, ladies and gents. This marbled steak is taken!)

The change was immediate.

The very same servers who had been assuming we would pay separately now thought differently.

“Will this be together?”

Same wait staff. Same couple. Same drinks. The only difference was whether I had my ring on.

Recent weight loss has again made my wedding ring fit too loosely. No sooner had I started to leave the ring at home then we were right back to separate checks. It seemed our suspicions were confirmed.

Now, how do I get grant money for a proper study?


The Saga of the Extra Muffin

On my way to a meeting yesterday, I gave Wendi a muffin. She asked why I had it, and I told her the explanation was a bit involved.

So this is the tale of the extra muffin.

I went to a restaurant near work to get an early lunch before a meeting. The owner was at the register, and he was talking to someone on the phone. He broke away to take my order: a Mexican omelette and a muffin. He poked his head in the kitchen and relayed my eggy desires, then gave me a total cost and went back to his conversation.

The restaurant has a punch card for earning a free meal, so I handed over a card along with my payment. He set the card on the register and made change for me. I watched him talk, then glanced at my card. Something wasn’t quite right. I wondered why he wasn’t putting a punch in it.

Then I noticed that the card didn’t have any punches at all. It had initials. I’d handed him the discount card of another restaurant.

With no small degree of embarrassment, I dug out the right card and offered it along with an apology. He punched it twice and returned both cards.

“Have another punch for figuring it out,” he said.

I waited for lunch. His call ended, and he looked at me. Then he looked at the kitchen. He went back to talk to the cook, and after a few moments he returned. He apologized and told me that the order hadn’t been heard.

“Here,” he said. “Have another muffin.”

We talked awkwardly about the weather until my omelette was done. Then I thanked him for everything and scurried back to the office.

With an extra muffin.

An Honest Mis-Shake

There’s a restaurant down the street from work where you can get a shake made with two flavors. I was having a rough day, so I decided to have a shake with lunch.

EMPLOYEE: Can I get you something to drink?

ME: Yeah, I’ll have a coffee and hot fudge shake.

EMPLOYEE: Okay. You can get a second flavor with the shake. Did you want double hot fudge or something else?

ME: …

ME: Coffee.



ME (grinning): Yeah, one drink.

It was tasty, but next time I’ll have a shake with the ice cream flavors of coffee and hot fudge.