April 15, 2017

"There was a man at the IHOP tonight who had on two hats at the same time."

"The base was a stocking cap, and over it was a red floppy thing a woman might wear to a garden party. The waitress, Mary, ignored the guy at first. Then she took his order but made him pay in advance. He wanted coffee with his eggs, and when, after ten minutes or so, he still hadn’t gotten it and asked politely when it might arrive, Mary snapped at him and said that she was busy, O.K.? It made me uncomfortable to watch her be so rude. Had she had trouble with him in the past? Did it have anything to do with his two hats?"

From "The IHOP Years/1983-1990: Life at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the International House of Pancakes," by David Sedaris, which just went up over at The New Yorker.

I love David Sedaris, and I have my own IHOP history. First job I ever had — waitress at the International House of Pancakes. It sound so big and so small. International! But it was just that weird new building with the blue roof they put up at the Preakness Shopping Center.

25 comments:

madAsHell said...

Wow! I didn't have to read very long before I started thinking "Sedaris might be gay". His September 8, 1985 entry confirmed it.

Tim DeRoche said...

"Putting a hat on a hat" is an idiom with two different meanings in two completely separate domains. Comedy writing and football.

veni vidi vici said...

Where does a word like "Preakness" originate. The combination of vowels and consonants seems non-native English, but I'd reckon whatever language it comes from pronounces it rather differently as well.

mockturtle said...

Did your experience make you loathe pancakes? I had a summer job at a doughnut shop in my late teens and even the smell of pastry still makes me slightly nauseous.

Paddy O said...

Brian Regan talks about working at an IHOP.

He also has a bit about the buildings.

Bob Boyd said...

Now I'm hungry for pancakes.

tim in vermont said...

They have never been the same since they abandoned that blue roof.

Original Mike said...

I got excited a few years ago when I learned IHOP served biscuits and gravy. I'm always on the look out for good B&G. Turned out to be the worst biscuits and gravy I've ever had.

YoungHegelian said...

The IHOP vs Waffle House divide among mankind is one of those divisions with deep metaphysical significance, like the divide between the Wagnerites & the anti-Wagnerites.

I'm firmly in the Waffle House camp.

The Cracker Emcee said...

If it's raining and very cold I'll do the two hat thing if working outdoors or walking the dogs. Knit beanie for warmth topped by a garage-sale felt cowboy hat with a couple of cans of Camp Dry sunk into it. Yes, I'm sure it looks retarded.

Wilbur said...

mockturtle said...
Did your experience make you loathe pancakes? I had a summer job at a doughnut shop in my late teens and even the smell of pastry still makes me slightly nauseous.

I had a job for 3 summers picking up garbage for a municipality back in the 70s, when it meant slinging metal garbage cans instead of hooking up dumpsters like today. After that, there's very little now that pushes my "ick" button.

Yancey Ward said...

Original Mike,

Yeah, if you go to IHOP, go for the pancakes. If you are interested in non-pancake breakfast, go Cracker Barrel.

Yancey Ward said...

If the waitress asked for payment up-front, it is almost 100% certain she has dealt with that guy before when he skipped on the bill.

Original Mike said...

Yancey Ward,

Unfortunately, the Cracker Barrel biscuits and gravy sucks too.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I love David Sedaris too but he makes shit up left and right.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I got excited a few years ago when I learned IHOP served biscuits and gravy. I'm always on the look out for good B&G. Turned out to be the worst biscuits and gravy I've ever had.

Dave's Cafe, a hole in the wall in Port Orchard, Washington, has the only edible restaurant biscuits and gravy I've ever had. You just have to make them at home.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Also, here you go, VVV:

The name itself was said to have come from the Native American name Pra-qua-les for "Quail Woods" in the area.[3] An alternative translation derives the name from per-ukunees, which is thought to mean "young buck".[4][5]

Balfegor said...

Was it really just two hats though?

DavidD said...

Original Mike,

Have just the biscuits or just the gravy been bad? Is there a mash-up that would work--one place's gravy and another place's biscuits?

We do a roux-->white sauce-->gravy recipe and a buttery drop biscuit recipe that's the perfect accompaniment.

We're having sausage cheddar biscuits tomorrow, though.

Steven Davis said...

In my more youthful days, Preakness is defined as a May morning and afternoon of drunken debauchery interrupted every 35 minutes by a horse race.

rhhardin said...

I wear two hats in the winter, if it's cold.

The lower one is warm and has ear flaps, and the upper one has my baby monitor radio attached so I can hear what the computer is streaming when outside with the dog.

In the summer it's just the baby monitor one.

The radio has to be on a hat so that my body doesn't block the signal from the transmitter.

rhhardin said...

I've only been to an IHOP in Miami, rather often. The portion sizes were nice.

Original Mike said...

DavidD - What time should I drop by?

re: IHOP & Cracker Barrel - It's been a few years but as I remember, the gravy at both places was watery and unflavorful. There are 3 local places in town who have acceptable B&G, but I'm always looking for the Holy Grail. I had a B&G at the Chocolate Moose in Ely, MN that was spectacular, but 450 miles is a long way to go for breakfast, not to mention that was over 15 years ago.

Etienne said...

When a man wears two hats you can be sure of two things: 1) he ain't getting laid, and 2) he's low on testosterone.

walter said...

Was the red hat a pussy hat?

At UW-Madness, I used to go to I-slop with a friend at bartime.
My favorite anecdote was one Saturday night with a clearly stressed dude/manager setting cutlery hastily at our table, slamming/sending a fork at my friend's elbow.
Without missing a beat he said loudly "Runaway fork!"