My Howard Hughes Moment

Now, everyone has their quirks, some more than others. I have my own, but on the whole I am a pretty go-with-the-flow girl. However, my relaxed approach to life was severely tested a few nights ago, when I was eating dinner with Mr. Michie.

Now, I’m going to digress for a moment and talk about Howard Hughes. As well as being a genius, it has been well documented that Howard had a few quirks of his own, portrayed effectively by Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s biopic. I think that you could argue that half of his issues stemmed from his mom with the constant need to be rid of anything and everything germ wise. He seemed to keep a fairly strong grip on his OCD until his plane accidents kept him in so much pain. Then he went, just a little, off the deep end.

Anyway, there is a scene in the movie in which he takes his then girlfriend, Katherine Hepburn (played by Cate Blanchett) to a club. Now, everyone who works at the club knows he has a prefrence for things to be a certain way. He orders a steak and peas. Now, the peas have to be of a certain size and quality – arranged in rows on his plate, so nothing is touching. Errol Flynn (played by Jude Law) drops by their table and in a very brazen and obnoxious manner reaches over the lamp and grabs a pea off of Howard’s plate and pops it into this mouth. The look on DiCaprio’s face is one of utter disgust. He is deeply upset, he can’t eat, someone has touched his food, he puts his silverware down and is done.

Now, on Friday night, Mr. Michie took me on a date. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, but to another location they have opened, that is nearer to my school. They had the more established staff working the tables and the new staff wandering around cleaning and clearing. We had mostly finished our dinner, but I was still munching away on my tortilla chips when one of the new girls came by and picked up Mr. Michie’s plate and then mine, I just stared at him, she had just watched me put a chip in my mouth, but I suppose she thought she was there to clean up, so that is what she was going to do.

Now, at this particular restaurant, when you are done, they take everything off the table, including your paper placemats that serve as their menu prior to bringing you the dessert menu. The one thing in this whole process they don’t touch is your drink. Well she came back, grabbed the placemats, picked up Mr. Michie’s empty beer bottle and grabbed my half full glass of coke! There was no way to tell her that I was still drinking that, because in order to get the glass she placed her fingers into the glass to pick it up. Her fingers! At that point I was so done. I had, had it. In that moment, I was Howard Hughes and the girl who had drawn out one my own quirks was Errol Flynn.

One of the other staff must have noticed the stunned looks on our faces because they asked if we were okay. We just asked for the bill, they were uber busy and to be honest, I don’t think that it would have made a difference if we had made a fuss. We got the bill, paid and before we had even left the table, she was already wiping it down. Now they weren’t that busy and there is such a thing as customer service and general politeness. Just wait one minute, let us walk away first, for goodness sakes!

Howard, if you’re up there? As those fingers gripped the inside of my glass, I felt your pain. It’s like an invasion, an assault. Those peas were his and they were how he wanted them! That glass of coke was mine and I was not finished with it!