Table of Contents

    Musing: Attitude Is Everything

    The hostess guided us to our seats through the half-empty restaurant. Since we live in a tourist town, we save our eating out for weeknights to avoid the mobs. At the slower pace, the staff can be more attentive to customers which makes for a better experience for all of us.

    Sure enough, our server greeted us before we perused the menu. She exuded enthusiasm and happiness, a big grin on her face. “Good evening. I’m Lynda. How are y’all tonight?”

    We well recognize how difficult the last couple of years have been in the restaurant industry and its staff. We try to be patient and accommodating and always tip well because we know how hard the job has become.

    But when a server approaches their job with a positive spirit, our experience promises to be easy and pleasant. After all, attitude is everything, right? Lynda had that great attitude.

    Bubbling with enthusiasm, she told us about the specials for the evening. She peppered her spiel with jokes. Her sense of humor was infectious, and she had us laughing.

    With the introductions concluded, she asked for our drink orders. My Ever Patient Partner In Life asked for a glass of cabernet. I requested a locally-brewed brown ale. With a grin and a promise to be right back, she spun on her heels and waltzed to the bar.

    Since we were frequent guests of this restaurant, we made our selections quickly and laid the menus on the table. Just as fast, Lynda returned with our drinks and a new story to entertain us. Enthralled with her tale, I didn’t pay attention as she placed the glasses on the table. With her story complete, we laughed, and she walked away.

    Whether at home or in a restaurant, EPPIL and I pick a positive event of each day and celebrate it with a toast. It may sound hokey, but it’s a simple gratefulness celebration that means a great deal to us. We did the same that night, clinked our glasses, and drank.

    I don’t remember specifically what we saluted. The toast itself applies to my story only because it partially explains why I never noticed the color of the beer. I’m focused on the toast, not the drink, but I still should have recognized the golden shade as opposed to the expected dark brown.

    My taste buds, however, were not similarly distracted. As soon as the first splash of beer touched my tongue, I knew it was wrong. The glass contained an India Pale Ale.

    Don’t get me wrong. Nothing dramatically terrible happened. I wasn’t guzzling a glass of acid or kitchen grease or something else awful. But, the citrusy, bitter flavor of an IPA is not at all like the malty brown I expected.

    I recognize not every reader of this story is a beer connoisseur. You don’t need to be. Pretend you order corn and get cabbage. Or asked for grapes and received an orange. Technically, they might be in the same broad category, but they are quite different.

    So, yes, an IPA and a brown ale are both beers, but that’s where the similarities end. An IPA is not a substitute for a brown ale.

    But nor is it the end of the world. All I needed was to switch for the correct beer. Easily enough, I caught Lynda’s attention. She came over, still smiling and happy. I explained the situation as politely as possible. “Excuse me. I don’t think this is the brown ale I ordered.”

    She looked at the glass, shook her head, and said, “Oh, my. That’s not right.”

    Without another word, she whisked the glass away and headed toward the bar. Within a few minutes, she’d returned holding a fresh glass of brown ale. “Here you go. Sorry about the mixup.”

    Thank you. No problem. Mistakes happen. The important thing is that it got fixed quickly. The even better part was that the error hadn’t affected her happiness at all. After all, attitude is everything. And I had my beer. No need to dwell. In fact, if that was the entire story, I wouldn’t even have anything to tell.

    With her beaming grin, Lynda asked if we were ready to order our dinner. Hungry, and now with proper drinks, we eagerly announced our selections. EPPIL chose a sautéed shrimp and vegetable dish in a curry coconut sauce. I went with a Cajun chicken in a gouda chipotle queso. Both dishes are as mouth-watering as they sound. Just typing them into this story made my stomach growl.

    Lynda headed toward the server station to enter our order. We sat back, talked about our day, and enjoyed our drinks. I sipped my brown ale, happy with the right beer, while EPPIL savored the cabernet. Lynda delivered our salads with a flourish and we dove in. When they were finished, our meal arrived.

    As often happens, someone else delivered our food to the table. The person, of course, doesn’t really know who ordered what, so they are guided by seat numbers entered into the computer by the server. He placed EPPIL’s plate and then put a plate of shrimp in coconut sauce in front of me. 

    Obviously, the poor guy had given me EPPIL’s meal. No need to bother him with such a triviality. We’re perfectly capable of switching, so I waited until he departed to say we needed to trade plates.

    EPPIL looked confused. That’s when I noticed both dinners were the identical shrimp meal. My cajun chicken never arrived.

    Once again, I caught our server’s attention. She bounced over, smiling and cheerful. I politely explained the error, and she looked at my plate. “Oh, my, that’s not right.”

    She snatched the plate and walked toward the kitchen. A few quick moments later, she returned empty-handed. “I’m so sorry. When I keyed in the order, I accidentally entered the shrimp twice. I’ve asked the kitchen to put your order at the top of their list and your meal will be out momentarily.”

    No problem. Things happen. We were having a good time. She was so pleasant and apologetic for the mistake. Sure, it was the second mistake, but attitude is everything, right?

    EPPIL and I chatted and enjoyed our evening. The time passed quickly before the food delivery person arrived again, this time with my proper chicken dish. He had no sooner placed the plate on the table when Lynda arrived, smiling and cheerful. “Everything looks wonderful now. I’m so sorry for the mixup.”

    It’s great. I have my food. I have my beer. We savored our meals and enjoyed the evening.

    Lynda checked in on us, made sure we were enjoying our time, and asked about desert. After we declined, she presented our check—drinks, two shrimp dinners, and one chicken dinner.

    We flagged down our affable server who took one look at the check and said, “Oh, my, that’s not right.”

    She went to work with the computer at the server station correcting our order. She waved a manager over for assistance. Through it all, the smile never failed.

    She returned with the corrected check, apologized again, and wished us a good evening. We paid the bill and tipped well.

    After all, attitude is everything. Right?

    Prosaic is a commonly used word meaning dull or unimaginative. For example, someone can lead a prosaic life.

    Prosaic descends from prose which refers to writing that is not poetry. Prose comes from the Latin prosa or straightforward. Thus, poetry has melody and rhythm and prose refers to more ordinary language. It wasn’t meant as a judgment as much as a classification.

    Yet, somehow, prose evolved to prosaic meaning dull and unimaginative.

    As a writer, I have to admit this one stings.

    Early Morning Visitor

    We have a small herd of a half-dozen deer sharing our home. At sunrise one morning last week, they wandered through the front yard and let me capture a few photographs.

    I am an avid goal setter. Perhaps it’s a holdover from my corporate days, but I thrive setting targets and then measuring my accomplishment against those targets.

    Scott Young’s article on setting better goals proved to be thought provoking. If it’s a topic of interest, give it a read.

    I read 100 novels a year and share the best with you.

    Pursued by federal agents, nineteen-year-old Quinn Quicksilver joins others with special powers to defend the earth from evil forces.

    Click for a more detailed synopsis

    My April survey question asked readers about preference of types of books: Hardback, Paperback, Ebook, or Audiobook? Just over half chose physical books—hardback or paperback—while the other half chose either ebooks or audiobooks.

    Of course, many readers use multiple formats. One comment sums it up nicely:

    A hardback is my top choice, but it really depends on how and when I’ll be reading. Ebooks save a trip to the library and are best for those really chunky books that are too heavy to read in bed (or to pack for a trip). Audiobooks are perfect for road trips and workouts. And paperbacks are lightweight and don’t rely on a charging cord. So, yes, all of these have a place in my reading world

    Unlike many of the survey questions which are just for fun, this one had a practical purpose. Today, we publish my novels as paperbacks and ebooks. The physical books represent 35-40% of unit sales. We’re discussing expanding selection. Audiobooks will probably happen next year, but not sure yet about hardbacks.

    This Month’s Survey: Swimming

    With Memorial Day Weekend fast approaching, I’m curious where my readers prefer to swim: pool, lake, or the ocean. Let me know in this month’s survey. The results will be shared in the June 1 newsletter and in a Monday Musing.

    Click to take this month’s survey

    Gratuitous Dog Picture

    We’ve had summer temperatures this past week, which means into the 80ºs for Asheville. With plenty of water and shady trails, we’ve maintained our twice-a-day walks. Landon approves, even if that tongue is hanging out.

    Landon out for a stroll

    Have a terrific week and a safe Memorial Day Weekend. See you next Monday!

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    1. Jean Burkhardt on May 23, 2022 at 8:10 am

      LOVED the Monday Musings and the story of the ever smiling server!!! Mistakes do happen but glad all was good at the end!

      Landon’s tongue out shows a happy boy!!!

    2. Lydia on May 23, 2022 at 1:52 pm

      I’m glad you were so understanding of your server’s mistakes. That was really nice of you. When I worked in the service industry, I was always so grateful for people who calmly let me know if I got something wrong instead of yelling or worse.

    3. Juno's mom on May 23, 2022 at 2:43 pm

      Good attitudes have taken a beating over the past few years. It’s easier to be kind and is healthier for everyone. Dogs are a huge help.

    4. mary michaud on May 26, 2022 at 5:21 pm

      I love a positive attitude; make the most of a situation and enjoy life.

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