598: Failure

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Nobody likes to fail.

Nobody likes ADMITTING that they failed, much less the painful process of actually FAILING.

The constant mental re-plays…if only I had done THAT instead, it would have changed the outcome……why didn’t THAT occur to me at the time, so I could have done something differently……why did I not recognize that as a RED FLAG? Heck no, at the TIME, that red flag was a glowing, rosy PINK flag……..sheesh. Gotta get rid of these glasses.

And then comes the sneaking, stealthy, sly subconscious. The DREAMS about failing. Not necessarily the specific thing I failed at, oh, no! These are horrible, inventive fantasies; dark, macabre imaginings of all the OTHER ways I could possibly fail at something.

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Such as – dreaming of being a waitress (yes, I, too, did this in college) at a pizza-cum-sandwich shop – and getting ALL the orders wrong, having to apologize profusely to all the incensed customers, take all the blame, and give them their food for free – which I know is going to come out of my miniscule paycheck, of course. FABULOUS dream. Can’t WAIT to have it again. The groveling, you know, that’s what excites me the most.

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Then there’s the nightmare about the trip – I get to the airport, after having meticulously packed (and pre-weighed) my bag for this international flight, and discover my purse (with the passport, of course), is missing. Instant panic. WHERE did I leave it on my journey to the airport? On the train? In the taxi? OMG! The flight departs in an hour! Or, (alternate variation on this theme), the bag I carefully packed and weighed to comply with all the myriad regulations for flying (which I looked up online prior to getting started packing, just to be sure), ISN’T in compliance, after all. And now I must choose, standing at the inspection table surrounded by harried passengers, which items to discard so they will actually let me get on the flight using the ticket I have paid for. Should I ditch the shampoo? The tampons? The evening gown? The sandals? The sunscreen? AAUUGGHHHhhhhhh…………! Meanwhile, the clock is ticking down to the time they will close the boarding gate, and I will be…..LEFT BEHIND. With no refund of monies paid.

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Or the teacher dream: supervising a field trip and having something go wrong when I am responsible for twenty something (or more) students and chaperones. I am scrambling to fix whatever thing has gone awry, and doing a perfectly miserable job of it, because, of course, this is a FAILURE dream, and nothing I do in one of those dreams works out to my advantage. Ever. And usually, it involves a copious amount of my favorite thing – groveling to all and sundry as I meekly confess my culpability.

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Or my personal favorite – I am fleeing a menacing, pursuing presence through all the halls and rooms of an infinite decaying, crumbling mansion….for hours and hours, all the while knowing that the terrible pursuing menace is going to corner and catch and murder horrifically. Yup. Personal favorite. I usually wake up trying to scream from that one, panting like I’ve just run the Boston Marathon.

Bad enough to fail in real life, when I am conscious. Failing in my dreams is infinitely worse – the dream failures seem every bit as real as the real-life failures, and I can have more than one of them per night. Subconscious self-torture. Whoopity doo.

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399: Waffle House and Children

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Waffle House is an American (mostly, but not completely, Southern) diner. It is plain, simple, and honest. The people who generally go there are two kinds; working people who need a filling, inexpensive meal (blue collar) and people looking for the authentic diner experience (white collar).

Waffle House has the real ambiance of the American diner. There are booths at either end of the small diner, and a bar in the middle which is located in front of the grill. Restrooms and office rooms are at one end or the other of the place. The format of the places is so similar that frequent customers feel instantly at home, even if it is a location they have never been to before. That is part of the charm, if such a word is not totally inappropriate when discussing this restaurant chain.

Plus, the menus still feature a picture of nearly every item they serve…which is so customers who cannot read can still order. Not kidding. No sensitivity training needed here. You can tell that by the variety of the clientele – Waffle House gets all kinds. And they all, for the most part, coexist peacefully. America in action.

I found Waffle House restaurants to be quite helpful when I was raising my small children. I took them there fairly frequently in order to practice going to restaurants. I do not include most fast food places in that category. They have no dinnerware, or cutlery, no glasses….and no wait staff.  You are not training a child to go to a restaurant in one of those places. Waffle House is different from fast food places, while still relaxed enough that you do not (usually) offend every single person in the place when you come in for a meal with two small children.

Waffle House has real people who wait on tables (OK, booths). Points to Waffle House. Waffle House also has real dishes. Plates, bowls, glasses, mugs (with SAUCERS), knives,  forks and spoons. Paper napkins, true, but they are THERE. Points to Waffle House. I can have my children practice being in a restaurant there, as close as I can get to the experience of a fancy place, that is still kid-friendly (and that I can afford).  I owe the fact that I was able to take my children out to eat at fancier restaurants while they were still small – and not be completely and totally embarrassed and asked to leave – to good, old, reliable Waffle House.