Bad Table 

Where waiters and diners tell tales.

Mud Season

Years ago, I was visiting my cousin Karla in Vermont. We had lunch in a local cafe. My cousin was eating her salad, when suddenly black goo oozed out of her mouth and down her chin. I was appalled, thinking she had contracted an exotic variety of East Coast rabies. Karla exclaimed, "I just ate a mudball! I thought it was an olive." We started laughing hysterically. The server came by to pick up our plates and asked how we were doing. I said, "Not very good. My cousin just bit into a mudball that was in her salad." The server grimaced sourly as if we were being massively demanding. She offered no apology, brusquely picked up the plates, and brought our entrées. My cousin and I could hardly eat, we were cracking up so madly. At the end of the meal, our server came back and chirped, "So, how was everything?" I replied, "Uh, my cousin had a mudball in her salad. That was pretty disgusting." The server went to the back of the restaurant and huddled with several other employees, pointing at us as if we were huge troublemakers. We had to pay full price for the meal and endure the glares of the employees until we left the restaurant. If it had been up to me, I would have demanded some sort of compensation for the experience, but my cousin lives in Vermont. It's a pretty small place and they don't like outsiders. You don't make waves, even if you have to consume mudballs.

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