Waiter places a small salad in front of Betty.

Betty: I didn’t order a salad.

Waiter: It comes with the meal. (The waiter puts a larger salad in front of Sarah.) The Chef’s Special Salad for you. 


Sarah: I didn’t know you get a free salad with your meal.

Betty: Neither did I. The lettuce is crisp. It’s a good salad.

Sarah: He should have told me when I ordered the Special Salad.

Betty:  Maybe he thought you knew.

Sarah: You’re getting that for free. I’m paying $6.95 for the same salad only bigger.

Betty: You have a mixture of lettuces, I have only iceberg. You also have large slices of Parmigiano cheese.

Sarah: He should have told me. It’s his job. A good waiter would have told me.

Betty: What are those little black things in your salad, black beans?

Sarah: Six raisins. I’m paying 50¢ apiece for each raisin.

Betty: What do you care? Your husband left you very well off.

Sarah: It’s the principle. He should have told me. Do you like your salad dressing?

Betty: It’s okay, a little too much vinegar.

Sarah: Mine too. We both have the same salad dressing. You got yours for free.

Betty: So what? You got six wedges of tomato. I got one grape tomato.

Sarah: The tomatoes aren’t ripe. $6.95 for insipid pastel-pink tomatoes.

Betty: Why are you so upset about this salad thing?

Sarah: He should have told me.

Betty: So, don’t tip him. Write a note on the check about the salad. They’ll probably take it off the bill.

Sarah: That was very wrong not to tell me. He should have said, “You get a small salad with your meal.”

Betty: He should have.

Sarah: He was trying to get a bigger tip by not telling me I could get the salad for free.

Betty: Come on, that would only increase his tip by $ .69. What’s wrong with you tonight?

Sarah: It’s the principle. It is his job to tell me I get a free salad. What time does this place close tonight?

Betty: Why?

Sarah: I’m coming back to let the air out of his tires.

Linda Baldanzi is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College. She has an MA in Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, an MS in Clinical Social Work from Columbia University, and an MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation from Drew University. Linda has worked as a licensed clinical social worker and as a psychotherapist. Her poems have been published in Barrow Street, Cold Mountain Review, Euphony, Redivider, St Ann's Review, Wisconsin Review, and the anthology “For the Crowns of their Heads,” the proceeds going to libraries destroyed in the Haitian earthquake. She is currently working on her manuscript. Linda lives in Fort Lee, NJ next to the banks of the Hudson River, which gives her the magnificent view of the NYC skyline. She teaches two poetry workshops at the Fort Lee Public library.

5 thoughts on “Rattled

  1. Linda Baldanzi

    Hi Virginia, I enjoyed reading about your friend and her salad with less shrimp; it also made me laugh. I have been trying to think what is it within us that makes us feel so slighted over such a small amount of food. No theories so far, but if anyone can think of one I would be glad to hear it. It is a curious thing that they cannot let it go. Thanks again for writing, and my best to you,

    Linda Baldanzi

  2. Joanna Bressler

    oh dear, i think i’ve had that conversation a thousand times. you make it so much funnier on paper then it is in a multitude of restaurants. so funny including your last line.

    1. Linda Baldanzi

      Hi Joanna, Thanks for your comment. Yes, it does happen in many restaurants. My friend whom I was dining with that night jut wouldn’t let it go, and after a while I began to laugh, and she still wouldn’t let it go. When I got home that evening I wrote it all down,
      and laughed as I wrote it. Since we are both over sixty years old, I decided to send it into Persimmon Tree. Thanks again for appreciating it. My Best to you, Linda Baldanzi

      1. Virginia Frantz

        The story reminds me of a happening when four of us women were on a trip to the Worlds Fair in British Columbia. One of our companions, Judy, was always one who saw her glass half empty, especially when comparing it to her companion’ s glass. One day at lunch she ordered a shrimp salad, while Loma, another of our companions, ordered the same salad but only ordered half order. The waitress came back setting a small salad plate in front of Loma, and the larger one in front of Judy, as ordered. It only took a minute for Judy to notice that even though Loma had less lettuce on her plate, she had several more shrimp on her plate then there was on hers. She fussed and fussed about it and even pouted. It was so much like a small child that I could not help but get the hysterical giggles. The last time I saw Judy–we live many miles apart–she still brought up the unfairness of having to pay full price for her salad while Loma had 4 more shrimp than she and only had to pay half price.


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