Mr. Griffin’s Breakfast

Since I’m not driving in DC unless fleeing zombies, I parked my car in Springfield and got a hotel the night before the Rural Health Policy Institute. The less said about that hotel, the better, but next morning figuring anything would be better than the basement breakfast offered in that Shining-esque place, I googled “best breakfast in Springfield” and discovered it was .5 miles from me.

Healthy walk, early morning, they opened at 7. And apparently the Silver Diner is famous. Seated and served, I watched the cavern full of faux chrome fill quickly. Hipsters in slouch hats talking computers. Two businessmen in skinny ties, clearly having a power breakfast. The twentysomething sliding into a seat at the counter wearing last night’s party clothes, who ordered a mimosa.

Silver Diner in Springfield, VA

The waitress gave him side-eye.

The hostess Juanita was a jovial woman, chatting up the customers and basically covering for the fact that two people in the kitchen and two on the floor were working the whole diner—which probably sat 150 easy.

And I’m sitting there watching the power brokers and the people taking selfies in a famous restaurant and feeling vague existential dread because I have to go to DC and the last time was 2019 and humanity as we know it is way over with since then, and in comes this little old man. Slouching, not in a slouching hat. He waves and the hostess waves back and he walks past the Please wait to be seated sign to sit in the booth behind me.

The hostess brings him a huge mug of coffee and says, “The two biscuits?”

There is a pause. She repeats the phrase, louder, and he says, “Yes please.”

“You forget your hearing aids again?” From the corner of my eye, I can see her put her hands on her hips and give him a playful remonstrating stance, one foot tapping. She is grinning.

I hear a faint mumble that could have been “Yes ma’am” or “What’s it to you” but either way she laughs and walks past me shaking her head.

I tuck into my delicious and complicated Eggs Benedict. The waitress comes around the bar with two biscuits and gravy. Loudly, she enunciates, “Here are your biscuit, Mr. Griffin.”

I hear a plate land behind me. Then I hear contented chewing. But that might have been me.

A few minutes later the waitress passes by, pauses out of my sight line, says, “You done?”

The man mutters something that takes a good ten seconds.

“That’s okay. I’ll be here tomorrow. Just make sure you pay me. I’ll tell Juanita.”

Mr. Griffin has forgotten his wallet. I wonder briefly if he’s poor and they are giving him dignity for breakfast, but no, she laughs and adds, “Everybody knows you’re good for it.”

Exit shuffling slouchy man, looking well pleased with his breakfast. He has a dab of gravy on his jacket.

I thought the edge of the blue Metro line headed into DC didn’t hold much of a community, but I could be wrong. Either way, Mr. Griffin’s breakfast quelled my existential dread. Sweetness still exists.

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