The best thing about Waffle House is the diversity it attracts.
When Aidan was 10 or so, we had our first Waffle House dinner. I was out of energy, it was late, we still had another thirty minutes before we would be home, and he was hungry. I’m pretty sure it was after I had taught a late class and he hadn’t eaten since before the class around 4:30 or so. He was grumpy. And it’s cheap. So we stopped there. And Aidan met a vagrant who didn’t treat Aidan like a kid and who told him a story about something that made Aidan laugh, and so I bought the guy his dinner and Aidan was hooked forever after.
That’s Aidan’s go-to ever since. He insists he will own one at some point in his life. From what we understand, that means he has to work in management there for at least seven years, but that is a point conveniently overlooked. I think he just likes the diversity of people who go there. Waffle House isn’t the classiest of joints, and sometimes, especially in Albuquerque, there are some hard cases, both on staff and as guests, but what’s most interesting about that place is that there is always someone who is willing to talk to you. And so when you’re lonely or need some interesting conversation, Waffle House is the place to go. Trust me on this one. Of course, you have to be open minded enough to let that type of interaction happen.
Aidan meets all kinds of people there. He’s given more of his money away after buying someone dinner than I can add up. He’s given company and conversation, and he's helped a lot more people than I can imagine. I know Aidan grows from these experiences. For him, it’s a way of giving back some of the blessings he’s experienced in his life. He knows he’s got it good, and going to Waffle House helps him remember that.
Everybody needs a hand up sometimes. I think Aidan feels closer to God in Waffle House than he does when he’s in church. He once told me, “His mysterious ways are our compromising acts of kindness.” Aidan’s compromising acts sometimes set him back a tank of gas or two. I don’t blame him much. I am proud of him, honestly. It doesn’t mean I don’t worry when he offers somebody a lift or whatever, but he’s a generous guy. He will be repaid in the kindnesses he bestows. And maybe God’s mysterious ways do manifest in the ways we compromise our own selves. Maybe it takes time for that to become clear for any of us.
Maybe, in fact, it's been too long. I've been very distracted. I committed to finishing a new novel that I began writing in August, and I'm just not getting it done. It's a pretty constant desire--this thing called writing--but it turns out I'm not as good at it as I think. Or maybe it's just that I'm not as good at focusing the time it needs. But then again, I'm almost constantly writing something or other on it. It just keeps churning. I just keep spinning it. The details keep evolving. But the plot? I have major self-doubt.
I'm almost there. I thought I was about there two months ago. I wasn't. It turns out, I tricked myself and spun a new corner. So I will keep writing until it's done, and then I'm going to have to start revising. Stinkbug will happen. Very soon.
Wanted: a good set of sentences to grab you from the depths of the internet. I keep trying to catch your eye.