Dining With a View

February 04, 1994|By Sara Hartman

I called the Sphinx

to make a reservation for dinner

"one of us is in a wheelchair," I say

not wanting to admit that I am the guilty one

and feeling foolish at the ploy

assured that the restaurant is accessible

we arrive, as directed, at the back door

ring the bell and wait among

overflowing trash cans

admitted to the pantry

we are greeted by an army of dirty mops

boxes piled on the floor

paper towels, napkins, detergents

shelves with huge jars of

blood-shot eyes -- pimento-stuffed olives

wrinkled brown eyelids -- marinated mushrooms

less startling are the giant cans of

creamed corn, applesauce, succotash

in the kitchen we maneuver through narrow aisles

between stoves, refrigerators, work counters

we enter the dining room

are ushered to the closest table

next to the swinging kitchen door

I say I prefer a different table

the maitre d' is nervous

wants to get me settled and out of the way

he beckons a waiter who rushes up

and removes a chair

"Please leave the chair; I will use it."

"You will use it?" "I will use it."

Finally we are seated

I watch the waiter walk away

and realize I have defied

the riddle of the Sphinx

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