Richard, Issue #9
The new east Doo-Dah Diner appears to be doing well. There is considerably more seating room, but it is still smart to call ahead to get your name on the list. You may not park any closer to the door, but there is plenty of parking space. The Counter is a bit cozier, but, along with good conversation, it still affords a front-row seat for observing the cooking. The window between The Counter and the kitchen has a distinct advantage over the old one. You can see the faces of the cooks, so it is no longer necessary to learn to recognize them by their arms. Nor do you have to wait until one leans forward to flash one of your beautiful smiles and say “Hi.” You can time it to when he or she is looking his or her busiest and needs a break.
The air force member on the counter stool to my right was flying back to San Jose, California that evening after spending the week working with a computer server at the air base. He showed me a picture of him and his wife and three children, who were, in chorus, savoring the word “cheese.” While I was thinking how lucky he was, he was bemoaning how unlucky it was that he had not discovered the Doo-Dah Diner earlier in the week.
He says his decisions in evaluating commercial buildings are subjective. That is how he makes his living. He came half way across the country to attend a property-tax convention. He was here three years ago for the same reason, and he was happy to have a chance to eat at the Doo-Dah Diner again. His subjectivity may be allowing him to eat, but it seems to me that it has a serious flaw. It takes me ten minutes to get to the Doo-Dah Diner, and I get to go almost every day.
He lives in Dallas, where he got his college degree in electrical engineering a couple of years ago. The FAA pays him to travel around the country helping airports to keep their electrical systems up to date. Before trying his first meal at the Doo-Dah Diner Counter, that was his main reason for being in Wichita for about six weeks.
The forty-year-old was driving from Chicago to her home in Las Vegas. Her brother lives in the Windy City, so she makes the trip quite often and brings in some money as an electrician while she is there. She enjoys taking different routes, and this was her first time at the Doo-Dah Diner. She plans to come this way more often. The food was good, and she was pleased when the waitress, realizing what had happened, offered to put her leftovers into boxes for later. We had a very enjoyable conversation, so when she said she hoped to see me next time she comes through, I gave her my email address. If you are there, I’ll introduce you. You will like her.
The young man was taking advantage of the opportunity to sit on the warm counter stool next to the kitchen before its disappearance during the remodeling. The Counter will stay, but the north end of it will make way for another passageway for the servers. After attending public school in Cunningham, which is 60 miles west of Wichita, he trained to become a fireman. A back injury ended that plan, so he went to Newman University and became a history teacher at a magnet school in Wichita. His fire-fighting education did not go to waste, however. He teaches a class in it at the school. As long as he moves around while he is standing, his back behaves itself. It complains if he sits too long. I later met a fire fighter at The Counter who said he worked with a former student of the teacher.
Smile, say “Good morning,” and start asking questions. You’ll be glad.