My Stand Up Gig

A couple of weeks ago, during Spring Break, I took a vacation day and Leah, the kids, and I went to Chattanooga for the day. Chattanooga has revitalized itself recently, especially the area between the aquarium and the kids’ museum, but it has always been one of my favorite places. We made trips to Ruby Falls and Lookout Mountain when I was a kid and out of school for AEA week. Sometimes I throw “AEA Week” in to a conversation just to see if I’m the oldest one in the group. Or perhaps the only one from Alabama. (100 years ago, “Spring Break” was the week of the Alabama Education Association annual conference, hence AEA week. #themoreyouknow)

We arrived in Chattanooga around lunchtime, parked the car and headed to a little pizza place named Lupi’s. It’s long, narrow, funky little joint where you stand in line to order, then go find a table or booth to sit and wait for your food. Easy enough, right?

Except it never is in these places. A group of people, more specifically a party of 10 or more, will come in behind you and send one person through the line to order while everyone else goes ahead and claims every available table and booth, even though the poor soul tasked with remembering everyone’s order is at least 15 minutes away from ordering, so the group is about 30 minutes away from receiving whatever the poor soul tasked with remembering everyone’s order actually ordered for them. (That was a long sentence, but I was on a roll.)

Well, that’s what happened to us. Just before we ordered, a large group came in and claimed every table and booth while some guy stood in line to order. It worked out, though, as we found bar stool seats along a counter in the restaurant and enjoyed lunch. I still gave the grandma with the group a look of, “I saw what you did, granny. Not cool!”

We spent the day at the aquarium, which is very cool. It’s probably not up to the level of the Atlanta Aquarium, which has a dolphin show and a Beluga Whale but is also more crowded and located in Atlanta. The Tennessee Aquarium is easier to get to and from for us, with driveway to parking lot time being right at 2-hours for us. Penguins, sharks, alligators, butterflies. Jack and I sat and watched the salmon try to swim upstream for about 20 minutes. Hilarious. I’m glad I’m not a salmon. People have enough trouble with J-a-m-m-y.

After the afternoon at the aquarium, we strolled in the rain down Broad Street and found a Ben & Jerry’s and decided that ice cream was in order. Honestly, when is ice cream not in order.

We walk in to Ben & Jerry’s and move to “Line Starts Here” sign and stand in line to order. There are about six tables in this place and, though not as long as the line at Lupi’s, this line moves much slower. Of course, as we’re standing in line next to order, a group consisting a multiple families walks in. The respective dads are sent to the line while the moms and the kids play Fixer Upper on every available chair and table in Ben & Jerry’s. They slide chairs and tables around with reckless abandon until they get them just like they like it and then nestle in for the wait. I’ve been where the dads are in line. These people are at least 30 minutes away from whatever ice cream the dads thought they remembered that the kids liked.

We got our ice cream and found a recently vacated table, covered with spilled chocolate ice cream, but having no chairs and we stood there and ate our ice cream. I’d like to say that I didn’t make a snarky loud enough for them to hear when Jack said, “this place needs more chairs”, but I don’t want to lie this early in the morning. Layne didn’t seem to mind, and Leah’s much too nice to let you know if it bothered her. “It’ll be fine,” she says.

You know what? It was. Both situations turned out fine. We ate pizza, we ate ice cream, we had a good day.

That’s just one of my pet peeves. You got your list of things that get under your skin. People doing 55 miles per hour in the slow lane. People walking diagonal across traffic lanes in a parking lot. People taking the inordinately slow elevator in your building up one floor instead of taking the stairs.

Whatever it is, recognize it today and don’t let it ruin the moment. It’ll be fine.

Enjoy your day. Smile, be nice, be kind.

Before I go, if you haven’t registered for the No-Longer 5k, and I have not yet either so you’re not the biggest slacker, do it today. Go to for details or click here to register.

That’s it. Have a great weekend!