The problem with the singing cowboy wasn’t that he hadn’t gotten permission (he asked me, after all) but that I wasn’t anticipating it, and I hadn’t gotten enough information to make an informed choice.
5 minutes and two songs about senoritas later, I pulled some bills out of my wallet and thanked him for playing (he really was good). I turned back to Sarah. Her buffalo burger was cold on her plate, but her temper was white-hot. “Why would you say yes? What on earth made you think that I would want that? Didn’t we both just say we hated having musicians serenade us at the table?” I’d gotten flustered and said yes when I should have said no. I felt really, really dumb.
Sarah and I recently took a trip out to Arizona for a little R&R, and on our way out of town we couldn’t resist stopping by our favorite western restaurant, the Big Texan. This place serves real buffalo meat burgers up with vittles and old-western charm, but it’s real claim to fame is a free 72 oz. steak to anyone that can eat it in an hour or less. The Big Texan’s just the kind of tourist trap that’s perfect for kicking off a vacation.
The day we stopped in there was a weather-beaten old cowboy serenading tables with Hank Williams tunes. Not surprisingly I love music, but I hate it when it’s being played 6 inches from my face while I’m trying to wolf down a sloppy buffalo burger. Sarah hates being put on the spot even more than I do. We hunkered down in the booth and kept eating.
Halfway through the sloppiest buffalo burger we'd ever eaten we heard “afternoon- would you like a tune?”. I looked up in shock. The Hank-hollerin’ cowboy had been on the other side of the restaurant less than 5 minutes ago. I thought I had time. Time to prepare. Sarah was staring at me like a rabbit caught in a fence, eyes wide, telepathically shrieking “I just want to eat in peace. Just say no, JUST SAY NO.”
I turned to him and said, “that’d be nice”.
To be continued. . .