We went to Sea Salt for supper Saturday, just to do something that could be described with that many siblings. It’s in Minnehaha Park; since the weather was gorgeous – 81 – we wanted to take advantage of the last day of warmth. At least until next last day. There’s a gazebo; there’s a band; there are dogs and children and golden light pouring to the turning trees. It’s as lovely as life gets.


Except for the lines.

It’s a popular place; really good seafood in the fine fry everything to help tradition. To everyone comes in on Saturday night. Everyone comes at 6 o’clock, like us. Daughter had to be at a sleepover at 7, so she was awail with tween angst over missing the first few minutes of the event. I had two jobs here: assure her I understood, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Both are useless, no matter how true. As it happened I was annoyed by the line, too; I hate standing in line for anything, but supper is the worst. The line didn’t move quickly, and once I was inside I understood why. The menu is just beautiful.

So people take a lot time looking at it. I’d called up the menu on my phone before, so they could chose and find a table while I inched my way up to the line. The people in front ordered like you’d expect: lots of peering, consultation, discussion about sharing portions, and so on. All of which could have been settled earlier. Then it’s time for drinks. What would you like to drink?

Oh, gosh, I don’t know. Do you have Sprite?

We have sprite.

I’ll have a sprite.

What size?

Oh, medium.

And so on with the kids. And then the husband with the beer list and the studied consideration of each fine craft-brewed option. “What’s your name?” That’s the end of it.Now it’s my turn. “Hi! One crab basket, one fish sandwich, one shrimp appetizer, no drinks, name is James.”

The clerk is surprised. “You’ve been here before,” she said.

“No, just many years in waitering and another year in line, so I know what I want.”

“If only everyone did,” she said.

So I feel like the Hero of the Staff now. I get my number: 70. Walk outside, and see a waiter delivering a plate . . . to 49.

After 15 minutes of unhappiness on daughter’s part and disguised unhappiness on mine - it really is a lovely evening, and I don’t want to pass along my horrible impatience with the world and all its elements - I head up to see which number is coming out of the kitchen. Well, we’re up to 60. But I notice that the waiters leave the grill and head right, since that’s where most of the seating is. We’re on the other side of the cafe.

So of course I take the number 70 and stand in the entranceway, holding the number like a limo driver, and within a few minutes someone comes out and smiles and nods and I direct her to our table.

Must have shaved 90 seconds off our total time. In the end I ate the last fourth of my delicious sandwich walking to the car, so I could pick them up in the parking lot without making everyone walk a quarter mile.

Got to the sleepover 30 minutes later.

Just got a text: she’s bored.



On Sunday the entire sleepover group went to the Mall of America. On the bus. One of those things that makes you twitch, a little, but there four of them, and it’s not like you can miss your stop for the Mall of America. It stands out. Of course, my texts went unanswered after I replied to the “We’re on the bus” message, and after an hour I thought I’d call. The phone went to voicemail. Was this an old number from her old phone? Called the other number. A guy answers. Then hangs up.

Okay, well, it’s not likely someone abducted four 12-year-olds then took time out to answer the phone. Eventually got her through a friend, and reminded her that if she didn’t want these TOTALLY EMBARRASSING calls, a simple check-in will do. When they headed back I asked if she knew which bus stop she had to get off at - if you miss your stop, the line turns dodgy in about 20 blocks. She gave me the stop, and I realized I had a grocery trip that was in the same neighborhood. And so it came to pass that I sat in the car, half a block back, watched them all tumble off the bus and head back laughing to the friend’s house. When they were out of sight I went to the grocery store.

I think that’s reasonable, if the kid’s 12. Or not?

Drove home down the parkway. It’s just lovely. If you're unfamiliar Minneapolis: this is, believe it or, a residential neighborhood.





This story - about a restaurant forced out of business because the tables were too tall - had an interesting comment about lawyers whose entire practice is suing businesses for being out of compliance with the ADA. One case - which had that ha-ha-only-in-California! aspect - concerned a guy who was denied entrance because his wheelchair was pulled by a pony. (He suffered from “overuse of elbows,” according to the complaint.) When I googled the lawyer I found a list of his numberless lawsuits, including this:

Defendants have uploaded onto Youtube.com and Facebook.com at least 16 promotional and educational videos regarding their dealerships that had no captioning and plaintiff was unable to watch these videos.

So a business can be sued if they don’t put captions on a video on their own website. There’s at least a dozen of those. Now, I can see the wisdom of the company putting closed-caption versions up as an available option; that’s sensible, and good for business. But many of the suits concern restaurants that didn’t turn on close-captioning for a deaf customer. Here’s a question: if you’re in a restaurant that has the TV sound down, and the close-captioning is on, aren’t you discriminating against the blind? If you think that sounds like a specious lawsuit, give it time.

This story says it’s because the bathrooms aren’t accessible. Someone in this Fark thread summed up the attitude of many:

pay $50,000 in fines and look like a whiny biatch, or spend $50,000 to become ADA compliant and continue growing your business.

Really, it’s just that simple!

The fellow who filed the suit is not a patron of the restaurant. The Fox piece above quotes a fellow who is a patron of the restaurant, is disabled, and now will be unable to patronize the restaurant at all.

Oh it’s win-win all around.


Last week's Friday Face:


James Gregory. Lots TV and movies; he was Matt Helm's boss in that regrettable series, and of course was the doctor in the penal colony in the original Star Trek episode, "Dagger of the Mind." Not one of my favorites when it came on in the afternoon. He's at:48.



But when “Dagger” showed it meant you’d get “The Corbomite Maneuver” next and the two-part pilot after that, so things were cool.


Match today. Also, quite close to the paperback version of "Graveyard." In fact I'm going to go work on it now.

PS Fans of the bygone Screed may be interested in this.
















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