I always think it’s interesting to hear someone say, “I was pleasantly surprised.” On the surface this appears to be a good thing, and in fact, it probably is. However, to me, this phrase indicates that one wasn’t planning to be surprised at all, and anticipated that a particular encounter or event would indeed suck. Have you ever heard someone say that he/she was unpleasantly surprised?  Well, maybe you have, but that’s not the point….or is it?

What is the point then, you ask? No freakin’ clue, dude! Perhaps it was an attempt to point fingers at those “glass half-empty” people (Cheer up, Charlie!). Of course, it could be the fact that I recently watched “Pretty Woman” and haven’t been able to shake what struck me as a poignant exchange between Edward and Vivian. Edward (Richard Gere) says something to the effect of “…people rarely surprise me,” to which Vivian (Julie Roberts) counters, “Yeah, well you’re lucky,  because they surprise the hell out of me.”

To be surprised means lots of different things in lots of different situations.  Webster defines it thusly:

1. to come upon or discover suddenly and unexpectedly; “Don’t surprise the cat like that!”

2. to make an unexpected assault on (an unprepared army, fort, person, etc.); “The ENTIRE German army, well Surprise, Surprise!”

3. to elicit or bring out suddenly and without warning; ”Put that away, you’re surprising me.”

4. something that surprises someone; a completely unexpected occurrence, appearance, or statement; “I was pleasantly surprised when the service took a turn for the better and our meal was a complete…um, surprise?”

While numbers 1 and 2 don’t do much for me and 3 could be taken completely out of context and ruin someone’s career, number 4 seems to fit the bill for an encounter I had last week.

While my glass was half-full in anticipation of meeting Eric Gitenstein (MF Tasty) and Jeff Kraus (Truckin’ Good Food), it developed a slow leak when Abbie and I were greeted (if you can call it that) at the reception stand of a local eatery. There were 4 people in the place, it was 4 p.m. and there were going to be 4 of us in about 4 minutes– no problema, si?  NOT! 

Gratuitous whispering ensued, management was called into play, and we were grudgingly told that they USUALLY don’t seat a party until everyone arrives, but today, they would make an exception (Happy Valentine’s Day!). Next time, if they were busy, we’d have to wait.  Drip, drip, drip.

Things start looking up as cute waiter number 1 steps in…until he brings his serious attitude to the table. Drip, drip, Drip. I order my Pinot Grigio (really small pour) and Abbie gets a flat Sprite with lipstick stains on the glass.  Drip, drip, drip. Mr. Attitude gets repositioned to the patio and cute waiter number 2 enters (stage left), with a shiny new Sprite for Abbie, a big fat smile, and announces the stupendous happy hour pricing. One leak plugged.

Eric and Jeff (and his wife, Erin) arrived and were actually nervous to meet me. They must have read EaterAZ’s article about me being “Bat Shit-Crazy” or they hadn’t listened to my show and thought I was ‘proper’. The hell with that! After dropping a few gratuitous “F- Bombs” and a few shady jokes, we were well on our way to being–what do the kids call it nowadays? BFFs?

Everyone relaxed and we shared some snacks, some stories and some serious laughter, and soon, my glass runneth over!  Were they pleasantly surprised?  I sure hope so.