Party of eight

Nothing's better than eating breakfast alone at a good diner, and Mrs Rigby's is great, but I had an idea... and it might have been a bad idea.

May 8, 2022

I issued a standing invitation to my family and few remaining friends in Seattle, to join me for breakfast at Mrs Rigby's, any Saturday morning. It seemed like an easy way to keep connected to the family.

The deal is: I take the bus, always arrive at 9:15 AM, and leave on the 10:17 bus for home. Meet me at Mrs Rigby's at 9:15 if you want, and we can have breakfast together — Dutch treat, of course. An hour later, I'm leaving.

If you're not there, no big deal, I'll read my magazine and eat my omelet and take the bus home.

Mrs Rigby's is at least five miles from anyone's house but mine, so my stupid expectation was that occasionally family and friends would take me up on this offer, but that most of the time I'd be eating alone.

I'm an idiot, of course.

The first Saturday after my invitation, my mom, my sister, and my sister's best friend all came to breakfast. Sure, I love 'em and it was nice, but talk talk talk, instead of being on the 10:17 bus for home, I was at Mrs Rigby's until 11:00.

On the second Saturday, a/k/a yesterday, we were a party of eight — my brother, my sister, my mom, my nephew and his two kids, and an old friend of mine. We needed to drag two tables together, and the restaurant was busy and loud, and I couldn't hear conversations from across the other table. Sure, I love 'em and it was nice, but talk talk talk, instead of being on the 10:17 bus for home, I was at Mrs Rigby's until 11:30.

Everyone says they love seeing me and love Mrs Rigby's, but even with endless coffee, breakfast with eight people was exhausting. Here's hoping I'm a novelty that'll soon wear off, and the crowds will dwindle to me +1, or me +2, or me +0…

At yesterday's breakfast, I was a cranky old fart. The first three times my mom asked about my recliner, I ignored her. Then she said, "Excuse me," and loudly repeated her third question, "Do you still sleep in the recliner without reclining?"

I looked at her but said nothing. Mom knows very well that I'm annoyed by her endless questions about recliners. We've talked about recliners, and about how I'm tired of talking about recliners, and her memory is perfect (for things she wants to remember), so when I stared at her, she sipped her coffee and talked to my brother Clay instead.

Damned if she didn't ask again about the recliner, though, five minutes later.

"Are you still sleeping in a recliner, without reclining?"

"Do you want to do this here, in front of everyone, on the day before Mother's Day?" I asked. "I'll do it if you really want it."

"I don't understand," she said. "I was only asking about your new recliner."

My speech was rehearsed, because I knew this scene was coming. Probably I didn't deliver it as smooth as I'll type it, because when I'm angry (and I was angry) I get flustered in the moment. I did pretty good, though, kept my voice low, and said approximately:

"When you and Katrina invited me to stay in your house, she said I'd be sleeping in a recliner in the living room. I said that wouldn't be a problem, as I always sleep in a recliner.

"That's all I ever wanted to say about recliners, but in every single conversation we've had since then, in person or on the phone, you have asked me about recliners, told me how to sit in a recliner, insisted that I have to recline in the recliner, and found other ways to bring up me and the recliner.

"I have nothing left to say about recliners, so that subject is now and forever closed between you and I.

"And also: Mentioning just once that I sleep in a recliner — an ever-so-slightly personal detail of my life — has led to literally hours of inquisition and advice about recliners, and that's why I never tell you about anything that actually matters from my life. That's why I don't call often, Mom, and why I don't have much to say when I do."

"Does anyone want more coffee?" It was the waitress, and I think she'd been waiting for me to finish.

I said "Yes, thanks," and she poured, and then my sister asked my nephew about his daughter, and breakfast continued like it would never end. Nobody said anything about my outburst, and Mom just smiled her innocent smile. She didn't mention the recliner again — but I know she will.

In my room at the boarding house, there's a coat-rack with six pegs (bought for $12 from Amazon, years and years ago). It holds a few baseball caps, an umbrella dangling on a cord, and my bathrobe. My coat is never on the coat-rack, because I'm a slob; the coat gets dropped on the floor when I come home, along with my pants.

A few days after I moved in, the coat-rack fell, which perplexed me. It wasn't holding much weight — at five pounds or so, my fluffy bathrobe is the heaviest thing on it — and when it fell I was across the room. Hadn't touched the coat-rack in hours.

The room's floor is somewhat slanted, so after the first toppling I've paid attention to the distribution of various items on the coat-rack, arranging everything for what seems to be maximum don't-toppletude. I've nudged the coat-rack on purpose, testing its stability, and it seems perfectly sound, and yet, the coat-rack topples every few days.

Usually when it falls, I'm in my recliner, way across the room, but it fell while once I was out. The fifth time it toppled was a few nights ago while I was asleep, at 3:something in the morning. I didn't even click the light on — just figured, oh, it's the coat-rack again, and went back to sleep.

The next morning I stood the coat-rack up, gave it a fairly firm poke in every direction, and it was absolutely stable. Not even a teeter. When it toppled again in the afternoon, I finally figured out what's happening:

Next to the coat-rack is a small table, and under the table is the cat's litter. I happened to be watching my cat poop, because it's kind of interesting to watch a cat poop. When she finished, she covered the evidence like cats do, jumped out of the litter box, and the coat-rack toppled.

Mystery solved. If the cat jumps from exactly the wrong corner of the litter-box, her leap pushes on a floorboard, lifting the other end of that floorboard, which is under one of the coat-rack's three legs. The coat-rack falls down, goes boom, and the cat runs and hides.

I could hammer the floorboard down, but it was easier to simply move the litter-box six inches south. I don't have many accomplishments to brag about, but now there's this: the coat-rack no longer topples when the cat poops.

Ncuti Gatwa Is the new Doctor Who 

Russell T Davies is now at work, repairing the damage done to an excellent show over the past few years.

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Women who fought for US abortion rights in the 70s call for mass global protests 

Abortion-rights protest targets homes of Kavanaugh, Roberts 

Madison anti-abortion headquarters hit by apparent Molotov cocktail, vandalism, graffiti 

♦ ♦ ♦  

"Mayor Puckett, the voters have spoken. Do you have any regrets about your giant chicken?" 

♦ ♦ ♦  

Painting swapped in 70s for grilled cheese sandwich serves up windfall

Cranky Old Fart is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...


  1. >I issued a standing invitation to my family and few remaining friends in Seattle, to join me for breakfast at Ruby's, any Saturday morning.

    Why, why, why would you ruin that? Jesus fucking fuck, dude. I haven't read past the first paragraph yet, but damn.

    Just gotta go Sunday only,now

    1. I'm here in Seattle (at least partly) to see the family. Seemed like a good idea to see them under my terms, at my home field so to speak (though never at my home, I've made that clear).

  2. Well, my first reaction is, just answer the question about the recliner, maybe a follow-up and then move on. But simple sanity isn't easy with family as my own outbursts have shown so well.
    LIKE THE JIMMY CARR REFERENCE! That guy is FUNNY and jeez, very few or no boundaries.
    Cool you're open to the family gatherings, you're asking for it! (ie, more material.)

    1. Yeah, but it's hard to get material when there's so many people I can't hear...

      No more recliner questions, no more follow-ups. She's been asking the same questions for a month plus a week.

    2. I had no idea this was a recliner-sleepers meeting. I've slept in a recliner since my first or second back surgery, maybe 2010. What's Ruby's address and how much should I tip the valet parking attendant? (My car has leaked oil since the early aughts and a little light tipping sometimes compensates for the sawdust treatment). And, of course, the standard attire question: jeans or sweats? (I wear sweats, but they go best with my downscale shirts). And I don't know about you, but I recline in my recliner. See ya Saturday.


    3. I see the Googlites don't know you've departed Mad City; the blogclock is still set to CT. This might be the least of your worries, but I am unfamiliar with your list of worries.


    4. Thanks for your keen eye and sense of good (or bad) timing. For all the ways Google's software is hinky and difficult, I gotta confess it took only thirty seconds clicking through an intuitively-designed set of settings, to find and correct my time zone and post this at... 9:54 AM Pacific Time.

    5. Love you man, but I keep my private world and family world as far apart as possible. They know nothing of this page, and if you showed up at the pseudonymous Ruby's, all the walls of time and space, science and witchcraft, physics and phonics and alfalfa would all collapse into a fiery implosion as if a super-colossal zip had been squeezed in reverse.

    6. I assumed, I think correctly, that you'd recognize that I was parodying what it must feel like to make a well-intentioned offer of family solidarity and have it immediately oversubscribed. I didn't mean to panic you. And the second sentence of your response is the kind of prose that brought me here and keeps me coming back.

      Good luck with the weekly family reunions.


    7. Your assumption was correct, but I sunk my brilliant quip with a typo, 'zip' instead of 'zit'. I was at the coffee shop and had only had a few sips, or zips.

      My brother CC'd me in an email to my nephew yesterday, in which he said he'd be joining me for breakfast at Ruby's "every Saturday until the end of time."

    8. So when time ends you'll be able to have a cup of Ruby's hot java in peace.

      And I think that "zip" is an underused word in the lexicon.


    9. Well, I do have a sanity failsafe. Told myself from the start, any time someone shows up at Ruby's so my breakfast isn't one of quiet solitude, I get to come back another morning that week for a second breakfast, alone.

      Which I've done every week so far, and apparently until the end of time.

    10. >My brother CC'd me in an email to my nephew yesterday, in which he said he'd be joining me for breakfast at Ruby's "every Saturday until the end of time."

      So now I'm praying for the end of time
      To hurry up and arrive
      'Cause If I have to spend another minute with you
      I don't think that I can really survive

      -Jim Steinman

    11. The poet behind Meatloaf, of course.

  3. Unless the Googlites are bouncing these digital signals off the star cluster Atakapa, they misplaced another comment. I'm not complaining, just informing and quietly getting Atakapa travel package information.


    1. You do separate your life. I don't suppose you have a butler named Alfred to tidy up your room and draw the occasional bath . . . perhaps take the cat for a walk? And does the cat also have a nom de meow? I have nine felines and with my advancing age I have enough trouble keeping track of their given names, although they all have the same political party affiliation, so that cuts down on exercising the old bean.

    2. I would love to have nine cats, long as they get along with each other. No nom de meows for my cat; she ignores me no matter what I call her, unless I'm opening a can.


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