I found myself downtown last week on a rainy day without an umbrella. But hark, there was the familiar awning of Les Halles, a place where I've had some pleasant experiences. So I dashed inside and sat down. I suddenly realized I wasn't hungry. When the waiter appeared, I said without much thought, "I'll have half a dozen cherrystones, a beer, and the croque monsieur."
Soon enough the waiter reappeared with a plate of crustaceans. I was lost in some sort of business-related reverie and I automatically started to eat.
And, as in uffish thought [I] stood, (huh?) it registered that I was not enjoying what I was eating. But I was deep into my rumination. When the sandwich came, I thought, "Oh, this is better."
Then the check arrived and I woke up. I had been served oysters, not clams. They were scrawny, sandy and tastless. The waiter freely admitted his error and changed the price, but I was still pissed.
Some of you may wonder how the president of The Oyster Foundation (me) could be so dumb. No excuse. I called the manager over and told her there were two problems: one, I had been served something I didn't order, and two, it was terrible. She gave me her card and said the next time I came I would get VIP service. Oh, please! Thanks a lot. The only thing that would have assuaged me would have been a complimentary serving of real clams and an apology for Vichy crimes.
But the truth is, I didn't complain when the wrong dish came and I did eat those pathetic little stringy things. I deserved to pay the price for my obliviousness. So I left.
It was still raining.