Guest Checks: Friendship as Written by Café Law
Hidden beneath a paper tablecloth somewhere within an eatery in New Jersey are the guidelines to friendship as determined by café law.
A trusted dining companion brings two bottles of wine because they know all too well that the taste of their favorite merlot reminds you of Triaminic cough syrup that your mother used to force down your throat in childhood when you had a cold.
They sacrifice the seat with a view of the porch to avoid the alternate indigestion-inducing view of you craning your neck, rambling on and on about the "cute little wrought iron chairs" that would "totally fit in with your decor if only you gave them a chance".
A good friend takes an extra slice of your favorite bread in preparation for the moment you decide that your low-carb diet can be put off for another day, season, decade, or parallel universe. They are a liaison to the waitress on behalf of your steak that was idealized as medium rare, but arrived, instead, in the form of jumbo beef jerky.
Two cupcakes. Two forks. Zero boundaries dividing the table in half.
Your correct coffee order will be placed when using the restroom (server's station) to "take care of business" (pay for the bill) — an action that has previously tested your friendship and will continue do so, without fail, throughout many a dinner to come.
They will remind you that a twenty percent tip is the first three digits doubled, with a decimal point that floats towards the front, but it doesn't matter anyway because the waitress was a snot-nosed brat with your missing silverware shoved up one of her lower orifices. And when that mucus droplet of a server arrives with complementary cookies to take home, your friend will slap them out of your hand and onto the table.
"And let my dinner date defecate on the diet that she's committed to?" she scoffs, shoving shortbread in her mouth.