When the 74-year-old Polish woman wants to have breakfast out with her vegetarian granddaughter, there are few options. I’ve learned better than to go to any old diner, or a joint like Friendly’s because they certainly don’t think twice about throwing batter on a griddle slathered in bacon fat. I like to think that IHOP has a special griddle just for pancakes, given that’s what they’re known for, and so choose it as the lesser evil. While there this morning with dear grandmother, it was blaringly apparent that everyone seated at tables around us was overweight. Depressing. While a normal person might try to ignore the pudgy people contentedly stuffing their faces, my grandmother, in her famous loud whisper, kept making remarks about how important it is to not be fat. You should have seen the look on her face when the male half of the older couple next to us told his waitress that he has diabetes. That was her cue to pucker up her face, semi-close one eye, and rather loudly say, ‘No wonder, he gets from eating so much! (She speaks broken English.)
While I was waiting for her to finish scraping up the yellow goo from her sunny side-up eggs on to her hash browns (she made a point of not eating the top of the potatoes, darker from being fried, thinking she was saving herself some calories, but the bacon and the sausage weren’t spared, go figure), a familiar song hit my ear. I couldn’t believe that Rufus Wainwright’s Sanssouci was playing! In an IHOP! Bizarre. A nice surprise, but so out of context. He is peerless, but goes under the radar often. People just don’t know how to appreciate such a massive talent (and certainly not the crowd of a pancake house). I almost don’t mind that he isn’t bathed in popular adoration (okay, I totally don’t mind). Whenever that happens there is a danger of something special being lost.
(I wanted to upload my video of Rufus performing this song at a Barnes and Noble in NYC, but it won’t link! Damn it!)