Scenes from a Red Robin

We've all been there. We've all been there.

It is loud in here. I can barely hear Stephanie over the low-grade roar of the other Red Robin patrons. We must look like we’re doing something ultra sketchy because the other folks waiting for tables keep casting sideways glances at us.

“What’s your zip code again?” I ask, without looking up. She answers and I continue to tap away at my phone.

Granted, the strange looks may be because of our attire. We did just come from the barn. I’m sporting a large green pony-snot stain on my leg, and I probably have hay or grain in my hair, while Stephanie looks a little bit more composed. I finish filling out the page and press next, absently watching the hyperactive child a few feet from us engage in what I can only describe as some sort of interpretive dance. When I glance back down at my phone, I am rewarded by angry red letters demanding an emergency contact. I blink a few times, my post-barn exhaustion and hunger making the words seem like hieroglyphs for a moment.

“Oh … you need an emergency contact,” comes stumbling out of my mouth. “Should I put your man, or your parents or whatever?”

Stephanie pauses for a moment and I look up. I had expected to see her deep in thought, instead she’s distracted by the disjointed movements of the lobby’s interpretive dancer. She shakes her head after a moment. “Um … you? I guess? Since you’ll be there.”

I make a face and enter myself as her emergency contact, tapping next once I’ve finished. I’m only vaguely aware as the interpretive dancer and her entourage are led away by one of the hosts deeper in to the restaurant. My eyes stay fixed on the little screen in front of me. “Gimme yer credit card.  It’s gonna be like … four hundred bucks.”

Stephanie’s nose wrinkles upon hearing that. She digs out the plastic as I continue, “Don’t read it out loud.  Just … here. Hold it.”

“Okay, fine.” Stephanie rolls her eyes at me and holds her credit card steady while I punch the numbers into my phone. I somehow manage to get everything entered correctly and hit submit. I bite my lip as I watch the little bar zip across the top of my iPhone. Right as I’m about to look away, the new page loads, and Xentry is happily reporting to me confirmation of Stephanie’s entry for Twin Rivers in April.

Suddenly, this whole moving up thing is real, and I catch an anxious breath. Even though I’d done my entry a day or two before, the whole concept of going Novice catches me in a way where it is a funny blend of big-deal and totally-not-a-big-deal-at-all. I blink at the screen and smile. “You’re in. We’re good.”

Stephanie smiles and cheers, right as the host signals that he has a table for us. I marvel at the fact that I’ve just filled out an event entry on my phone. As we weave through the restaurant, I debate the merits of using “the time it takes me to use Xentry to enter an event on my iPhone” as a new standard in measuring how long I will wait for a table at a busy restaurant.

As we’re seated, I can see the interpretive dancer over Stephanie’s shoulder. The kid is still getting down to whatever internal soundtrack is playing. I smirk to myself because the kid is right. Today is worth celebrating. Some days you just have to dance. Today is one of those days. We’re entered in to the first recognized event of our season, and it’s going to be awesome.

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