Friday 30 Sep 2016

Rainy Day Off
Matt Seinberg

My wife, Marcy, had been planning for a couple of weeks to go to the East End of Long Island for a day of apple picking and lunch. She changed her schedule so we would be off on a Friday together. As the day approached, the weather report was not cooperating.

The forecast called for rain from Friday on through the following week. We needed a backup plan. That plan didn’t happen until Friday morning, when it really did start to rain. Plan B was to see a movie, “The Help,” at the local theater and then have a late lunch.

I started the day by sleeping late, anything after 8 AM is late to me, and doing some laundry, one of my favourite indoor activities. We had to be out of the house by 11:40 am for an 11:50 am show, which means the movie starts at 12:15 pm, after all the ads and previews.

We found a mostly empty theatre and had our choice of seats. Normally, in a movie that would be crowded, I would take an aisle about three quarters of the way back. In this empty theatre, we sat in pretty much the middle of the rows and seats.

Marcy and I had heard about the movie, but didn’t read the book or know of anyone who had seen it. I really wanted to see “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” but Marcy is not into that kind of movie at all. I figured since she took the day off, I’d be nice and see something that interested her.

I expected to like it, but not love it. I loved by all aspects of the movie, from the brilliant writing, to the fine acting. Emma Stone, as Eugenia "Skeeter," Phelan is the main character, tying together stories from all the maids. She decides to write, “The Help,” after seeing how her friends treat their help and discovering she doesn’t agree with any of their narrow-minded views.

Viola Davis plays Abileen Clark, the first maid that agrees to talk to Skeeter and tells stories for the book. Octavia Spencer is Minny Jackson, the second maid that agrees to talk to Skeeter after her firing. She used her employer’s bathroom. Now, this isn't a reason to fire anyone, but it was in the early 1960s.

Watching these three women, with each other, and learning to trust one another is an eye opening experience. In 1963 Jackson, Mississippi, it was unheard of for a white woman to talk to, much less socialize with, a Black woman. This is not a movie review, but if you’d like to watch a movie that could open your eyes to how huge the racial problem was in the US, “The Help” is for you.

After the movie, we decided to try a new BBQ restaurant that opened down the road in East Meadow, called RUB BBQ. RUB means Righteous Urban BBQ and the first one opened in 2005, in New York City.

The location they chose to open is in my opinion, cursed. There have been at least 4-5 other restaurants in this building, including Ruby’s Famous BBQ, which closed after being open less than a year.

Being the rib lover I am, as loyal readers know, I had to try this place and get Marcy to agree. I had a bad feeling when we first got there after the movie, around 2:30 and the place was practically empty. I saw six diners, and at least as twice as much staff. Makes you wonder.

The host greets us and takes us to a booth. Marcy thinks this is the same booth we sat in when it was Ruby’s. This is not a good sign of things to come.

The server comes over, gives us menus. He asks if we want anything to drink and walks away. I had another bad feeling, as he never smiled, nor did he introduce himself. At least fake it and give us your name dude! Pretend you like your job and give decent service.

Unfortunately, decent service and food was not to be. We give the waiter our order, and begin our long wait. From every restaurant-based reality television show I’ve ever watched, lunch is supposed to arrive, at your table, within eight to ten minutes. At twenty minutes, Marcy finally got her diet cola. At twenty-five minutes, I called the waiter over. In the firmest voice I could muster without yelling, explained my wife was getting impatient, and where was our food. Why was it taking so long in an empty restaurant to get the food?

The waiter tells me that the ribs I chose, what they call the “Bony End” were out. He was going to substitute their “award winning” double smoked and glazed ribs. I said okay. I had no choice. Marcy had a cheeseburger, with sweet potato fries.

Finally, thirty minutes after ordering, our food arrives. My ribs glazed, all right, as if cooked within an inch of their life. The fries are hot and crispy, but the onion twists are mostly undercooked and raw. Only the small cut ones are hot and crispy.

I start to cut in the ribs. The meat is so touch, cutting it is hard work. This is not fall of the bone, lick your fingers and spank your grandma rib. This rib makes me work for every little morsel. Still, these are not tender, but tasty.

Not once during our meal did anyone come over to ask how everything was, or thank us for coming in on such a rainy day. Even when I raised my voice to the waiter about the wait, no one came over.

My advice is this: stay about from RUB BBQ and don’t waste your money. Although priced like most BBQ restaurants, the food and service is below par. If this is how the staff works, after being open only a month, at this location, imagine in six months.

Should I have spoken to the manager at some point to express my disappointment? Yes, I probably should talk with the manager. I will send an email telling them about my negative meal. Maybe I’ll get some sort of compensation. I did that last year when I had a problem with Smokin’ Al’s in Massapequa, and got a response from owner Al Horowitz.

At the beginning, they should be on their best service, and hope to improve on that. This was terrible service. I don’t see it getting any better since no one seems to care.

After lunch, we got home and decided to watch television. I had recorded “Hell’s Kitchen”’ that was going to take up 90 minutes. I was disappointed Paul beat Will.

Marcy wants to try apple picking again in a couple of weeks. Let’s hope it doesn’t rain and we pick a better place for lunch.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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