Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pei Wei and Go Away

I walked to a natural foods store today and bought bananas. The store is scrupulous about their environmental practices, so they don't provide plastic bags. You either bring your own bags or load your groceries in a cardboard box from the big bin at the front of the store. I stowed my bananas in a box and carried it outside. Across the parking lot a new restaurant called Pei Wei had just opened. I went over to check it out.

When I walked in, the lady at the cash register greeted me with a wary smile. Her caution was probably understandable. I was in full doofus mode with my old straw hat, my plaid lumberjack shirt, and my box of bananas. I asked how the restaurant's name was pronounced. "Pay Way," she said.

"Not Pee Wee?" I asked.

"No." Her smile looked strained around her cheekbones.

"What does the name mean?"

"Picking up food," she replied, making grasping motions with her hands. "It means that we put together various ingredients. There are menus over there," she said and turned away.

Fortified with this knowledge, I departed the Pei Wei restaurant. Perhaps I will return some day when I meet their sartorial standards.