I am resurrecting the State Memory Project for NaBloPoMo as a good way to fill space on those days when I can't think of anything else to say. When you account for states I haven't been to before, so have no memory of, I left off at Georgia.
I have been to Georgia once - in 2003. Sweetie had a female student qualify for the National Forensics Tournament that year, so I got a free trip to Atlanta to serve as female chaperon.
Our first night in town we met up with some other teams from Washington at Underground Atlanta for dinner. We converged in a courtyard outside of a Hooters and laid out the plan. Everyone was going to scatter to their restaurant of choice, eat, and return to the courtyard at the appointed time. Hooters was off limits. And we're off.
As Sweetie and I went into the mall with a couple of other coaches we soon realized a problem with the plan - we had arrived at the mall about 5-10 minutes before closing time, so all of the restaurants were shutting down. We headed back to the courtyard, confident that all of the kids were intelligent enough that they would do the same thing when they had nowhere to eat and nowhere to shop available to them.
When we arrived back at the courtyard a few students were missing - including ours. We ventured into Hooters to see if the students had broken the rules and lo and behold, they were there and waiting for their food to arrive. There was a moment between the three coaches (each of whom had a student at the table) where there was a tension in the air as they tried to figure out the next step to take.
As my official role on the trip was to have breasts and a vagina, I just stood there waiting to follow Sweetie's lead. His student was 18, he knew her parents wouldn't care, and we knew she was already being tortured as a vegetarian forced to eat at Hooters, so he decided to just let things slide at the time.
Somehow, perhaps just due to inertia, it was decided that everyone would now be having dinner at Hooters. It was open, it was convenient, we were hungry. The coaches had a chuckle over the fact that this is one meal they'd be paying for themselves, as there is no way in heck they'd be expensing a receipt from Hooters at the end of the trip. Coaches were forbidding students from even looking at the gift shop, much less purchasing anything. One coach had big concerns about the reaction that her young, conservative student's parents would have if they learned their son had been to a Hooters while on a school trip and we tried to work through a best plan of action for her to follow. It was going to just be a funny little footnote to the trip.
Except we had horrible service at our table. Sweetie and I were sitting with two other coaches, and I believe we had a different waitress than the rest of our group, even though we were all sitting at contiguous tables. Our waitress was very slow to take our orders and our food was taking forever to come out. The other tables - big tables - that sat down at the same time as we did got their food before we did. We pointed this out. They were finishing their food. They were getting their bill. They were paying their bill. We still had no food, and kept pointing out to our waitress that we needed to get our food so that we could be more-or-less on the same schedule as everyone else. Still, no food arrived. Everyone else had eaten, paid, an if we stuck around much longer people WOULD be venturing into the gift shop, so we had no other choice than to cut our losses.
We threw some cash on the table to cover all of our drinks (plus appropriate tip on those drinks) and left with everyone else.
While we were gathering everyone back up in the courtyard to get ready to head back to the hotel, Sweetie stopped at an ATM to get some cash. I was loitering nearby him, and saw a cop come out of Hooters with the manager, ask one of the coaches we had been sitting with to remove his hands from his pockets, and asked him and our other coach-friend to step into the restaurant. Sweetie and I followed them in, because obviously something was afoot.
The manager and cop were accusing us of dining and dashing. Apparently, it is a common crime at this particular Hooters. The female coach of our group quickly took control of the situation, pointing out that in order to dine and dash one must first dine, and it was impossible for us to have dined as we had never received any food. We pointed out that we had left money for our drinks - it was still sitting on the table. At about this time our waitress (proving that Hooters does not hire women for their brains) indicated that our food was finally ready! You could see all of the gears connecting in the manager's brain as he offered to box up our meals to go. We declined the offer and got the heck out of there.
A few lectures to the students on appropriate behavior later and we ended up eating at the Rock Bottom Brewery next to the hotel. Much better food. With a good story to tell about how we almost got arrested at Hooters while on a high school trip. And I can still say I've never eaten at Hooters.
.... and yes, this is the same memory my Sweetie shared, but if you had something like this happen to you wouldn't it be high on your list of memories as well?