by Chrysa Smith

Did you know there are diner conventions? Yep, found that out one day while reading the wall at Daddypops—the bright, aluminum diner in Hatboro, PA that serves up a great, greasy breakfast.

What could they possibly exhibit? Perhaps old-school seating, tables, malted milk machines, tableware and I suspect, a dictionary of waitress vernacular.

It’s one of the things I love about diners–there’s always that gal with attitude that calls you by more endearing metaphors than your mother.

Just today, I took my mom to the Ace Diner in Warrington, PA. There was a smattering of customers in there and we were blessed enough to have one of the most attentive waitresses I can remember. Sweetie, honey, dear, ‘my gal’, doll were all I can muster up right now. But let’s just say that I left there feeling awfully special. And for good reason. As a customer, I sure am. Only other ‘quick eats’ establishments often fail to realize that—leaving me to eat my chips and hummus in the privacy of my home.

Diners are no gourmet’s dream, but they serve a great place in American culture. Not only do they bring back some great memories, but they were and still are fun places to eat with fun personalities. Take the cook for example. Like ‘Al’ from Al’s Diner above, a rugged guy in t-shirt and hat; often with a butt hanging out of his mouth, yelling ‘Table 7 is up!’ There’s the bus boy with his teen complexion clearing tables while nodding to the beat of the juke box. And there’s the woman who pulls it all together—the waitress. Dressed in a button-down uniform, she most usually has a tough demeanor with a sweet mouth, taking care of you in a tough love sort of way.

When I’m in the mood for a little nostalgia, a greasy meal or to be admired, a diner is in order. Especially today, in the fast-paced, techno world, it can be a respite of past warmth, if only for one meal. Forget the calories and enjoy the meal. It’s just what the doctor ordered.