When I first started working on my first novel and getting serious about writing I would jot down notes whenever I noticed something interesting or had an idea. I did this at bars, school, coffee houses, etc. One place that was always interesting was Waffle House.
In 2002 I was “spiritual advisor” for Coach Ferrell and the basketball team. Before you knock the title “spiritual advisor,” the team did win State that year. During the state playoffs, late February 2002, Coach Ferrell and I stopped at a Waffle House late one night. The moment you walk in there is three things you notice right off:
1. the sweet nutty vanilla smell of the waffle batter.
2. the cloud of cigarette smoke.
3. the fact that you’ve entered another dimension of the universe in which the majority of people who are in Waffle House only come out at night.
If you’ve been in a Waffle House during the day then you don’t understand. Something happens at Waffle House past 11p.m. It goes through a metamorphosis. I really believe it is some type of paranormal keyhole or alternate universe portal.
While Coach and I waited on our food, we began to make up stories about each person who was present. By the end of the night, we had a story for every person and how they all interrelated to one another. I wish I still had my notes from that night.
Last week my friend Mark and I took a bike trip to Kansas. The first night of travel we stayed in Springfield Missouri, and our hotel was right next to a Waffle House. It was around 11 or midnight when we got settled. We were both very tired but also hungry. As we passed through the doors into the square, yellow universe of Waffle House I noticed the three former things right off. I was too tired to try to think of each person’s story, but I did notice some interesting facts or tidbits that solidify my belief that it is an alternate universe.
First, did you know that Waffle House does have a reservation policy? So please be forewarned that if you ever visit a Waffle House please take a guest. You will want to sit in a booth. Just trust me on this one, don’t go alone!
Second, did you know that Waffle House is the World’s Leading Server of USDA choice T-Bone Steaks? Of all the steak houses in the World, it is Waffle House who serves the most. Seriously? This has to be a false claim. That is unless Waffle House is meaning in their World.
Third, did you know that Waffle House serves America’s Best Coffee? I am a coffee lover. I have had coffee in many different places in America, and it is very hard for me to believe that Waffle House serves the best. This can only be true if Waffle House means the America of its alternate universe.
Fourth, did you know that Waffle House has its own hit music? I will let the pic speak for itself.
Lastly, did you know that Waffle House is a ministry/church? Waffle House’s mission statement is about changing lives. I’m assuming the cook is the minister, the waitress is the worship leader, the visitors are the parishioners, the register is the offering plate, and the waffle is the altar.
So, if you are ever brave enough to cross the threshold of this other universe be careful if it is after 11 p.m. 🙂