When in doubt, Waffle House. | My Family Travels
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New wedge heels: check. Suntan: check. Large cup of coffee: double check. Last night was going to be perfect. After seventeen years of coming to Orange Beach, AL, this was going to be the first night that my parents were letting me go out by myself. Well...myself, my thirteen-year-old sister, and a group of sixteen-year-old boys, consisting of my two brothers and their friend. After the usual speech and photo shoot by Mom, the night began.

Driving down Orange Beach Blvd., we shopped through the different neon signs looking for a parking lot that wasn’t overflowing into the yard. We stopped at a few of our favorite seafood eateries, including Live Bait and Gulf Island Grill, but found that the wait would be over an hour for anywhere we inquired. Strike one.

 I didn’t want to eat at the Hangout as it is notoriously overpriced, but it seemed like our only choice. Being the number one place for families in Gulf Shores, parking was completely full, so we parked at the souvenir shop across the street. As we made our way into the Hangout, the lively atmosphere and fun music quickly consoled my disappointment. I had my brothers find a table outside, and I made my way to the hostess table. After asking for a table for five, I was informed that the computer system used by the kitchen was down and that no more orders would be taken for the night. My rumbling stomach and I made our way back to the rest of the party and informed them of the news. Three-fourths of them explained that they had been expecting a teen club and wanted to leave, while my little sister complained that “there was nothing to do”. After pointing out the ping pong tables, beach volleyball, sand pits, and contests with no interest from my siblings, I felt that this was going to be a hard crowd to please. Strike two.

By now, we were completely starving and sweaty from the muggy ocean air. We walked 3 blocks to Papa Rocco’s, supposedly the best pizza in the area, where we were told the wait would only be thirty minutes. We spent the time sitting on the benches outside, listening to the bizarre 80’s cover band that was playing inside. After thirty minutes, I checked in with the hostess who apologized that the wait would be longer. Frustrated, I walked back outside to my party. That’s when it started to rain, hard. For a moment, we just stared at each other, exchanging glances that all seemed to say, “Is this seriously happening?” I thought I heard my little sister crying beside me. I looked over to see that she wasn’t sad at all; she was laughing. Suddenly, we all began to laugh, and the boys took off in a race towards the car which my sister and I joined after I removed my brand new shoes that had already been soaked by the spontaneous downpour. After running the three blocks back to the car, we came to a unanimous decision for dinner: Waffle House.

We all took a seat at the bar, leaving wet imprints on the stools. The waitress smiled at us as she took our order. Last night, I had every intention of having a totally cosmopolitan night like the young adult I am. However, I learned that being an adult doesn’t mean perfect nights that go as planned; it means taking your circumstances and making the best of them. Sure, it wasn’t seafood, but a waffle has never tasted so good. 

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