When we walked into the restaurant the first thing I noticed was that only two other tables were occupied. Ok, it was a Sunday night I thought. The three of us were seated at the back by the pizza oven. The second thing I noticed was the man standing at the end of the bar as silent and inscrutable as a security camera. The manager or perhaps the new owner? I hadn't been to Cugini in years. Looking around for place to put my hat it seemed like a good idea to put it on the unoccupied fourth chair at our table. Our waitress was attentive if perhaps a little ill at ease. I assumed it had something to do with the man standing watching everyone's every move from the end of the bar near our table and near the kitchen. We had a pleasant meal and added 20% to the tab paid with a credit card. You might guess I forgot the hat. The sad truth is that I loved that hat but almost never wore it. So, I didn't realize it was missing for a few days and then took a day to remember when I last had it only because I recalled my wife telling me not to leave on the table at the empty fourth setting. I went back to the restaurant asked if they found my hat. I could see our waitress at work and Mr. Security Camera standing at his station. Now he was looking at me. After checking in the back, nope, no hats. I have no kind words for myself. I was pretty stupid to forget a hat I thought I cared so much about. But how could he have missed it? When we left there was only the couple at the other end of the restaurant and it was late. They would have been closing soon. Someone cleared the table not ten feet from him. So I won't go back. I told myself I didn't like the food that much and it is expensive for what you get. After all I had stopped eating there. But maybe I'm just embarrassed.
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