Just chill, it is all part of Gladstone's dining experience
The advice came by text message. I was standing at the bar, and had been for about 10 minutes. But this wasn't a bit of friendly cocktailing-making wisdom.
My fella was sitting 20 metres away, phone in hand, grinning at my gritted teeth.
I was investigating whether we were going to get fed - and hope was fading fast.
For our wedding, sweet Melbourne friends had done their research, and presented us with a voucher for a Gladstone establishment, the one with superior views and an apparently unenforced no-thong policy. (Don't change!)
We'd chosen a lazy Sunday evening to spend it - but two beers in, our culinary plans were kaput.
"We need the original voucher," the waitress said firmly. "This is a photocopy."
It seemed unlikely that our mates would have had a voucher sent out, only to photocopy it for the presenting.
Perhaps they'd been emailed the voucher, and printed it - "Is there any way anyone could find out?"
I thought I'd said it calmly. As she scurried off, the text message lobbed. Maybe not.
Like any struggling student, I've done my time on the other side of the bar.
And for all the burnt coffees and mixed-up orders delivered by teenage waitress me, no doubt I'm owed some foodie frustration in return.
I've just never known karma to be so geographically centralised.
Like the time we finished a perfect feed at the second-fanciest joint in town - only to be corralled for 20 minutes. Only the owner could take payment - and he was off buying milk.
Or the two-hour wait for a Wednesday night feed, when the waitress wore a track coming back and forth between us and the kitchen, offering apologies and complimentary drinks. In the end, we got it free.
So no complaints! While uncharitable thoughts occasionally occur, dining dramas are just a challenge.
Like the old adage "it tastes better when someone else has cooked it", an uneventful feed out tastes sweeter still.
Back at home on Sunday night, and full of homemade Mexican, I got a flustered call - the voucher was found, we could come in any time.
And honestly, I can't wait - after all, a side of frustration still tastes better than my cooking.