"She don't got no power over me no more!" a customer cries loudly to his tablemates. "She lost that power when she lost the car keys. Ain't no one got no power over me."
The waiter glances sternly at the diner who is raising his voice and makes a gesture that means "above acceptable volume." There are unwritten rules. The service here's seen everything.
It's 3 a.m. on a full-moon weekend at the Majestic Diner. Things are hopping at the always-open eatery where there's even a bouncer (OK, doorman). Four short-order cooks are moving quickly, flipping endless eggs. Servers carefully traverse the floor. People are starting to stumble in from the outside, where neon lights are beckoning tired, hungry diners to the spinning red counter seats and cozy booths.
"Serving since 1929," the Majestic is where the drunk go to sober up before they venture home, or where the sober go to fuel up before beginning their night on the town.
A policeman on a break or off for the night gives a hearty hello to a working girl who gleefully shimmies up to his table. When he says he hasn't seen her on the street lately, she assures him she's up to "the same old tricks." It's like the diner has become a no-fire zone where everyone is redeemed for the time it takes to take in a waffle.
The customers include the toothless, the tattooed and a handful of business-clad conventioneers straight from the World of Concrete wrap-up.
Among the concrete party boys are two Japanese and a German wildly playing with translation machines in a mad effort to communicate with the waiter and each other. There is some confusion over what a patty melt and pancakes are. They end up all ordering those great universals, ice cream and coffee.
A man has stormed into the women's restroom after his "girlfriend."
Outside there is a young woman nervously pacing back and forth crying. She keeps trying to dial a number on her cell phone and, obviously reaching no one, hangs up and curses and cries and paces once more.
Sadly, someone still has power over her.
Still the frenetic Majestic remains free. Among Atlanta's surrounding neighborhoods, this landmark still stands, where the only thing that changes is the nature of the chaos. Otherwise, hash is always flinging and some customer singing to his or her own tune.
Majestic Diner, 1031 Ponce de Leon Ave. 404-875-0276. Open 24 hours.
I'm pretty sure he was 19.
3 people apparently love handing over an extra 40% in fees for nothing in return…
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