On a Fourth of July weekend outing, I discovered that mid-range hotel breakfast buffets, those oases of “complimentary” packaged muffins and mediocre scrambled eggs, are back and exactly the same as they were before. The chafing dishes lay uncovered. Unsanitized hands grabbed at the same serving utensils. There were nearly no masks in sight. Ahh, just like the old days. The waffle station was still the hottest part of the club, enticing both adults and their sullen, queue-averse offspring, who gave blank stares in response to polite inquiries like, “Are you in line for the eggs?” I managed to beat the crowds one morning and made myself my first waffle in probably three years. The result was golden brown, lightly crisp, and utterly ordinary. Even a pat of butter and admittedly too little maple syrup wasn’t enough to disguise the waffle’s lack of any distinguishing gustatory characteristics. But was it the waffle that had changed or just me? The waffle, as average as it was, was just about as waffle-like as any other waffle would be. Perhaps time and trauma had robbed me of the enjoyment of some of the simple pleasures in life. Or maybe I just needed way more maple syrup. 2.5/5 stars.