The British invasion occured today, at the restaurant.
A delightful change of clientele in town for Birdfest.
Aside from the accent, the nearly, overly polite manners gave them away.
Along with the ability to smile and make kindly eye contact despite not having had their morning caffeine.
Who cares if they mean it.
Such civility for the sake of simple decency resonates with my Southern background. The South has little else to offer, currently. Hence, my leaving a few years ago.
(Serving people who have arrived to have their first cuppa in our dining room is always an intimate moment of raw honesty. Coffee, tea, or booze).
They enjoy my accent as much as I enjoy their’s. They laugh when I say ‘y’all’.”
I say it a lot. Habituated.
“Most practical pronoun in American English. Much better than ‘you all/guys’,” I tease.
Server P over hears this.
S/he snags me by my shoulder and, laughing, tells me, “I like ‘y’all’ as much as I prefer ‘they/them’!”
It makes me giggle. It makes me feel good to hear this.
Until today, coffee out ordered tea.
Eight to one.
We run out of tea pots to distribute, for the first time ever.
I convert our decaf urn to a simple pot of hot water, to meet the refill demands.
A solo diner arrives.
I wave as I approach from the rear of the dining room, so he knows he has been espied and will be assisted as fast as my heels can click my steps toward him
“Oh gee, hi there. How are you? It is just me, I am afraid,” he says to the hostess (me) before she (me) has even greeted him.
I break into my you-are-dear-to-me smile, immediately.
He was not British, though he held the manners and demeanor.
He had me in age by at least one and a half decades.
Long lovely fingers, nearly sky eyes but not quite.
Like a mockingbird’s.
Like a seagull’s call, cackling at me, because I kept wanting to mistake him for someone else.
We swap a good moment.
He looks a bit bewildered when I tell him I can seat him at a table or he may sit at the bar.
I have put him on the spot and he does not know which he prefers. It makes him genuinely squirm a bit.
Most American folk are most happy to be asked for their opinion. People love to let you know that they think “this” about “that.”
“Tell you what, our best server is bartending today. You should enjoy her service. Let’s go the bar.”
He blushes, nods; and, again,
I want to mistake him for someone else.
I lead him to
seat 35, specifically.
I watch him as I work, this sweet, little, mockingbird.
He watches me working, when he thinks I am not looking, but my job here is to always be looking.
I watch him try to subtlety watch me.
I avert my gaze, at times.
Eventually, I can no longer refrain.
I walk over to him and say, “I just want you to know you have such beautiful eyes. Exceptional.”
He gives me a look of shock and discombobulated confusion.
I touch my palm to his shoulder and walk away.
‘Exceptional’ because he recalls someone shamefully impeccable.