Can I make them laugh at themselves?
Instead of just me laughing at them or me howling silently at them, with a smile, as I eat shit?
Giggle. People act strange towards the staff of restaurants.
Especially when they feel decorous enough to go to a destination restaurant.
I host the front of house. Like it is one big dinner party and all the diners are my invited guests.
But, it is my dining room, punks.
Two people are seated at table 9.
Seat 1 flags me over with an urgent come-hither wave.
How can I help?: I ask.
Yes. Is this all you have right now or are there other things available?: she says motioning to our lunch menu clutched between her paws, and held open.
I smile an I’m-sorry-to-disappoint smile.
Yes. There is another menu available. Unfortunately, it’s only available to our special guests, at this time.: I rib her.
Two girls in their late teenage years wear way too much makeup for 9 a.m.
They try to order alcohol unsuccessfully.
As they finish their breakfast, I stop by to ask how everything was.
Fine, I guess: says seat two.
Would you like me to wrap your leftovers to take home?: I ask.
Are you gonna spit in them?: she asks.
I lean in.
Do you want me to?: I ask too quietly, with a strange smile.
No. You can wrap it.: she responds with downcast eyes.
Her friend snorts.
There are thirteen people total milling around the front of the restaurant,
on the list,
waiting for a table to become available.
Three tables leave at the same time.
One of those is the best table in the house.
I have the busser clean it first,
I do panto with the next table on the list.
We’re just about ready for you. Best table in the house opened up.: I chat.
Oh. Um, actually…see, we’re trouble makers. We were hoping for this table.: one says.
They motion to the newly vacated, worst table in the house. Right by the front door with its constant draft of frigid, rainy air. Loudest place in the joint, too.
Bemused they would turn down the window adjacent, water-overlooking table, I sincerely say: Oh, we like troublemakers here! No problem.
I bus, set the table, and seat them.
I’ll be back with water. Do you like ice?: I ask.
Actually, she will have a lukewarm water, with a quartered lemon. Not multiple smaller wedges. I would like freshly made coffee. Please throw out the pot and boil a fresh one. We’re known to send things back.: the man says.
Certainly: I say.
The coffee was just made and no restaurant slices lemons in quarters: I think.
His lady smiles: he meant to say we are high-maintenance.
I laugh: Thank you for the heads-up. Now, I won’t feel bad if I have to tell you ‘no’ in the future.
They both crack up.
I cut a lemon and prep his coffee.
I return to the front of the restaurant.
I tell the next table waiting: Your timing is impeccable; that table is yours.
I, again, motion to the best table in the house.
They nod and smile.
The high maintenance man steps over and interrupts.
I know we said ‘no’, but it’s hard to hear. Can we move to that table?: he asks.
Motioning to the table I’d previously offered him, the table he just heard me offer
to another party.
: I, simply, say.
Æ smile with a pointed, closed mouth grin and
Bad dog: I think.
He does not laugh.