It’s Monday, the last day of my work week, and I am dragging ass. Aaaand it just so happens to also be beloved St. Valentine’s Day. Joy! But I’m feeling good because this seems to be a very appropriate time for me to start writing. It has been a long week and I, among others (confirmed by “ugh, i can’t wait to go on my spring break Caribbean cruise”), am not looking forward to the dinner service ahead of me. And, yes, I am already planning when my feet hit the sand too!
Oh sweet, romantic Valentine’s Day…It’s so fun to see our tables hold hands and smooching so lovey-dovey, or witnessing the squeeky ones looking so nervous and sweating bullets next to the one they long to be with. I, we, take care of the masses here and Valentines Day is one of the few days of the year that we can all safely call amateur hour… others to be included in such a catgory are Mother’s Day, Prom and Homecoming Nights (btw I wish i could take off that whole week!), Christmas eve and yes most Saturday nights.
The dining room fills with people we don’t at all recognize. Or I greet tables I haven’t seen in months, but know well enough to at least shake hands with and ask them how things have been…And of course i ask where they have been and add that there is no excuse for their extended absence! Ha.
Tonight is a night sure to be filled with horrid public displays of affection narrated by the swooning vibrato of the one and only Andrea Bocelli rattling the speakers above. I am sure to see the bitter and single i-hate-men ladies, the middle aged rekindling their passions, and let’s not forget to mention the often seen and way too obvious cheaters who whisper face to face like high school lovers, make me puke! (beer break)
Dinner went as expected, seemless and busy! Actually, we were crazy busy. Why, I don’t know, but I see more than a fair share of crazy shit in the dining room. Tonight alone: an older dad literally dragged his enraged and curse-spitting son from their table (which sits inches from others having romantic Vday dates) as dad was being screamed at and punched by the ten or so year old boy! They left without ordering.
And then there’s that guy! Oh yeah, I remember you. One of my last few tables is an unassuming, thirty-something odd couple who fit the bill of the 4 times a year regulars. i know and remember them and they remember me, and act to know me. Many do feel as if they can get close to me because they have a 85% chance of seeing me when they eat in my restaurant. Well, what the aforementioned goofs don’t realize is that they turn into an instant topic of conversation when they walk in the restaurant…the ultimate od couple, they must have met a a used book store or something. There’s got to be more to the story than we know. In the past they have usually come in late and I almost always take care of them. Tonight they ate well, and they had coffee and hung out for a bit after they were done. We get to talking as I bring them their check and they recall that i got married a few years back. Then I mention to the guy, “Hey, do you remember when I saw you in Atlantic City randomly like 3 years ago?” His wife’s eyebrows raise and her mouth mashes with irritation. He asks “Uh what was I doing there?” (insert nervous chuckle) I remind him that I almost walked right by without noticing him except that what caught my attention was the fact that some guy,this guy, was teetering on the edge of his seat with his face inches from a video poker machine. “Uh, yeah I used to play a little poker”, he tells me. His wife is looking a little pissed at this point. I continue to ask if he recalls himself pacing back and forth nervously in the valet drop-off area outside the casino about three hours later then asking me for a ride back home, which is over 3 hours away from Atlantic City. (more nervous heh hehs). “Yeah, well you have a grrreat night man. Thanks so much!”, he says. Wife storms out of the restaurant, I just ruined their Valentine’s Day I think. Seems to me my old buddy used to have a bit of a gambling problem and lost his car and more while strung out in the dregs of Atlantic City. “Oops, uh….yeah, uh see ya next time.”