Saturday, January 28, 2006



Tonight we had a fairly small banquet of 90 people from a church here in Jacksonville. It was pretty much same ole same ole. As the party was starting to arrive and people coming in a few at a time, I was going around table to table offering coffee, water, and sweet or unsweet tea to anyone that wanted it. The slow filtering in of people went on and on for a good 20 minutes or so. Naturally as luck would have it, anytime I was walking around with two coffee pots in my hand someone would ask
‘Can I please get some tea?’ Sure, sir I will be right back with that.”

Then when I am carrying two pitchers of tea and one of water around the room you can bet sure as shit someone will ask ‘could I get some coffee please?” Damnit I just came by your table lady WITH coffee in hand two minutes ago and you declined. This is what I am thinking but of course I reply with ‘sure give me just a minute and I will gladly get that for you.”
Like I said this goes on and on for like 25 minutes or so. Everyone for the most part has now arrived and is seated. Dinner will be served in about 5 minutes so I am trying to make one more pass around the room with drinks to get that out of the way.
“Hey” I hear from behind me ‘hey you’ …I ignore the ‘nails on a chalkboard’ sound I hear and think “digipits BD digipits’…… I turn around to find a rather large woman has now joined her husband, another couple, and what appears to be their daughter at the table who have been sitting there for a while. I have nothing against large people. I have nothing whatsoever against ugly people. I DO however, have something against RUDE people, no matter what they look like.

“Yes ma’am what can I do for you” I ask in the most polite voice I can muster.

Rather snootily she replies “how many times are you going to keep skipping this table we would like something to drink TOO you know.”

For a moment I have a fear that I have indeed somehow MISSED an entire table that has been sitting there for a while. For a moment, I am embarrassed. Waiting tables isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a glorious job but it is MY job and for what it is worth I take pride in it. I am not proud OF it by any means, but I do take pride in doing it if that makes any sense. One quick look at the table erases these fears and I am easily able to deduce that Jaba the hut here has just joined the table, is having a bad day and looking to take it out on me. Digipits rob, digipits…..

“I’m sorry ma’am what can I get for you?”

“Like I said, something to drink would be nice eventually” she snaps.

I have always had a rather active imagination and in a matter of milliseconds I am transformed into a court room where I am no longer the waiter. I am certainly no longer ‘hey’ or ‘hey you’, peon extraordinaire. Instead I am Perry mason no no scratch that Perry is old news, I am Jackie the lawyer from Seinfeld arguing the case in front of a judge.

“Miss Jaba, is it your contention that you and your companions have been the victims of negligent service?”

‘Yes, yes I am and it has scarred me for life’

“I see, what if I told you that I could prove to this court incontrovertibly, indisputably and undoubtedly that this is not the case?”

“I would say good luck Mr. Childs good luck.”

“Thank you, Miss jaba could you please tell the court how many people are currently sitting at your table?”

“Ummmm four”

“Four? ,,,I see 5 but it appears your math skills are lacking as badly as your social skills?”

‘um yes you are right there are 5, sorry about that.”

“No problem, simple mistake, now Miss Jaba How many glasses of tea do you see on the table?’


‘uh huh, I see, and how many cups of coffee?”

“There are 3 of those as well”

“And that fine young lady over there is that a glass of sprite I see in front of her?”

“ummm yes, I believe that it is.”

“Okay, so is it fair to say that the other 4 people at your table all have something to drink already?”

“Um yes”

“And yet you maintain that this table has been skipped repeatedly?”

“Well I don’t have anything to drink besides water.”

“This is true, thank you for pointing that out, Ma’am would you say that that tea, water and even sprite jumped into those glasses on its own?”

“No, of course not, don’t be silly”

“And yet, you maintain that your table has been ignored?”

“Isn’t it a fact ma’am that rather than being the victim of negligent service you in fact just recently arrived at your seat and THAT is why you don’t have anything to drink yet?” I remind you your ARE UNDER OATH!”

“No further questions your honor”

“Case dismissed!”

All of this is what I was thinking in just a matter of moments. Wanting to defend myself, and ask her what her problem was. Naturally I couldn’t so I just smiled and continued pouring her tea for her. Digipits BD, digipits….. I was shaken out of my imagination when to my surprise her husband stated the obvious with just the perfect amount of ‘quit being a bitch’ in his voice for me “he’s been to the table several times you weren’t here yet or were on your phone”. Touché’ my friend touché’ and thank you. Mental note: keep THIS guys glass full all night…..

To her credit, the lady in question, pulled me aside a little while later and apologized for being a bitch. Never argue with your guests BD, never. “Well that’s alright I say, but thanks for the apology which is graciously accepted, can I help you carry that plate to the table?” Thus for the rest of the night Jaba the hut was turned back into a lady. I guess we all have a little Jaba in us at some point in our lives. It takes a big man or woman to admit when they are wrong and the fact she would do so was appreciated and admired in fact.


christine said...

Grrrrr! Where do people get off thinking they can treat or talk to others that way?

YOU have the patience of a saint! Like you always say, "Better you than me". :-)

heather said...

digipits?? you gonna explain that one?