Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tough crowd

It is a fairly uneventful Saturday evening. The Gators are playing a game not too far away which as usual, causes us to be fairly slow. After making my way to the six or seven tables that are there, checking on how everything is going, and talking to our guests for a bit, I head back to the office to do a little bit of paper work.

When I return, I see a party of six has arrived and is seated at table 7. Glancing out the window, I spot their waitress outside taking a smoke break so I go ahead and get
Their drink order for them. When Beth returns soon afterwards and takes the drinks from me to deliver I say hello to table 6 which has recently arrived as well. Table six is a mother, father, their son, and a toddler sitting on the end in a high chair.

“How you doing little man? What is your name?” I ask handing them a coloring book and some crayons.

“Brian and I am 4 years old”, comes the response as he proudly holds up five fingers.

“Hi Brian, I am BD, can I be four years old too?”

He vigorously shakes his head no in a ‘don’t be silly’ fashion.

“Okayyyy” I say in disappointment “who is this over here?”

“That’s Tiffany(pronounced Tiffknee), she is my sister” he tells me.

I look over to Tiffany, offer my best exaggerated ‘baby wave’ which is greeted with nothing more than a blank stare.

Beth is pretty much finished getting all of their orders so I stand up, tell them to enjoy their dinner, and let us know if we can help them with anything. Before leaving, I send one more wave Tiffany’s way who despite not taking her eyes off of me in 5 minutes still does not respond at all.

I put my thumb to my nose, extend my hand and wiggle my fingers back and forth at her. Brian thinks this is hilarious, but baby sister continues to stare at me like I am an alien from another planet.

I am reminded of a game show around the early 80’s(I think) called “Make me laugh”. In it contestants were confronted by comedians telling jokes, making gestures, and doing anything they could to try and force the contestant to laugh. The longer they managed to avoid doing so, the more money they could win.

As I am walking away I look over at Tiffany, send her a “you ARE going to laugh” look which is returned instantly with an unmistakable “oh I can laugh, you just are NOT that funny” look.

I continue to make my rounds to all our tables as it starts to pick up a bit. When time permits, I even take a moment to stick my tongue out at Tiffknee.

Once again, she is utterly unimpressed.

I attempt a little game of Peekaboo……

Usually this results in laughter…..

Occasionally though, it results in the total opposite affect and the ‘what is the weird guy doing” look turns into an all out “Mom the boogey man is after me! Scream of terror.”

With Tiffknee, I get bubkus.

Not a giggle,

Not a snort,

Certainly Not a laugh, and thankfully at least, not a scream.

Nothing but that “I am so bored and making lots of cash by not showing a reaction’ look I remember from that old game show.

A tough nut to crack this Tiffany.

I give up for now and head back to the kitchen to run some food out to tables.

Wendy is in the service station when I come out and fixing up some drinks for her new table.

“That girl thinks you are weird”, she says.

I have heard this phrase a time or 4000 in my life so I don’t dispute it, The only question is WHICH girl?

“who?” I ask

“that little girl you are playing with, somebody is losing their touch” she teases with a laugh, heading back out on the floor.

As I grab table 4’s food and start to head out I am met by Judy.

“Table 9, has a problem, can you go speak to them while I get that for you?”

“Sure.” I say setting the food down and heading over to 9. Table Nine’s country fried steak is over cooked, and after apologizing I take the plate back to the kitchen to be re cooked. Easy enough.

By now, the place is pretty much packed. I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off, along with the entire wait staff. I am busy cashing people out, bussing tables, seating people , to the point that Tiffknee is all but forgotten.

When the bell rings in the kitchen I head back to see what food needs to be run. There is the re-cook. I look it over to make sure that everything is correct this time.
Country fried steak smothered in white gravy,…..check

Green beans,……..check

Mashed potatoes…….check

Extra gravy……..check

And throw another extra monkey dish(small bowl) of gravy on the side for good measure. As I head out of the kitchen, I see Tiffany’s dad at the register with her on his hip waiting to pay up and check out.

“ I will be right with you” I say all but running to the other side of the restaurant with table nine’s food.

I am almost there when the chain reaction starts and that “oh shit/adrenaline rush/ things seem to be happening in slow motion” thing starts.

The Country fried steak shifts about 4 inches on the plate.

This pushes the monkey dishes of Green beans and Mashed potatoes toward the edge of the plate.

I have time to note that the place has gotten loud. I hear talk about the Gator game and how they almost lost.

I hear a women yelling at her husband for leaving the pool gate unlocked.

I sense my brain send a message to my hand there is time to straighten the plate up and avoid a big mess if I hurry.

I have time to see the green beans and Mashed potatoes teeter on the edge of the plate and seem to start sliding back to safety.

I have time to think I am going to make it, when ever so slowly the gravy dish goes past the point of no return.

I have time to see it tumbling thru the air and hear the loud “smack” as the hard plastic comes into contact with the floor and bounces, spinning back into the air.

I feel my eyes widen to the extreme and I have time to think(or maybe I actually DID scream) “noooooooooo” in that slow motion like voice you always hear in movies.

Speaking of movies, I am reminded of a movie I once saw. I have NO idea what it was called but it was your classic ‘shoot em up, one good guy defeats 473,000 enemies by himself” movie.

Rambo? Who knows.

Anyways, I remember a scene in this movie where the good guy has a couple of Uzi sub machine guns and he is surrounded by the bad guys waiting for him at the bottom of some stairs. I remember somehow he drops these machine guns which bounce down the stairs, tumbling wildly, causing to bullets to just so happen to hit every single bad guy in the movie, but miss him entirely. I remember being pissed at the time because that scene was just SO blatantly unrealistic that it ruined it for me.

To the makers of that movie I hereby apologize. After seeing one monkey dish of gravy bounce off the floor and fly in 480,000 different directions hitting seemingly EVERYONE within 100 feet of me I can no longer say that movie was as unrealistic as I thought.

The monkey dish eventually stops spinning. I am looking around stunned, to see how many people I have just covered in gravy. I see countless surprised faces looking back at me. I wonder how many dry cleaning bills we will be picking up for this one. Wondering if it is actually possible to literally die from embarrassment, or if digging a hole right there in that spot really WILL lead me to China. The main thing I notice is the noise, or lack there of. The place which only moments ago had been BUZZING with activity is now eerily silent. In fact, I think I just heard a pin drop.

The seemingly endless silence is finally broken by a loud pitched squeal. I turn to locate the source of this sound and there it is. There is Tiffany, perched on her dad’s hip, pointing over to me and laughing hysterically.

Well, at least it is good to know, “I haven’t lost my touch after all.



Michael Thomas said...

Oh Lord, I HATE it when that happens. The place gets quiet, and everyone is looking at you because you've just managed to do something TOTALLY humiliating.
You should send that story to Southwest Airlines for their Wanna Get Away Commercials. You'll probably make a bundle!


Fringes said...

Yes, perfect for the wanna get away commercials. Lord...

That Tiffany is a cruel mistress.

alyndabear said...

Gosh, you have SUCH a way with words. I felt like I was right there with you, probably covered in gravy. Haha!

At least she found the humour in it all. *snort*