Having friends is great, it really is. Wouldn't life be very sad and lonely if we had no friends? There would be no one to share those exciting moment with, there probably wouldn't be any exciting moment without friends. Friends help us grow and they enrich our lives. The best of them are there through thick and thin. Whether your circle of friends is a large and varied one or a small and tight one it's just smashing to have them.
Still, it's a real fucking pain in the waiter's hole when they book tables or even worse arrive unannounced at your place of employment. I really fucking detest serving friends at work. It's got nothing to do with being their waiter or being subservient to them, not that I am anyones gimp, but you know what I mean. It's just that I'm never sure how to serve them.
Am I supposed to be Manuel their friend or Manuel their waiter?
Some situations can be dealt with a quick swapping of sections or a well timed break but when the worst comes to the worst you have to serve them, your friend. Your friend that knows what you did that summer in the holiday cabin in Donegal with the thing and the stuff and knows you don't talk about it. Your friend that loves to embarrass you when you are being your most professional. Serving friends is two hours of sweat and nerve jangling torture, not always but mostly.
I've served numerous friends over the last few weeks. Some are better friends than others, some I'd rather serve than others. Actually there were a couple that I'd rather drown than serve. But hey ho a waiter's gotta do what a waiter's gotta do.
Serving your very best friends (is it still okay to have best friends when you are 35?) isn't so bad because you know they will cut you some slack if you are under pressure. They might give you some gentle-ish abuse at a later date but for the most part serving your grade -A Chums is okay. Things start getting a fair bit shitty as you move down the pecking order from Grade A chums to run of the mill chums to stop and chat friends then acquaintances to friends of friends and finishing off with the guy who is always in the shop when you are.
Oh and then there are ex-friends. But that's a whole other post and hierarchy of friendships, you know ex-girlfriends, ex-wife, friends of theirs and so on. And it's a stone wall guarantee that when an ex walks into your section she will look a million dollars her new chap will probably be worth a million dollars and you will be covered in chocolate sauce and smell of sour milk and or piss.
Like I say serving best friends is easy. Just as serving the guy who you always meet in the shop is easy. It's that middle group of
It's the small talk you see. Most tables require an certain amount of small talk during the meal, the weather, sport, cultural events, are they or aren't they secret service agents and so on. I'm very very good at small talk with people I don't know. I am very very shit at small talk with people I sort of know or are peripheral friends. Once you have covered the usual, "What you up to?" and "How's the family?" and "Have you seen John Doe recently?" type shite what else is there to talk about?"
It's at this point that awkwardness sets in. Now that's okay as long as it's me suffering from the awkwardness, I can just stay away from their table. But if the awkwardness is theirs then I start to feel bad and try to over compensate. It's all so unbearably horrible. I once did the, "When's it due?" thingy to a couple who were friends of my ex-wife's just to look like I cared and wasn't all bitter and what have you only to discover she was just carrying a few extra pounds. Cheeeerist.
I had more friends in On Friday with the table of 80 teachers. One of them I was delighted to see and we hugged it out and caught up on news and babies and that sort of stuff. The other conversation went something like this,
Nodding head - me
Nodding head - her
More head nodding
It's such a drag. I'm resolved to not repeat such a carry on again and have decided just to act aloof when friends arrived for dinner. I still love you I just don't want to talk to you. And really isn't that what we all want from our friends? Maybe I just need some new friends with more interesting lives.
Maybe I need a more interesting life......