I love working in a restaurant. No honestly I really do. I realise that this love I have for the schlepping of plates to and from tables may not always seem obvious through the bitterness, anger, sardonic commentary, and general loathing that emanates from these pages. But it's there, you just have to look really hard.
But that said sometimes you just wanna smack them, the guests, right upside their heads before they have even ordered so much as a slice of bread. Take this pair of fork fiddlers from last week. In they shuffled shaking the rain from their coats and umbrellas and hats and trousers and gloves. Now this was understandable as it was lashing down outside but still they had created a rather large pool of water or as we call it a claim waiting to happen at the front door. Narrowing my eyes and pursing my lips I indicated to Waiter Chum the Vegan to get them seated, quick sharpish, so that I could dry up the pool of potential broken ankles. Obviously this just involved putting out a big yellow warning sign and dabbing round the edges with some white roll.
"Best of luck", whispered Waiter Chum the Vegan with far too much glee in her voice for my liking. She had decided against seating them in her own section as indicated on the booking sheets. Non-adherence to the precious and all knowing booking sheets upsets me. I'm anal like that. But more importantly than this carefree flouting of the rules she had seated them in my section which meant I had to deal with them. And I didn't like the look of them already. Too much pomposity and there is only enough room in the restaurant for one inflated ego.
I had been stiffed. Hmmmm - the student has learnt well. But revenge is a dish best served cold, and with bacon. Ha! I adopted a fairly conservative smiley happy face on the way to their table. These sorts don't like too much happiness or perkiness. They rail against what they consider to be vulgar displays of emotion such as smiling.
"Good evening madam, sir and how are we this evening?", I asked by way of an icebreaker.
"Well we are wet and cold. I couldn't possibly know how you are."
Ha! That's quality cuntage right there.
I was momentarily taken aback at the savagery of his opening remark, a remark that was delivered in an almost perfect monotone voice without him ever having looked up from his menu. Which was of course a simply heartwarming way to set the tone for the next couple of hours.
He had a face that only a plastic surgeon could drool over what with all it's many bumps, lumps, protuberances and random hairy bits. It was like he shaved in the dark during an earthquake with the garden shears. Brutal is too kind a word to describe this particular chap's mask. In fact the last time I saw a face as offensive as his it was made of stone and was perched on top of a castle. But yet his face was warmer and exuded more love than his chilling opening line.
"We shall have a bottle of Chianti and a jug of water. Tap. Water." This order was conveyed with an equally monotone voice by The Gargoyles wife. She was lovely, in comparison to The Gargoyle that is. Compared to anybody else she was the very essence of darkness, in a Laura Ashley frock. A charmless skeletal woman with piercing eyes and a wispy moustache, she peered right through me to give me their drink order. I figured that on the very rare occasion that they kiss they must come together like a velcro patch. I would hav giggled but for the fear that gripped me.
"Eh actually we have it, maybe something else?" Why the hell was I shaking?
"Which don't you have? Tap water or Chianti?", snapped the Gargoyles wife. The Gargoyle himself managed to tear himself away from the menu to peer over the top of it at me.
"Eh the Chianti." This was met with a sharp intake of breath from her and tut tutting from him. They both managed to shake their heads in disapproval in a very unnerving moment of synchronized whinging. But why was I fretting? We don't bloody list Chianti!!
Metaphorically grabbing my balls I hit back with, "Maybe you should check the wine list. I'll be back in a mo with your water. Your tap water."
Cheeeeerist on a bike were they snappy and just plain difficult and all for no reason, well no reason that was obvious to me. I brought them down their first course of port and stilton parfait and bread and tapenade and as I was about to beat a hasty retreat from the table they both started to polish their cutlery with their napkins.
I and my chums spend an eternity polishing and buffing the knives, forks and spoons so I am pretty damn sure that there was no need for them to be polishing them again.
"Eh is there a problem with your cutlery? Shall I replace it for you?" says I indignant at their actions and I reached out to lift it from them.
"No no....", says The Gargoyle recoiling from my child like hands in horror.
"...it's what we do", added The Darkness
"I'm sure they are fine", finished The Gargoyle as he polished himself into a little frenzy.
And on and on it went just like that for the rest of the meal. They ate most of their food, but not all. They drank most of their wine but not all. They poo pooed the sweets menu saying, "It's not to our taste" and pushed it away like it was a used copy of Razzle magazine. They took every opportunity to verbally stab at me, stick their pointy snouts up at my recommendations and look for all the world like they were on the verge of walking out. Now here's the fun bit, they left me a very handsome tip, more handsome than your average James Bond, and a note saying they had a wonderful evening.
And that's why I love my job, you don't get that sort of mentalism in an office, or do you?