Be We Shrinks, or Be We Waiters?

27 Sep

“I’m sorry, but the hour’s up. We’ll have to continue this chat about your compulsive shopping next week. There’s a wait on this table.”

Sound familiar? For the record, I like this profession, waiting tables. Yes, I have a critical –one might say even acidic– tone in many of these posts; and yes, sometimes I feel truly victimized by downright cruel people; but for the most part, I like helping strangers.

In fact, sometimes I like serving the cruel people the most, because you can help them have a moment of clarity.  You can play therapist, while you’re playing servant.  It may sound grand, and perhaps its just my personal rationalization, but I like to think that people in the service industry are in fact public servants, helping the greater good, one table at a time.  

People are so determined to be miserable; yet, I am equally determined to  make them happy, if only for a moment.  Take this evening’s patient: a Russian birthday girl, dressed to defy the thirty-seven candles on her cake, in a naughty slip of black sequins.  Still a young woman, Ms. Sequins was quite the accomplished neurotic, even for a New Yorker, let alone a Russian. 

Before I even got to the table she was yelling at the hostess for placing her at such  small table, pointing fingers and all.  That didn’t get her anywhere with the hostess, and so, feeing defeated, Sequins asked me if her party of nine be moved to an adjacent table, because they were too tight.  She wanted an argument, a fight, an incident to assert her status, but no, all I earnestly said was:

“Yeah, let me see what I can do… I just want you guys to have a good time.” 

Sequins was soooo not going to take that for an answer.  She looked at me like I had insulted her intelligence.

YEAH, RIGHT!,” she protested.

The notion that I might actually care about her and her friends having a good time was offensive, if not obnoxious.  It was her party and she was going to cry if she wanted to, but oh NOOO, I was not going to let her. 

Situations like this call for tough love. A little bitch slap of reality.

“It’s your birthday right?,” I smiled.

“Yeah?,” she hesitated.

“Well, will you let me give you guys a good time? And get that table for you?,” I said.

“Uhmmm. Okay. Sure. Thanks,” she conceded, with an oh-my-god smile. 

Victory for humanity! And for the rest of the night she was like a debutante, blissfully seated at the head of the very spacious table 31.  I got my manager to agree to send Sequins out a bunch of desserts on the house, and then my manager personally delivered a round of champagne.

Sequins entered seathing, and left smiling. Too bad I can’t charge three-hundred-and-fifty dollars an hour for my psychological services. 





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