Manuel v The Meter
What? Oh yeah this. I forgot I was doing this. I'm so easily distracted by shiny things and sleep and such.
Anyhoo it was, like most of them, a funny old weekend. People weren't just out for dinner they were out to make a point. I find this as depressing as it is positive. I mean where else in the world is going out for a pint or something to eat or for a wander round the shops now an act of civic duty, a political statement? Good old Belfast, always doing things your own, crazy, way. We're all Gandhi or Mandela or Aung San Suu Kyi or one of them fellas now. Some craic I must say.
I'd rather be Batman but ho-hum.
Anyhoo fun times were had by all and the stabbing fork, it hasn't gone away you know, remained mercifully sheathed all weekend.
But damn it was nearly sent on a slash and learn mission late the other evening.
A delightful table of six well-heeled punters had spent many hours in the restaurant. Food had been ordered and eaten, drink too. I had laughed and played along with their shite patter - from pretending the menu was a rugby ball when handing it back to me to "no it was terrible" fake out jokes. I massaged egos and schlepped food, such is the waiter's way.
Up with it, I put. Up with it all. The borderline rudeness, the squinty face pulling, the talking over me, the ignoring me (I don't take being ignored well. As Mozzer said, the more you ignore me the closer I get...literally) and the general rar rar rar-ness of them. Horsie people if you know what I mean.
I felt, fuck that, I knew I'd done some sterling work. Proper pat myself on the back waiting. I sidestepped snidey comments and boorishness like I was that lad Ronaldo. I carried on, straight back and chipper condition, through the hostilities like I was John Prescott walking past protesters (punchy-punchy bit excluded). These were folk that liked to flash the cash especially to and in front of the little people. It makes them feel good. Hey, I'll make you feel like a king if that's yer game. Eh that probably sounds a bit more rent-boyish than I intended. I withdraw that last remark, obviously.
The bill was duly delivered with my usual final parting remarks, this being a technique used to remind the guests how fucking aces I was and that now was the time to focus on that. A few minutes later and with money having exchanged hands across the table like it was a game of poker I gathered up coats and said my farewells and such. A woman, not the one I had expected to settle the account approached me with a fist full of green.
Good times, lips were being licked in anticipation. The children I care for would eat hot food this night. By children I mean me and Teh Cousin, obviously.
"Right, let me get this bill paid", said the woman. She was a bit flustered what with carrying a coat, a bag and some money in her hand. Tough fucking times I know. I told her to take her time. I am benevolent like that.
"Oh I tell you what, I'll put it on my card."
Fuck, balls, shit and piss. Somebody lube me up I smell a stiffing. We've all seen this before, cash including extras for the help gets pocketed and the bill gets settled to the exact amount. The oldest and shittiest trick in the waiter's world.
But then after another moment's pondering she exclaimed, "Oh no, I tell you what I'll just use the cash!"
Get that lube away from me. There'll be no stiffing today. And with that she counted out the cash including the £20 something for your truly **flutters eyelashes**.
"Oh..hmmm...", she pondered whilst still holding on to the extra twenty. "...You know, they've left this for you as a tip **fake smile across bar** but I think...hmmmm...I think I'm going to need it to pay the car parking...so...you know, sorry about that"
And with that she fucked the fuck off leaving me stunned, stiffed, unlubed and unloved.
Wow. You think you've seen it all and then that happens.