There is a limit to my generosity…
Tuesday night and I was sashaying round the restaurant like I owned the place. It was all "Heeeeey, how you doin?" with showbiz finger points and all that jazz. To be fair there was no real need for any of this exuberance, it was a Tuesday night at the arse end of January...in Belfast. Vegas, this is not. But the form was good and what punters we had were in convivial form, mainly with each other I should add but it's not all about me or so the management keep telling me on my yearly reviews.
We'll just fucking see about that.
Now, given that the average age of my customers was probably 21 I did feel a bit more like a youth worker/dinner lady/mom than I normally prefer to. And add to that the fact that almost all these tables were on second or third dates there was a lot of hormones and nervous giggling in the air. But I do love to see young people in love, I was all a fluster. Heh, joke.
I was sure I was gonna have to take the spray gun to table 8 what with all their rubbing and touching and tongues and what have you. Frightful stuff. It was all I could do to stand behind the gold curtains for 20 nearly 30 minutes watching them and not shout and slap their wandering hands. Heh.
Obviously the early evening happy vibe couldn't last and was devastated, as it almost always is, by an Australian woman.
"Struth mate, I'm just too bloody toired to read the bloody menu struth, barbie, where's me ute?"
I think that was the gist of her opening gambit. I dunno I could be wrong. Anyhoo, I just nodded and smiled politely and waited for her to pick up the menu and tell me what she wanted but alas it was not to be.
"No, bloody seriously mate struth cobber didgeridoo I'm just too bloody tired ain't I? Will you read the menu for me mate?"
Read the menu? Now never let it be said Manuel T. Waiter doesn't go out of the way to help his guests. If you've forgotten your glasses I will read the menu to you. I will even do so in your preferred style from a list that includes the soft and lilty Oirish brogue of a character from The Quiet Man right through to the OVERLY FUCKING EXCITED SHOUTING OF BRIAN HAHAHAHAHA BLESSED. I really will, no fooling. If it's too dark at your table I'll light a million candles for you and if that doesn't work I'll read it softly into your good ear.
Why just last week I had some crazy and rather late Italians who couldn't work out what the squid on the squid risotto was. You know what I did? You know what I did for these crazy late Italians? I drew a fucking squid. I got a large piece of paper and DREW A FUCKING SQUID and stood there like a proper fucking mentalist holding a piece of paper aloft making what I assumed to be squid noises so that some Italians motherfuckers could decided if they wanted a fucking risotto or not.
Ok, it wasn't very good and I think the squid impression scared them a little but it got the point across. The fact that none of them ordered the risotto is neither here nor there. But never let it be said MTW doesn't go out of his way for his punters.
But you, Sheila, you want me to read the menu to you because you can't be arsed. What the fucking what? What am I, some sort of menu reading wallah?
Obviously I read the menu. I mean what else was I to do?
Never in the history of menu reading has a menu been read with so little love but with so much sarcasm and sneer.
"Today's soup...**long audible sigh** is potato and **long pause** leek."
"Noice, what's that come with mate big spiders, Ute, Home and Away, Kylie"
And on it went. When we, or rather I, got to the main courses she insisted I read them out including full description as it reads on the menu.
Oh fuck me this was bad times. But I'm a pro so I threw more sarcasm and snark logs on the fire and ramped things up a little further.
"Pan fried blah and blaaaaaaah served with extra super duper crispy blaaaaaaah and a teeny tiny hint of blah on the side"
I even threw in some yummy noises for added measure but only when reading out inconsequential items such as chips or fucking salad.
"All sounds bloody lovely mate, Nick Cave, Neighbours everybody loves good neighbours. Oi'll have the bloody soup and the bloody chicken cheers mate"
"And would madam like a bloody drink to go with bloody dinner?" I should add the bloody was implied but not said. I have rent to pay, obviously.
"Bloody struth, surf boards, Fosters mate mate mate mate bloody bloody Oi'll have a glass of woine mate"
Will, you will you indeed.
And the bit that hurts the most? The bit that near had me causing a diplomatic incident? That's right after I served her the wine she got he newspaper out and started bloody reading it. Say wha?
Helping people I'm all for. Having the Mickey taken because you're a bit bloody tired boils my piss.
I, like so many wonderful Waiters and saints, have a generosity of spirit and time (no seriously)...don't abuse it.