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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

The Waiter Chronicles: Three Tables of Three

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Table 11:
"Well, first of all, I was an English major, which was a mistake."
The waiter stops his pour of the second bottle of Trinchero Family Estate Pinot Noir. The woman--the English major--notices, checks her recognition with her two friends, and then states the obvious: "You were an English major too, weren't you?"

The waiter answers easily. "Yes, and I'm living proof that an English major is not a bad career move."

The ladies laugh, a little uncomfortably, as if the waiter's sarcasm holds something authentic.

***
Table 14:
In a thick, north English accent, they ask for more time to look at the wine menu. "Give's a few wee minutes, yeah?"

A bottle of Ripasso and some capasante provide enough time for them to settle in and loosen up. The waiter has asked what brings them to town, allowing them to expound on the UK-based grocery store they're working to build in the U.S. Then they turn their attention to the waiter. "What part of the states are you from?"

"Colorado. Denver."

"Rough night for you then." He nods to the television over the bar, the one broadcasting the bloodbath that has become game one of the World Series. The Red Sox are pummeling the Rockies 13-1.

"Yeah, thanks for pointing that out."

A conversation follows about the mechanics of baseball and the World Series: how many games a team has to win; how home and away games are scheduled; why the Rockies are losing so badly.

The waiter has to pull himself away from the table. It would have been great to pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine, and chit chat about American and British sports.

***
Table 15:
Separate check. The waiter hates separate checks. "These three guys all ordered the exact same entree," the waiter fumes to himself. "Why can't they pay with the same check?"

It's not exactly a surprise. After all, they have been very concerned about the dollars and cents of this dinner from the very beginning. After yielding to the waiter's suggestion of mineral water and ordering glasses of Cabernet, Chiante, and Chardonnay, they suddenly hit the brakes. No appetizers. No salads. Questions about the cost of every special. The waiter had one of them hooked on the wild troll king salmon special (pun intended) until he asked how much it cost.

"$34.95."

The laughter and exaggerated looks of shock that follow aren't shocking, just a little tacky. Predictably, they all settle on an inexpensive gnocci and send the waiter on his way. He heads to the kitchen shaking his head, thinking, "That table could have been great. What happened?"

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posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 8:52 AM

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