When I waited tables in Manhattan, the following exchange was common:
Customer (waving): Hi, hi, yeah, we’re ready to order.
Me: Okay, great. What can I get for you?
Customer: Mmmm, I think I want….
Customer: What do I want?
Customer: Wait, Bob. Bob? What did you get that time with the tomato and the arugula?
Me: Why don’t I give you another minute?
Customer: No, no, no, don’t go. We’re ready. Noooowww, what do I want?
While working at restaurants in Manhattan, I frequently heard things like:
Can you describe the eggs benedict?
I don’t know what I want to drink. Something strong?
What’s the burger like?
Can you turn down the music?
I’m a regular here.
Now that I’ve been working in Brooklyn for six months, I don’t hear stuff like that so much. To be fair, I’m working in a bar and restaurant that cater to a younger, much more local crowd. I don’t deal much with tourists or gallery owners, I wait on people my age heading to band practice, I pour beer for guys who tip too much and laugh at my jokes and have been wearing the same t-shirt for six months (I’m not being hyperbolic– I think one of my favorite regulars will get married and be buried in the same crusty ass Iron Maiden shirt).
It’s a relief. Sometimes when I worked, I felt like I was dealing with customers who were trying to have every lifelong need met during a single dining experience. Hand me this, I need more of that, where’s my, oh wait this isn’t, can you please, we need the, but you said this cost, doesn’t this come with spinach? I was a short stroll from the ding farm dealing with customers and their needs and wants and demands.
Now I don’t huff and puff as much as I work. There are the occasional rogues– some princes and princesses who sneak in and try to tell me they can only have grass-fed this or that, and I smile, offer them a Miller High Life, and keep walking. I don’t mind doing a job, I don’t mind supplying info or being accommodating, but life has been a little tricky for a while and when I approach a table and someone launches into a litany of no this and do you have that, I just want to say shut the fuck up and eat your burger like everyone else and if you have some desires that need tending to, put your energy into finding a therapist or do what I do and go home, listen to the Counting Crows Pandora station and cry into your pillow. Now do you want mayo with that or not?