Sunday, July 29, 2012
Dog Days Surprises
1. Came upon a rather obese family of 5 on the walk to work. They had in tow: 2 carts of beach accessories, 3 large coolers on wheels (you know the kind) and 1 cart of umbrellas. We meet at a fork in the road where my street dead-ends into a street that will (depending on your direction) lead to the ocean or out of town.
The clan leader, huffing, puffing and short of breath asks if he is heading in the direction of the ocean/beach. I tell him, "yes, it's only 5 blocks away." I thought he was going to faint.
HE: "I was told the beach was within walking distance of where we're staying. We've already walked 6 blocks and I still don't see the ocean."
ME: "I don't know where you're staying, but all those living in town consider the ocean within walking distance."
I could almost hear his mind weighing the options. Turn around and return to their rental, or walk the additional distance, enjoy a day at the beach, then struggle on the walk back.
Turns out, they were staying at a health spa - and victims of a cruel joke. Sometimes I hate humans!
2. Three elderly women are laughing it up (after enjoying lunch at the restaurant and wolfing down 2 pitchers of sangria), taking pictures on the avenue, sitting on the back of street-side benches, when one of them decides to have a "hey, watch this" moment. This is when she stands on top of the bench and promptly falls, ass-first, into the trash can conveniently located behind the bench. Head is just about kissing knees (yeah, you had to be there and unfortunately, I watched the whole thing happen. Without sound, of course.)
Two tipsy old broads storm the doors demanding assistance extricating the hapless dame from her predicament. After getting the pickled old broad unplugged (as it were) from the can and plastic bag, I became the center of abuse as the entire incident was blamed on ME - the restaurant came in a close second.
Pick your battles carefully, as my grandfather used to say, and there was no win on this one. I made up for it by getting the old bitch cleaned up, giving them another round of sangria on the house and made a promise never to tell anyone what happened...Well, of course not!
3. This happens all too often. Family/party of 14 arrive. 4 baby strollers - all twins. Do the math, that meant 8 babies/toddlers and 6 adults; they insist there is "no way" they are leaving strollers outside. "You WILL accommodate us and the strollers will remain inside." (2 babies asleep - great excuse, right? Wrong.)
ME: We will do our best to make sure you receive the best dining experience we can offer, however, the strollers WILL remain outside the building. Now, if you would prefer to wait until those currently napping are awake, that's fine, just give me a name and we'll prepare a seating arrangement for you at whatever time you choose.
HE: You. Don't. Understand. We are here NOW and are staying and you WILL serve us.
ME: If you don't mind leaving those who are sleeping in their strollers outside the building, I have no problem with taking care of your dining needs.
HE: Tell me, do you want us to eat here, or not?
ME: ( I felt like saying that I hope you fall into a very deep pit and die, but...) That sir, is up to you. These are our house rules and those of the fire department.
HE: What if we all just sit down and demand service? (Is this a Woolworth's counter in 1960?)
Me: You may remain until the police arrive to ask you to leave, as well.
(The GM arrives on the scene, takes in the situation)
SHE: Is there a problem here?
HE: (All ruffled feathers) We have 2 sleeping babies and he won't allow us to bring their strollers into the building.
SHE: (In her lilting Irish accent) Right he is, you take those babies home and let them sleep in peace, then come back and enjoy food and drink. We'll take good care of you!
HE: Slack jaw. "I demand to speak to the manager, NOW!"
SHE: That's me. What? Is there a problem?
HE is defeated and knows it. They have lost. They leave quietly and quickly.
After they leave: I am about to burst!
SHE: Did I miss somethin'?
ME: I love you!
4. Young Gay couple arrive looking a bit apprehensive and quietly ask for a booth in back of the dining room. There is one popular with couples getting together and/or about to end the relationship. I seat them there and they smile at each other and then at me. That they are happy and grateful for the privacy and intimate space is clear. I leave them alone and head back to my duties.
During their meal I visit a few times to make sure the food and service has been good. They smile a shy smile and nod that all is going well.
Toward the end of their time with us their server nervously informs me that they would like to talk with me. The server is afraid he's done something wrong. When I arrive at their booth, they are holding hands, I notice plain gold bands on their ring fingers, and I guess I almost ripped my face from jaw to jaw because it came to me that they had just made the ultimate commitment.
They had been together for 4 years. Decided to take the plunge. Their families didn't know. They took their vows on the beach at dawn, witnessed by the waves, a few seagulls, and the officiant. No family.
They asked that I join them and sit a while, but I couldn't; we were too busy. So, they drop a bomb.
It was I who introduced them 4 years ago as they sat enjoying Happy Hour at the bar Hi-Tops. Seems they were with different groups of friends. One straight, the other gay. Of course, I didn't remember, or know that at the time. I pay no attention to those things anymore. Somehow, they exchanged information and the rest is history.
They thanked me and we shed a few tears, because they also knew (from the gay group at the time, I don't know how) that I had been in a long-term relationship that ended on an ugly note. Somehow they felt stronger for knowing that information. Don't ask.
They invited me to Happy Hour, or dinner when they return to the beach after Labor Day.
Sweet, Young, Love! May they happily grow old together and find comfort in each others arms.
FIVE more weeks of summer, but who is counting?
And so it goes.