Now, I’m not going to name the restaurant where this happened — it’s a Japanese place in Colorado Springs, which is more than you need to know but easily surmised from the context — but it’s just this guy. This happened a couple of weeks ago, but it still makes me laugh…
The waiter is Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome. He’s fresh-faced. He’s the kind of charmed-life idiot who always ends up with what he wants. He could easily claim to be an actor working as a waiter, except he’s not in L.A. A narcissist who uses more products than me, my mother, and my two sisters combined.
He has no sense of timing.
I know this. I’ve eaten here several times, and I’ve had him work my table before.
He delivers the menu. It’s 11:30 a.m. and there could hardly be stated to be anything resembling a “rush.” I tell him I need a minute. Why do I do this? Why? I already know what I want. It’s a gray, cool day, and I want udon. But I send him off anyway.
Less than thirty seconds later, he comes back with the tea. Doesn’t ask whether I’m ready to order, just puts the tea and the cup down and disappears around the corner.
Five minutes later, he’s back to take my order. (I don’t wear a watch, but we progress through about ten commercials.) “Udon.” He tries to leave. “And a California roll.”
He escapes. I wonder if the California roll will appear…
I read comic books. I forget what I was reading…oh, Batman-something-or-other and an Ah! My Goddess. Miso appears a few minutes later. Four spoonfuls later, the California roll. I’ve barely finished the miso (and haven’t touched the California roll) when the udon comes up. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Not the best, most perfect udon I’ve ever had — I don’t think I’ve found the perfect udon yet — but good. A solid performer.
I finish the California roll. The waiter appears and magically vanishes the dishes associated with the California roll, including the chopsticks. Uh, dude? Chopsticks? To slurp udon with? Hellooooo? Anyway, I work my way steadily through the udon until there are only a few dribbles left, and I’m almost positive that picking up the bowl and drinking the rest of it will cause dribbles in a bad way. (If you know the usual size of a dish of udon: Yes, I can do this. It’s soup. Good soup makes my stomach develop a Bag of Holding. Sorry. Probably TMI.)
I’ve finished Batman. I’ve finished Ah, My Goddess. Now comes the moment that restauranteurs should dread: bored, I whip out the notebook, immortalizing Mr. Pretty and his amazing sense of timing. That doesn’t even hold me over. I watch golf for a while. I decide sushi chef #1 is a wild man, because he isn’t wearing a t-shirt under his hapi coat, and he has one ear pierced. The tips of his eyebrows look like they’ve been fanned out with a comb. But he’s wearing glasses, so I know he’s not a superhero…
Eventually, sushi chef #1 spots that I’m just sitting there, staring out into space, and stares at sushi chef #2. Sushi chef looks questioningly at sushi chef #1. SC#1 looks at me. I look at him. SC#2 looks at me. SC looks at SC#3, who has a mesh-topped hat. SC#3 is looking at something he’s chopping. Tap tap tap, the kind of quiet, steady sound that puts babies to sleep. SC#2 looks at SC#1, who looks back at him. SC#2 sighs and puts down his knife, but by then, SC#3 has finished chopping, and SC#2 can just look at him without having to walk anywhere. SC#3, without really participating in the whole chain-of-looking-thing, walks around the corner, and a few seconds later, Mr. Pretty comes out.
But not with my check.
“Do you need more tea?”
“No, I’m ready to go.”
This is an invitation for him to disappear for another five minutes. While he is gone, I write the following:
The Sushi Place-Pillow Book
There were two professions for which nature had suited him: women’s beds and the stage. Fate, however, had arranged for him a different situation.
It went on in that vein for a while…ended up with:
But still, I wonder, how will he ever understand the nuances of the stage? And what woman would entrust to him her bed, when he cannot understand even the gross obviousness of leaving a pair of chopsticks for a hungry diner, let alone the nuances of the bill?
At any rate, I’m not still at the restaurant, so he must have figured out how to ring up the bill at some point.
About 400 words later.