Musings Over an Omelet

There is nothing worse than surly waiters than annoying customers.

This morning, I visited the Cup & Saucer Cafe for the first time in forever. My usual waiter was there, looking like he’d just rolled out of bed and put on the cleanest-looking t-shirt and pair of jeans he could find from a pile on his apartment floor. In other words, he was the quintessential modern-day hipster. I always seem to have this particular waiter every time I choose to dine at this Hawthorne neighborhood staple, so much so that he already knows not to hand me a menu when I walk in. (I always order the omelet special these days.) He also knows that I would immediately go to the back booth if it was available. He also knows to bring me my decaf with cream.

He was busy; I was his tenth table, and he was alone. I had a feeling that service wasn’t going to be quick today and, sure enough, he didn’t get to my decaf until much later. But, I didn’t mind. It was a lazy Saturday morning, and I had a book in hand. I was fine to wait a little bit.

In front of me, a middle-aged couple was settling into their booth, perusing the menu and specials board. They vacillated loudly about what they might order, which irritated me slightly. I hate people who talk too loudly. Unless you’re making a speech, there is absolutely no reason for you to talk loudly to another person who is sitting two feet away from you. Anyway, as I’d already mentioned, my waiter (who is also the couple’s waiter) was quite busy this morning. Although the couple already had their coffee and waters, they’d grown a bit impatient and the woman shouted over to the waiter, “We’re ready when you are!”

My waiter, who is well-versed in the art of surly service, told them it’ll be just a moment. He had smiled, but there were equal parts sarcasm and absolute disdain in his voice. Another table had just sat themselves in the cafe when the waiter went to the couple’s table, and asked them what they would like for breakfast. Now, here’s the irritating part: The woman who’d yelled not two minutes ago that they were ready to order suddenly looked at the Specials Board and said, “Um, let’s see…what would you recommend?”

From where I sat, and surely from the couple’s vantage point, it was clear how annoyed the waiter was. He said, “I would recommend everything from our menu but it would be dependent on your tastes.” Then the woman proceeded to engage him in a game of twenty questions: “Are your breakfast potatoes organic?” “Is your whole wheat bread made with seven grains?” “Are the quesadillas made with gluten-free tortilla?” and then topped it off with, “Ooh, I really can’t decide on what I want.” Again, this was the same annoying lady who’d just yelled to the waiter that she was ready to order. Then she asked, “What kind of vegetables are in your garden sausage patty?”

“What kind of vegetables?” the waiter asked, the annoyed look never leaving his face.

“Yes, what kind of vegetables,” the woman said matter-of-factly. “I mean, it’s a vegetarian sausage, isn’t it?”

The waiter shifted his stance. “It’s a Morning Star sausage, like the kind you buy at Fred Meyer.”

“I guess I’ll have the Lucky Scramble,” the annoying woman finally said. Her husband ordered the Chicken Quesadilla, and the waiter walked away.

I heard the woman tell her husband that she thought their waiter was rude saying that she was just asking him questions to make sure what they were eating were good for them. I almost got up and slapped her. And I felt like telling her, “Look, first of all, when you say you’re ready to order, you better damn be ready to order. And, if you’re concerned about what you’re eating at a restaurant, then maybe you should be cooking for your own damn self at home so that you can be sure what’s in your food. The restaurant does not revolve around you and your acid reflux. And, what? Do you enjoy wearing ugly men’s clothes? What’s the matter with you?!”

But, I didn’t.

I finally got my decaf, placed my order, and, within a few minutes, was chowing on a tasty spinach and red onion omelet. It was delicious and felt healthy.

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