She looked twenty two, or possibly forty three. Some women are inscrutable, in this manner. Her short black hair curled in a laurel around her head, a pearl necklace, and a comfortable, wool-looking black suit, modestly revealing the top of her chest.
She was chatty, as I took her order, hanging out with four going-on-middle-aged female companions, the young bachelorette of the group. When prompted about salad dressing, and presented with the standard answer – ranch, bleu cheese red wine basil vinagrette honey mustard thousand island soy ginger mild curry … and french, she asked about the french, and I allowed that it was the only dressing on offer not made in-house. She touched my shoulder, and told me that she wanted tangy. French, indeed.
At meal’s end, as the five women began the protracted negotiations over how to settle the bill, a heady peace conference that involved, tangentially, the use of a caculator, my tangy librarian friend offered me an envoy in the form of her credit card. This I dutifully swiped, and returned, in accord with my own diplomatic protocols, with a pen, and a “Thank you, Mrs. King.”
There was giggling, as she explained that she was the only single woman at the table. As I answered something like “Well, that’s too bad for the guys,” I was already kicking myself because the most appropriate answer was “Then you must give me your phone number.” Curse my propriety! And on my second-to-last, nothing-left-to-lose day on the job!
Having missed a great opportunity, this attractive lady became my quarry. I conducted my waiterly duties with a sense of her location in the restaurant, a buzzard casually awaiting the potential carcass. This was easy enough to do, as the lionesses of the table picked over the dismembered bill, wrestling over its appropriate apportionment. It was a reunion, of sorts, and there was no hurry to excuse themselves.
Bill paid, table cleared, there was no further reason for me to visit their table, nor any reason to visit them as they lingered on the porch. As they broke up, I saw her heading towards the back. After a moment, I realized that it was time to empty the recycling. This made a loud crashing noise out back, as my new friend turned to wave. Back inside, I figured it was high-time to fill the ice bin, which requires a few trips to the back of the kitchen, a few chances to linger casually at the kitchen door.
Just as I was finishing with the ice bin, a woman appeared in the kitchen, and gave me her friend’s phone number. I accounted for my timidity by explaining that I was actually heading out of town for a very long time, come Sunday, but definately, thank you very much for the number. You can give her mine …
A great friend will wander past the scary dumpster and in to a hot, noisy kitchen to pimp you out to the cute waiter.