Thursday, May 26, 2011

Our Check was Delayed, he said, because he had to Crack a Lobster

My my mom and I went to a well known chain-restaurant (known for the color of its lobsters) for dinner last night. The waiter took a long time to bring us our check.  I was pretty sure he'd left the building. But he did come back, and he apologized, "Sorry, I had to go crack a lobster."

You have an idea how old I am, right?  My mom's the proper 39 for her age.  She paid with a gift card she'd got from my brother and sister in law, and when I mentioned the birthday in the waiter's presence he said,  "It's your birthday?"  She said it was a couple of weeks ago.  He gives the "hang on a second" gesture and says, "I think I can do something for your birthday," and hurries off.

I'm expecting cake and a candle. She's expecting about the same - maybe ice cream.  We're hoping they don't sing. The waiter comes back with a second waiter.  They're both clean cut looking boys in their chain restaurant waiter white shirts and black slacks, but no dessert, no candle.  The second waiter perches his arm in a casual embrace of the top of my mom's side of the booth and leans in.  The first waiter stands at the table.  After a brief debate we acquiesce, their desire beginning to sour to embarassment.  I 'm thinking maybe these kids are into musical theatre and want to grab any chance to perform. They fairly adequately sing "Happy Birthday" the second waiter working in a little melodic twisting which might construe as harmony if there were the distraction of a flame and a treat and a magical wish.

We politely say thank you and clap. They dash away.  As my mom and I are wondering what that exactly was, the second waiter comes back and slaps a round business card on the table. My mother tells him he has a nice voice and with his thanks he says he's in a band and points at the card, "Check it out!"  My mom asks if the other waiter is in the band, too. "Oh, no - he can't be in it," and he's gone like a phantom.

I take the card, put it in my purse. I am expecting a Josh Groban wannabe or an American Idol belter with the strategically ripped jeans, something women among older generations generally would like. Later, I check the site - the kid's full throttle mega punk complete with the monsterous gutteral throaty roar and the percussive antithetical melodies that all jam together the same kind of rupture that is obviously happening to the boy's vocal chords.

So what's the motivation?  Was it a dare?  Was it a test of our kindness?  Did they offer us a birthday too soon and did the manager refuse their request to offer us a complementary cupcake?  Did the second waiter have henchmen after him, threatening him with baseball bats if he came home with any of those little round cards in his pockets?  Did they think we'd come to a show?  Did they think we had connections? And did they actually believe they think they'd charmed us into using them?!

"Crack a lobster," indeed. "Go get loaded while on break," more like.

Note: I really wanted to turn the phrase and say something about smoking crack, but if they'd been smoking crack they'd've forgotten altogether to come back.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.  - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.