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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Hey, don't be mad at the waiter and me. It's not our fault you're cranky and stupid.

Good evening all!

Most of you know that I watch entirely too much TV for my own good. Personally, I blame my parents, mostly because everyone blames their parents but also because I was only allowed to watch
like five TV shows when I was a kid, and, since I lived in Michigan and that's the Eastern Standard Time Zone, two of those shows aired AFTER my week night bed time.  So each week I had to read the TV guide, (or, more likely since my parents were poor and didn't get TV guide) the newspaper to see if Little House on the Prairie or The Walton's had the better show. (Little House was on Mondays, Walton's was on Thursdays. I watched no TV on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)

TV has always been my favorite thing. It was the thing my parents, okay my mom, took away from me as a punishment when I got bad grades at school. It was the thing that comforted me when I had the chicken pox and Mom decided that sure, 9 was the right age to start watching Soap Operas because it was too much hassle to move my cot out of the living room while "As the World Turns" and "Guiding Light" were on.

I have a terrific memory for many things TV.  I may not be able to remember which voting ward I live in (nope I never do) but I can tell you character names and plot concepts from sit coms I haven't seen in 20 years.  My first crush, I tell people, was Johnny Gage on "Emergency." But really, if I'm being totally honest, my first love was TV.

So last night Hubby and I went out for dinner to a popular place in downtown Waukesha. We like the menu, but I find the place to be too cramped.  It's one of those quirky buildings that has a lot of smaller rooms and winding stairs and bathrooms in unexpected places.  But the food is good and if you get there early it's not packed and you can actually eat dinner without banging elbows with the table next to you. We did NOT get there early last night, but it wasn't too crowded, although they seated us next to a couple and, because of the way the tables were arranged, I wound up sitting pretty much back to back with the guy at the other table.  

Now first of all, it was clear we were sitting next to loud talkers. You know the kind of people who are going to talk at a certain volume regardless of how close anyone is, how much the room echoes, or just how silly or personal their conversation is. This couple next to us was unaware of the fact that we could hear them better than we could hear ourselves.

It started with their drink order.  Our waiter, a very eager young man named Juan, brought them two cocktails, one of which was a Bloody Mary.  He asked the gentleman if he wanted a chaser for the Bloody Mary.  (I don't know a lot about Bloody Marys, but I'm told it's common to chase it with a good swig of beer. In my mind that's rather like chasing Chanel No. 5 with a cauliflower fart.)  This is how that conversation went.

Juan:  Would you like a beer chaser with that?"

Man:  WHAT?

Juan:  A beer chaser, with your drink.  Would you like it?

Man: A BEER?  NO!  I DON'T DRINK!

And he waves poor Juan off like a fly.  

I'm not going to analyze the whole Bloody Mary thing vs him saying he doesn't drink.  I'm going to move on to the soup.

So Juan brings the Loudsters their soup and salad.  The man has the soup, a noodle soup.  Juan flees hoping to not get yelled at.  He comes back with our drinks and takes our order, which we place at a normal volume of speech regardless of how loud the Loudsters are yapping about their lives and the female relative who was on a plane but then wasn't and then forgot her coat and had to borrow some one's and it was so bad but at least she didn't have to fly with the coat.

Juan brings the Loudsters their entrees and, as is custom when you bring the entrees he asks if he can take the lady's salad plate, which she gives up.  Then he asks if he can take the man's soup bowl.

Man:  NO!  You CAN'T TAKE IT!  I'm NOT DONE Y ET!

Juan:  You're not?  Oh I'm sorry. It looked empty.

Man: WELL IT'S NOT!

Juan again flees.  He later brings our food and then disappears for the next twenty minutes.  During that time Mrs. Loudster is regaling Mr. with a TV show she's just discovered.  It's a funny little thing called..."Green Acres."  Have you heard of it?

Mrs. Loudster proceeds to do something that annoys me...and it's funny because I know I do it all the time. In fact I did it just the other night to poor Hubby who had no place to escape because we were walking home from Starbucks.  She begins to retell and entire episode, but she does it badly, backtracking in plot points and over explaining (to a Mr. who is still figuring out how to get that last drop of broth out of the soup bowl and is pretty much ignoring her.)  and misquoting, then re quoting dialogue...and it's painful to listen to because 1)  I can't ignore her she's so loud and 2) she has no flair for storytelling and 3)  every two minutes she says, "I know the wife's name was Lisa, but I can't remember the husband's name."

After several minutes of this terrible destruction of...well I can't call it high art, but if you're going to tell a story for the love of all that's holy be interested in the story you're telling instead of just shouting random things out and then saying, "Oh wait, no that came later"...I can't take it.  She keeps saying she can't remember the husband's name and all I can hear in my brain, other than this woman yelling about this TV show, is Eva Gabor's sing songy voice saying, "Ah li vah!"

So, being a neighborly person that I am, and since we are the only four people in this one room of the restaurant and since they've been talking at volume where they can't possibly think we aren't hearing them, I turn around and say, "Oh, the husband's name was Oliver."

Hey, wanna know how to get loud people in a restaurant to SHUT UP?  Let them know you can hear them. The Loudsters were silent for a moment.  And ceased discussion about the show.  And a few minutes later Juan gives them their check. They grumble at him when he offers to give them boxes...but they grumble at a level I can't hear.

And then they leave. 

I'm not saying they were mad at Juan because he was over eager to serve and I'm not saying they were mad at me because I was trying to help her get to the POINT of the story.  I'm saying they left abruptly.

We left a little bit bigger tip for Juan because I'm pretty sure Grumpy and Loud didn't leave him much.  

And now, boy, I want to watch some Green Acres.


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