In the Weeds: Lost in Translation
Today, I offer some simple but important advice. Try your darndest not to do any of these things. No seriously, try really really hard not to do these things.
1) Be a low talker – You are aware that you are in a restaurant, right? This usually means background music, clanging plates and silverware, and possibly 100 or so people talking in the background. When I ask you what you want to drink, please raise your face away from the table top and speak the F up. You’ll more than likely actually get what you want, and you’ll avoid me leaning uncomfortably into your space to say, “I’m sorry, what?”
2) Be so involved in your conversation, you’ve been rendered blind – Oh my Gawwwwd! You finally get to hear all about your friend’s totally bitchy boss and the latest bulls&*t she inflicted. Save it for after the drink order please. It’s just totally awkward for me to stand there smiling and saying hi and what can I bring you to drink while also becoming invisible. I know you can see me. If I actually had the power to become invisible, I would not use it to serve tables. I would use it for something much more useful, like walking into Brad and Angie’s house to see if they are filling out paperwork for another lucky child or are indeed completing divorce papers. According to InTouch Magazine, it could be either scenario and someone needs to get to the bottom of it.
3) Be an iPhone addict who can’t be bothered, but is in a big hurry – If I see you on your phone as I approach the table, I make a sharp left and don’t even try. You have business to attend to, that’s cool. I’ll keep an eye on you and come over when I see your head disconnected from the device. Aside: If you’re one of those guys that wears your Bluetooth headset everywhere you go and never take it off, then it’s anybody’s guess as to if you’re talking to me, a caller, or yourself. Never have so many people masqueraded as mentally ill patients since the Bluetooth. You’ve seen them while you’re shopping. You’re squeezing a tomato at the grocery when the guy next to you yells out, “Are you kidding me? Unbelievable!” You startle. And then it’s you, not him, who is embarrassed when you realize he’s not talking to you. End Aside. Anyways, after you complete your 17-minute phone conversation, you’ll usually be in a huge hurry and imply that it’s my fault that you’re running late for a meeting.
4) Be an American who requires a translator – Every table has a leader. Most of the time, the role is appreciated. The leader keeps the low talker and the overly-involved-in-conversation blind person communicating with the server and moving the dinner along. But once in awhile, the leader becomes a strict translator who is shocked that I, a simple server, has the ability to comprehend the American language. It mostly involves women with translating men or a group who finds it impossible to communicate directly with a lowly server. It goes like this:
“Hi, welcome, can I start you with a drink, maybe a dirty martini or a glass of wine?”
“She’s asking about drinks, do you want a drink?”
“I want a vodka martini.”
“Waitress, she wants a vodka martini.”
Yeah, I can hear her. Because I, too, speak English, and I am standing RIGHT HERE!
Unsure who to address, “Do you….or um, does she…want it up or on the rocks?”
“Do you want it up?”
“She wants it up.”
“Okay, well, will you ask her if she likes a twist or olives?”
“Twist or olives?”
“Olives. Do they have blue cheese olives?”
“Yes, we have them.”
They both look at me blankly as if shocked that I understood the last words that were clearly uttered in plain American and not dumbed-down server speak.
“Ok, she’ll have blue cheese olives.”
I walk away shuddering and thinking about the torture that will be the dinner order.
Go forth my cheetahs, and dine with confidence! You are well-prepared to be well served!