Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nurse the Hate: Restaurant Observation #2

I enjoyed myself so much yesterday writing speculative stories about people that I saw while eating, I did it again today.  I realize that this is particularly self indulgent, but that's what you get today ya fucks.  I was sitting in the bar at Blue Point hiding in plain sight.  By the way, the sauteed scallops and shrimp are fabulous.

The guy with the mustache and mutton chops at the end of the bar:  Since the death of his wife he had taken most of his meals downstairs at the restaurant. They had moved into the condominium to enjoy their "golden years" free of yard work and other suburban concerns.  Her diagnosis of cancer and subsequent death happened shortly after their move in.  He stayed downtown in the condo filled with tangible items she had purchased from what seemed a lifetime ago.  What was it now?  Four years?  He had come to enjoy the routine of opening the crisp newspaper and waiting for his order, always the grilled fish. He stared at the stock prices while fiddling with his waxed mustache, an indulgence he had allowed himself in the last year. He had hoped it would make him look like Teddy Roosevelt, but he knew in his heart made him actually look like Wilfred Brimley. He stared at the stock prices only vaguely aware of which companies he currently had holdings. He lived on a modest allowance from the account. After retirement and his wife's death, he had lost his zest for business.  He had a son.  They hadn't spoken since a falling out over the presidential election in 2008.  Or maybe it was something else.  It was always something.  With his eventual passing, he knew his son would enjoy the money more than he ever could.  His son took after his mother, a free spirit that allowed the boy to dabble in whatever caught his fancy. The last he had heard the boy was in San Francisco trying to become a sculptor or some such nonsense.  He noted IBM stock was down two points. Shit. Did he still have IBM?

The nervous woman in the cheap looking business suit at the table with the conservative stranger:  She had not held any one job for longer than 18 months. Her resume claimed six positions in the last ten years, though if she was honest that number would be closer to nine.  If asked, she would expound at great length with tales of terrible work environments, unrealized promises and short sighted bosses unable to recognize her obviously vast talents. She was a serious career woman that had just had a run of bad luck.  The economy.  That didn't help matters either.  She had "the story" down pat.  Privately over a glass of wine with her friends, she would confess her fears and shortcomings, mascara running down her cheeks. She would usually continue until her speech ended in wet sobs and reassurance from whichever friend had drawn the short straw to see her through this latest crisis of confidence.  This quarterly occurrence was trying for all parties involved.  She was considered the big success amongst her friends with her fancy business suits and office job. Her closest friends were waitresses and hair stylists, easily impressed by her liberal use of jargon like "fast track" and "veep" and "webinar". They were unaware that all of her jobs had in fact been entry level positions at second rate companies where she washed out of without anyone really noticing she had been there at all. Over eager she walked to the hostess stand with a mask of confidence as if to hide from everyone at the restaurant that she was on a sales call for which she was ill prepared.  She spotted the client, straightened her skirt, sat down and joined the prospect at the table. He was the seventh largest purchaser of medical billing software in the district. This was it. The Big Time. This time things would be different. This time she would succeed. This time...

The waitress with the worn black shoes:  The plan had been to take the job for three months to make enough money to move to Portland.  Her college roommate was out there now, consistently showing off via Facebook photos with more interesting friends, better parties, and better looking men than in her life here in Cleveland.  "You gotta get out here!"  Three months became six months, and the plan had slowly faded into something more akin to a daydream.  The people at the restaurant were nice enough, but she hated the customers.  Corporate drones with expense accounts trying to impress one another.  After a couple drinks came the inevitable "accidental" hand brushing slightly against her ass.  She would smile with a stern look, giving the middle aged men the "you've been a naughty boy" look.  If she could she would stab out their eyes with the crab fork.  Even worse was the Saturday Night Date crowd that came from the suburbs.  The men always looked uncomfortable in their best "party shirts" while ushering in their too young dates teetering on their high heels like baby fawns.  They would conspicuously spend too much money on wine and scotch, prodding their dates to order lobster tails they didn't want.  By the time the entree arrived they would start to act rude to all the service people as a show of some sort of dominance.  She would have to sneak out back by the dumpsters with the dishwashers to smoke a joint just to get through service without attacking anyone on some nights.  Next week her lease on her apartment would be up for six month renewal.  She glanced out the window across the street to the parking lot while reciting the specials to a table of lawyers.  She saw her 1998 Toyota Celica parked meekly in the back of the lot.  It would make it to Portland, right?       


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