Sunday, March 05, 2006 by Ospite.

It was a long night and after 9 hours on the floor and 2 more to go, I was beginning to become a tad weary. The trattoria was running an 80-minute wait with no sign of stopping. The floor was in a whirl that took me back to the classic:

There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing

Is it raining, is it snowing
Is a hurricane a-blowing

Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of Hell a-glowing
Is the grisly reaper mowing

Yes, the danger must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing


Part of me wished I was on whatever the director was on when they shot that scene. Three tables of ridiculously difficult people two of whom wanted our new guy (Tony) fired due to his poor organizational skills when it came reservations. There was apparently some discrepancy on the front end as to whether or not the reservations were held, and then each table had to wait half the average quote time of the evening. Desserts or drinks comp-ed, the steam ceased exiting their ears.

Still another table complained:
"Listen, I'm Italian, and this is NOT how they cook it. I don't like it at all and I'm not going to pay for it."
MY response was less than professional...well, the response in my head:
"Well, tell you what....I know a great place where you can get legitimate Italian food the way you like it... IT'S CALLED YOUR KITCHEN!"

Luckily they made the brutal mistake of saying they didn't "like" the food. Not that it was undercooked, or found hair in it, or the waiter was rude...but that they didn't "like" the food. Personal taste preference doesn't change whether or not you are required to pay for the meal. The check was paid in full, and the tip, luckily, was enough as if to say "We're trying to cover up the fact we made complete fools of ourselves."

10.5 hours of wine, bread, pasta, and fatuous demands brought me to a semi-jovial 8top that wandered in. A birthday requiring two tables be joined to accomodate their numbers. This unfortunately meant tight quarters in the back of the restaurant and I stepped back to allow two ladies take their seats as I gave the nightly speech. Now, I have a tendancy to talk animatedly in Italian style (i.e. with my hands). My left hand went from raised/open position to lowered/opened position just as woman #2 backed up...right into my open hand. The unintentional goosing of this patron lasted a mere 0.2 seconds and was ended with a brief apology and "Excuse me, please, ma'am." She shot me a pleased look and what my exhausted eyes believed to be a wink and a smile. My face red, and Mr. Harry Connick, Jr. now crooning in my head, it was clearly time that I clock out.


Blogger Sola said...

Not only have i had that evening, i've done exactly the same thing, only it was some poor guy and his package. At least he also seemed to take it as an unexpected little thrill.

Love your entries. Thank you.

10:20 AM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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