Wednesday, July 26, 2006 by Ospite.

Typical Sunday late lunch. Not remarkably busy, but steadily rushed. The bored Sunday diners, the bustling post-church patrons, the "we only eat out on weekends" customers, and the run of the mill "I have to get what I want now because we're out on a special day and we deserve more than anyone else" guys out with their mothers.

I'm holding a small section and have decided to keep it that way, turning other tables over to other more spirited waiters today. I'm tired and my feet hurt. I want a nap. I suddenly feel old. Stretched. Like butter scraped across too much bread. I need a holiday...

Standing idly next to the kitchen I see my table for four become a table for two. Excellent. My lucky break. As I approach I realize something is awry here. The couple has not spoken a word to each other since entering the trattoria. With most couples, this tends to mean they are fighting and it will be a tense meal.

I do the greet, the speech, the drinks, take the order. Still bare minimum from these two to me and nothing at all to each other. They simply look around the restaurant rather than at each other. Neither seem upset or irritated. Just apathetic. They eat is silence, drink their coffee in silence, and I realize that my role too, should be silent. These folks have become my oasis on the dry and weary land that is my dining room. I grow to love them deeply. I learn to love the silence. I am sad when their check is ready and I must send them on their way. The hour of verbal abstinence was lovely.

Part of me was still awake, and I was curious about their take on the dining experience. I glanced at a note scrawled on the receipt they left:

"Thanks so much! It was a wonderfully relaxing lunch. We'll be back!"

I await their return with baited breath.


Anonymous Jackie said...

In some cultures it is rude to speak while you are eating. Perhaps they are part of one and you gave them maybe the first meal they could enjoy in peace at a restaurant!

5:23 AM  
Anonymous Jaz said...

I empathize with you and with them, and my heart yearns for such an oasis. Thanks for the vicarious experience.

8:31 AM  
Blogger Arhyarion said...

I like the Bilbo Baggins allusion. ;-)

7:44 AM  
Blogger espie joans said...

funny. :D

7:07 PM  

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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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