When the theory of relativity meets the truth

Albert Einstein, developer of the theory of relativity, once remarked that “When a man sits with a pretty girl for an hour, it seems like a minute. But let him sit on a hot stove for a minute and it’s longer than any hour. That’s relativity.”

Thank goodness for layman’s terms. And in the most lay way possible, relativity is what occurred to me the other day when I read the Yelp review:

“A friend suggested we meet here. She was still at work, so I got there first. Got there and the place was packed. The tables there are reserved, so that meant I had to eat at the bar. So I found a spot and waited 25 minutes until a couple left. Grabbed the seats and sat down.

“Bartender says, ‘You can’t sit there, I’ve been holding the next place for that couple for 15 minutes.’ I said, ‘But I’ve been here for 25.’ He said, ‘Those are their seats.’ Not wanting to make a situation about it, I let the seats go.

“Waited another 10 minutes and another couple of seats show up. Grabbed them. ‘You can’t sit there. Those are reserved for another couple.’

There was no sign-up to sit at the bar; apparently you just had to be ‘in’ with a bartender there. Suffice it to say this is the snootiest restaurant I’ve ever been to. I will never eat there.”

Wow. Really? That Einstein guy might have been on to something. You see, that is not how I, the other bartender or the other customers remember that situation at all.

The bar was indeed packed, all the seats were taken and another six people stood behind those already sitting at the bar. People were waiting their turn, like people so often do. I opened a bottle of wine for a couple that had yet to gain seats, and provided drinks for the other four standing. It is sometimes hard to keep track of who is next, but most often crowds sort those things out on their own. But this time it was obvious — the couple with a two-thirds bottle of wine, followed by the two guys on their second beer, followed by the couple that had ordered drinks off the drink menu they had requested.

It was then that a man in a backwards Kangol hat and a large glowing earbud for his phone walked in. He walked past the wine-drinking couple, past the two men on their second beer and past the couple with their just-ordered drinks. I tried to solicit an order from him but as is common with people who walk into a bar still on the phone, he wasn’t interested.

It just so happened that a seated couple in front of me put their payment down and got ready to leave. Mr. Kangol positioned himself directly behind them. Knowing how these things so often go, I took the initiative.

“Sir, those two people have been waiting for a seat for a while, so they get the next two,” I said, pointing at the couple with the bottle of wine.

Mr. Kangol stared at me icily.

When the paid couple got up, Mr. Kangol tried to sit down at the two seats anyhow. “Sir, I said, “hose two people …”

Mr. Kangol begrudging moved down the bar and stood too close to another couple busy paying the other bartender. Doing what bartenders do for as long as I have, she also took the initiative.

“Sir, these two gentlemen have been waiting,” she said, pointing to the two men on their second beers.

“I don’t get it,” Mr. Kangol said loudly. “What do you people expect me to do to get a seat around here? Wait?”

Obviously that was out of the question. He stormed out five minutes after he arrived, much to the relief of everyone sitting as well as the two still waiting their turn patiently.

Leaving me with these thoughts:

• After working in nightclubs for many years, I’ve learned that the first story is often erroneous. For example, the man claiming that another man pushed him for no reason will so often turn into a husband who pushed the man for pinching his wife’s butt.

• Please don’t believe everything you read on Yelp.

• Einstein also once said, “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

• I sure hope Mr. Kangol is a man of his word and never indeed comes back.