A busy restaurant can have a hum to it, its own pulse, its own rhythm. Sometimes that rhythm has the slow familiar pace of the blues, and sometimes it’s more like a staccato jazz composition. Ironically, it often has nothing to do with the piped in music, and just as ironically sometimes it does.
“Nya, nya, nya, nya, nya” went that piped in music. A blast from the 80’s past. There’s a meme on the internet that reads: me in my 20’s “this club is playing my jams”; me in my 30’s “this restaurant is playing my jams”; and me in my 40’s “this supermarket is playing my jams.”
“Jams” says it all about the person who wrote that, now doesn’t it? The song registered at first subconsciously, and then more overtly conscious as I began to actually sing along.
The two women bopped in the front door in polo shirts and golf hats, the barely perceptible clip of golf cleats making their own staccato pace on the tile floor. I don’t know exactly when baseball caps became the ubiquitous sporting hat, but it was probably around the same time that song came out.
The two women bopped along to the music too.
“I know what guys like,” sang one of them.
“I know what boys want,” answered her friend.
“I remember that song,” I said extending the branch of hospitality by looking for common ground.
“Me too,” said the taller of the pair. “My mom used to listen to it.”
Sometimes that branch can feel like new green growth, and sometimes it can feel like a withered stump.
The taller woman ordered two Manhattans: Whistle Pig, Carpano Antica, a splash of Angostura bitters, and griottines.
Clearly this wasn’t her first Manhattan.
The choking snort of her companion however, indicated that the same might not be true for her.
The taller woman patted her friend on the back.
“Don’t worry, it’s an acquired taste.”
Two men, also in golf hats and polo shirts, two seats down, noticed the two women immediately.
“We’ll take care of those,” said one of the men.
“No thank you,” said the taller woman.
I listed the specials and when I got to the spring salad, the taller woman waved it all off. She then ordered chicken wings and BBQ ribs.
“And can you put the football game on?” she asked.
“There’s no NFL football on,” I replied.
“Not the NFL,” she said. “The USFL.”
The two men noticed this also.
“We’ll get those appies,” said the same man who had first proffered the drinks.
“No thank you,” replied the taller woman, again.
“I love hanging out with you,” said her shorter companion when she was done choking on her drink. “You are not like most of the women I know. You like what guys like.”
Her companion laughed. I laughed too, not at what she said but at the synchronicity of that statement with the piped in music.
“Sports and whiskey are not exclusive to men,” said the taller woman.
Which is true. Stereotypes exist everywhere, sometimes they bear a kernel of truth, and sometimes they don’t. However, in my line of work, you quickly learn to play the odds. And then you learn that the odds aren’t always right. A subtle change can make the difference between a good experience and a bad one. And good experiences are always the most profitable.
“Do you guys have a smoking area?” asked the taller woman whipping out a cigar and running it under her nose.
“It’s out back,” I said.
Soon enough the brief wisps of cigar smoke creeped in. Accompanying the smell were a few short sharp coughs. First times are often so overrated.
I remember a time when restaurants had smoking sections. The belief was that somehow sitting five feet a way from a table full of people smoking, was somehow “nonsmoking.” My, how times have changed.
The two women returned; the tarry smoke smell clung to them noticeably. As did the smell of the whiskey.
“Can you put on SportsCenter,” asked the tall woman.
“Wow,” said her companion looking at her. “You really are not like my other girlfriends.”
She in fact didn’t finish that sentence, because the taller woman leaned in and kissed her fully on the mouth.
Leaving me with these thoughts:
-Sometimes double entendres aren’t double entendres at all.
-“I know what boys like” is a song released by the band the Waitresses in 1982.
-1982 was forty years ago. And forty years before that the United States formally entered World War II. Just saying.
-One might surmise that Ms. Tall was in fact just like her other girlfriends in at least one respect.
-Sometimes a cigar, really is just a cigar.