Sunday, January 22, 2012

My brunch nemesis

Every server has one. That crazy regular who comes in during what's already the most heinous shift (brunch) and makes your life hell. Mine looks a bit like a homeless Susan Boyle. Or this:

Yes, that's the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons. I don't know if my brunch nemesis (henceforth referred to as my BN) is into cats, but you know what she is into? Reading a giant newspaper and then leaving it all over the floor for me to clean up when she leaves. And sometimes she doesn't even have the decency to leave the crossword.

The worst thing about my BN is her attitude. She always come in alone* (see note) and after being in her presence for 2 minutes, it's clear why. She's very defensive, as if you've already wronged her or might spit in her face at any moment. She likes to sit as far away from other people as possible and if the dining room is noisy and crowded, she takes her misery out on the staff. I mean, it's obviously our fault that she can't eat her brunch in complete silence.

But at least she's predictable. She always drinks a lot of coffee and wants it refilled even when it's three-quarters full and still steaming. And when she asks for the "refill" her expression screams WHYDIDIHAVETOASKYOUFORTHISYOUSHOULDHAVEKNOWNINEEDEDMORECOFFEE
She also uses a lot of cream and a lot of sugar, even by Boston "coffee regulah" standards. I usually fill the jumbo creamer we use on big tables for her. And I bring her about a dozen packets of sugar.

Her culinary tastes are simple -- fish and chips when it's on the menu (extra aioli. I just bring it now before she asks) and eggs benedict without ham when it's not. If it's an eggs benedict day, we have this conversation. Verbatim.

BN: (with great agitation) Um, I don't eat ham? Can I substitute avocado?

Me: Yes, but it's an extra dollar.

BN: (grimaces) Oh. I see. Never mind. Well, can I substitute french fries for home fries?

Me: The eggs benedict actually doesn't come with home fries, but you can order a side of fries if you like.

BN: (devastated and angry) Oh. Never mind.

We had a little kerfuffle once when I was flustered/busy and accidentally told BN she could substitute avocado for ham. Then the kitchen told me I had to charge her a $1 and in the chaos, I forgot to mention it and she flipped out when I gave her the check. But that's all water under the crazy bridge now and I'm always very careful to explain about the up-charge when she inevitably asks.

When BN decides it's time to leave, she needs to leave IMMEDIATELY and if it takes you more than a minute to bring her the check and run her credit card, you can bet that's coming out of the 12% tip she's planning on leaving.

But the most terrifying thing about BN is that once, I Googled her (yes, I know her name because sometimes she makes a reservation for one) and she apparently is a professor at, like, MIT. Now, when I'm not slinging overpriced eggs, I too have a college teaching job. (I like to say I wait tables to pay for my teaching habit). Is this what I have to look forward to if I continue to work in academia? Wearing an oversized knit hat and considering avocado a frivolous luxury?

*One time, she was joined at her table tucked in the farthest reaches of the restaurant by a man in denim overalls who looked equally disheveled/emotionally disturbed. He too ordered fish and chips. They barely spoke to each other
and then paid and left separately. To this day, I have no idea what that was about.

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