Saturday night I had a couple in my section who spent more time watching me than they did eating their food. It was weird.
When I carried food to their table the man said, “Well, you’re no rookie, are you?”
I asked what he meant and he said, “You have all those plates stacked and balanced just right. You’ve been doing this for a while, haven’t you.” Longer than I care to think about.
Then the hostess sat a really old, crunchy couple next to the observers. The crunchy people immediately got up and moved themselves to one of my booths. I HATE it when people move, but whatever. The old guy ordered the special and when I asked what he wanted for his side dishes, he asked what his options were. I told him where they were listed on the menu, but he didn’t have his glasses, so I slowly listed them for him. Then he asked what the special was. I told him it was steak and skewered coconut shrimp. Okay. He still wanted it.
When the old lady tried to order, I realized she could neither read nor hear the words that were coming out of my mouth. I bent down and tried to speak in a loud voice without sounding like I was yelling at her. She said she wanted a steak. I helped her pick the steak and her sides before her husband said she should just have the special. She asked what the special was. I said it was steak and skewered coconut shrimp, steak and coconut shrimp, yes, steak and shrimp.
I stopped to check on the observing couple and the guy said, “I wondered how you were going to handle that. They seem a little out of it.” Dude, are you writing a book or making a documentary? Stop watching me!
I took the old couple’s food to them and gave them about 10 minutes before I went back to check on them. “What are these things?” the old lady asked, pointing to the shrimp.
“They are skewered coconut shrimp. Coconut shrimp. Shrimp.”
“Oh! I wish you had told me they were shrimp. I’m allergic to shrimp.” Great. I haven’t had anyone try to die in my section this summer. Yet.
The old guy snatched the last uneaten shrimp off her plate while I stared at her, waiting for her throat to close up.
“They didn’t taste like shrimp so I’ll probably be okay,” she told me. Uh yeah, cuz allergies are all about the taste.
I quickly gave them their check and watched them until they left just in case I had to call 911.
When I went back to the observing couple, the guy told me I handled the old couple very well and congratulated me on not once losing my patience with them.
I’ve never had someone obviously watching me while I did my job. I want to know what his deal was.