Jim Siergey: The Wait

September 22nd, 2019

Getting seated at the restaurant was difficult.

We stood behind the “Please Wait to be Seated” sign as we watched a crowd of people try to sort something out. We looked and listened as we loitered and learned that the cause of the ado was because of someone trying to “pay it forward”.

An elderly gentleman in suspenders holding onto one of those strap-on canes said “I don’t understand what is happening.” His puzzled wife hovered next to him gently touching his arm. A younger man tried to explain. “My family and I are here to have a nice time. We just wanted to pay for your dinner.”

Somehow this caused a problem with the person running the register who asked for assistance and turned what had been intended as a covert act of kindness into a bit of a brouhaha.

A small town snafu.

A small town in northeast Indiana is where we were. We had to temper our big city impatience and go with the flow which seemed to be operating as a trickle.

We were eventually recognized and led to a table in the corner and provided with menus.

There we sat for what some might call an eternity but I’ll just call a long time.

“You’d think someone would at least say hello and give us glasses of water.” my wife thirstily opined.

(Spoiler Alert: It took over an hour to get those glasses of water.)

Finally a plump young lady clad in waitress garb came over.

“I’m sorry.” she squeaked, “No one told me you were here.”

You’ll notice I wrote that she ‘squeaked’. She did indeed. Her voice was so high-pitched, tiny and squeaky that she sounded like Betty Boop on helium. Even more disconcerting was that she was not a tiny woman. She was, in fact, rather zaftig.

The excuse, however, was thin. There were only about four tables worth of diners in the spacious room. Not wishing to be Ugly Out-of-Town Americans, we kept our thoughts to ourselves.

First we each asked for a glass of water. In a pipsqueaky voice she explained that she would have brought us some but could only find one clean glass. So we ordered some wine.


A different kind of wait…


In her unnerving kewpie doll voice she reminded us that purchasing a bottle would be more dollar smart than ordering wine by the glass. The menu stated that there were some wine choices from a nearby vineyard. Always willing to partake of the local wineries we ordered a bottle.

Time passed. We and the wine aged.

By and by, she appeared with two bottles in hand from which we could choose. Neither was from the local vineyard. We opted for an Italian merlot. She decanted and, after reminding her of our request for water, we imbibed of the grape.

As we waited for our food order, which were only appetizers, we saw another couple arise from their seats and abruptly leave. A shake of a lamb’s tail later, the light in the larynx lass appeared with a tray of food for that very table. She watched forlornly as the would-be diners, whose time limit for waiting had expired, disappeared out the door.

We wondered whether we should volunteer to consume their order since it was there for the taking but chose not to do so. That may have been a mistake.

With a now half empty bottle of wine on our table, I attracted the attention of the cashier. “Is there some way we could get glasses of water?” I politely asked. She looked startled and wandered off.

More time passed and we continued to sit under what seemed like one of Harry Potter’s cloaks of invisibility.  It was mostly the vino that kept us there.

Imaginary trumpets blared and fireworks were set off as the teensy toned waitress appeared with our food orders. We thanked her and again asked about the agua. After we had masticated and swallowed some of our food, two glasses of H2O were delivered, as I earlier noted, a full hour after we were initially seated.

We slaked.

We were now the only people, other than the cashier, in the area. We ate our fill, grabbed the not yet emptied bottle and took our bill, which the waitress did not forget to bring to our table, up to the cashier.

To my chagrin she asked, “How was everything?”

Leaving toothmarks in my tongue, I shrugged and mumbled, “Ohhh, okay.”

I’m a fucking saint…or something.


Editor’s note: Jim’s last post for The Third City was Hair Today


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