Thursday, February 20, 2014

swanky cafe

Lunch at a locally famous place in an expensive tourist town. Pale birch floors, padded benches and tiny tables, packed closely together. Open kitchen, heavy leather menus and drinks lists. People beside me discussed the NYC Guggenheim Museum briefly, and the menu at length.

Waitress swanned over, "I'll be your server. The special is salmon on a bed of kale. My name is Zeus." She had a nose ring, thick wavy blond hair, and a petite physique.

Maybe she said, "Suze." Sounded like "Zeus." Did her parents name her that, or did she select it? Is it her all the time name, or just at work?

I was there as a treat to myself. I was supposed to be having lunch with friends, but they couldn't make it and I was on my own, missing them. Was cheering myself up with an adventure and a delicious lunch.

The salmon came and there were suspicious stripy rectangles. I pushed the plate forward and waited for Zeus to return. She noticed right away, despite waiting on several other tables, and came over.

"Everything to your satisfaction?" she inquired.

"Is this bacon?" I asked.

"No. Pancetta. Italian ham," she pronounced.

"Oh, I'm so sorry. I'm sure you told me, and it just didn't register. So sorry, I don't eat ham, I'm a fussy eater. I eat seafood, but not ham," I went on far too long, repeating myself, apologetic, distressed. "I'm so embarrassed," I said, and I was.

She changed, dropped the pretensions, got real and real nice. She took away the offending hog flesh, said she wanted me to be happy, and soon brought a new plate. Couldn't I just have swept it aside, I wondered. What's the harm? Face it, there could be chicken stock in there, you'd never know. Would that be OK? Not if I know, is the answer.

The meal was great, Zeus was great. I left her an enormous (50%) tip.