the shake

The old waitress at the older diner kept promising us our strawberry shake. She’d glance at our table as she flew by, each time remembering what she’d forgotten. “I’ll get to it, I promise!” I was not in any real hurry, as I considered it dessert. I ate my food and watched my toddler work on her pancakes. You could get the pancakes in animal shapes, and part of the ordering process was a list of options. “Pig!” said my kid without any hesitation. It delighted our waitress that our young child had such strong opinions. K. has since ordered her entire own meal in a restaurant, based on a line drawing in the menu and two questions of options. I’m disgustingly proud.

The porcine pancake had me distracted and so it took me a moment to realize there was suddenly a cop standing next to me. I thought he was in line to get coffee, but I noticed his partner at the far door. They’re working, I thought, and I watched our waitress grab her jacket and head out the back door with the officers. I figured there was a discussion going on, but a few minutes later the police car drove by with our waitress in the back seat, a look of despair on her face. I was facing away from the window, but L. saw it. “I’m not sure we’re getting that shake,” she said.

The busboy asked if we needed anything, and the cook mocked him – “so you’re waiting tables now?” – and then the morning waitress burst in. She’s got a lot of energy; I’m not sure she can do anything other than burst in. “And I thought I was done for the day! That’ll teach me to answer the phone!”

She took off her coat and made our shake and talked to our child, who is more effective than a puppy for getting us attention. “And what shape pancake did we get? A pig?” The waitress burst into laughter. I’m not sure she can do anything other than burst into laughter. “I can’t believe I just said pig!”

I was unsure how much to tip when our waitress is arrested on a warrant after bringing pigcakes but before the strawberry shake, especially after overhearing a discussion about the amount of bail required. Any tip I would leave would be a drop in the bucket. And it did seem that laws were broken. Would this mean more than 15%, or less? I just didn’t learn the right things when I was in school.


This was published on 13 Jan 2006.
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