Wednesday, November 19, 2008


"Blaine, you need to go talk to these people. They're CRAZY!" said the waitress. "They're upset because the hostess called them 'you guys', and one of the ladies asked her 'Do I look like I have a penis?' and I tried to tell them that she didn't mean anything by it and the man waved his finger in my face and started yelling at me! They are CRAZY!"

Thus began one of the most embarrassing faux pas in my career. I approached the table and found a very old but animated silver haired man, his equally aged wife dressed in a dashiki, and their daughter, granddaughter and infant grandson. The old man did all of the talking, shushing the females when they tried to interject various facts and opinions. He invited me to sit down, which, of course, I did.

I politely asked him to tell me what was going on. "She mistakenly referred to us as 'you guys'. Now, when men grow breasts and are able to birth children, that's the day I leave this country. Just like I would never say to her 'Hey, man, can you come over here?', because she is a woman, not a man. What are they teaching our children when a woman has a sex change operation, becomes pregnant, and then goes on Oprah as a man, showing off his pregnant belly?" It was a bit of a non-sequitur if you ask me, but I went along with it for fear of further upsetting this grumpy old fellow.

I nodded politely and agreed with everything he said. I offered him my apology, but he said I had no reason to apologize for my staff's stupidity. I assured him that I would talk to my staff about being more professional when they address our guests, and set off to the hostess stand to do just that. The hostess was understanding and apologetic, adding that it was a common term used to address a group, and one that I was probably guilty of using myself. I returned to the table to let him know the situation had been addressed.

"The hostess wasn't the problem. She apologized for her actions. It's that waitress who smiled when I told her that we were not all 'guys'. Now, I can wipe that smile off of her face, but I'm gonna let you handle it, instead." I truly believed that he could indeed wipe that smile off of her face, probably with his belt, or perhaps with more drastic measures like Samuel L. Jackson in "Black Snake Moan".

Off I go to address the waitress, with similar results as the hostess. Now I've had two conversations about being professional, and the table in question has had time to eat their meal. It was time for me to swing back by the table and offer dessert on the house like some kind of hero. And that's when it happened.

"How was your dinner?" I asked. "Would you guys like some dessert on us?" I blurted out. I could feel the blood gather in my cheeks. The man peered over his glasses at me, silently. His gaze said much more than words could have. "I'm so sorry. I'm just going to leave the table before I get into any more trouble, " I managed to mumble. I ran into the kitchen, blushing with embarrassment to tell the hostess and the waitress of my blunder. Once I gathered my composure, I returned to the table again, this time with my tail between my legs.

"I just wanted to tell you that I am truly sorry and completely embarrassed by my slip of the tongue. I would like to buy your dinner tonight."

"Thank you son, but that's not necessary." The old man gently arose and shook my hand. "It takes a man to come back here and admit he was wrong. We will pay our way tonight, and we will come back. Next time you see me, if you still want to, I'll let you buy my dinner then. In the meantime, you've got some work to do." He added, "We'll see how you do next time." That last statement sounded more like a threat than a promise, but at last they were gone, and thankfully so.

As I wiped the sweat from my brow, there were a few things this encounter assured me of:
1. They will be back.
2. They will be referred to as "guys".
3. I will not have such an easy time next time. And...
4. Old people are crazy.


mick said...

as much as my sister laughs about my grammer I have found that folks works well plus gives it a nice southern ring

Althalus said...

Fuck them. When they come back tell that guy to get over himself, and welcome to the 21st.