Every noble work is at first impossible. –Thomas Carlyle
I am almost always crabby after work. It doesn’t matter if I love my job, hate my job, or am apathetic about all of it; whether the trip home was a fifteen-minute el ride or a fifteen minute walk on a beautiful evening; whether I’m coming home to a spotless apartment or one in which fruit flies are sort of dreamily occupying the space above the garbage can. I always need to take ten (okay, forty) minutes to unwind, be silent, kick off shoes, flounce around, eat something, before I can return to a halfway-human state.
So I should’ve known that heading out for margaritas last night after work was a bad idea. P & I decided to venture downtown after I’d done the “I don’t care where we go!” part of of the dinner-negotiation ceremony. We went to a Mexican restaurant that’s always brimming with undergraduates who wear their hats backwards and who pack the restaurant’s patio.
We were seated at a four-top by a pleasant host, and then ignored for ten minutes. After attempting to catch the eye of several servers, I went back up to the host and (in Miss Manners-approved fashion) told him that we hadn’t spoken to a server yet. After I told him where we were sitting, and then pointed to where we were sitting, and then said see, we’re sitting right there behind a group of teenage boys wearing their hats backwards, he apologized and said we’d be taken care of.
Our server, a guy who was probably 19, appeared. I asked him for an alcohol menu, as we hadn’t gotten one. He helpfully pointed to the two most expensive drinks on the menu to tell us that they were the best. I ordered an amaretto-flavored margarita, which, I can tell you from previous experience, looks like a Sno-Cone with a sugar-y syrup around it. Ten minutes later, he re-appeared with P’s drink and mine.
My drink was a light green. It looked like a standard margarita. I interrupted my crabbing at P to take a sip. Juuust a regular margarita.
P: Do you want to trade? I got watermelon.
Me: No. I want the drink I ordered. This is a thing now.
P: [Crestfallen] It’s a… a thing?
I attempted to catch the eye of our server three times (twice while he was marching past us in a singing birthday procession of servers) but couldn’t snare him until he came over to take our order. I told him that he’d given me a regular margarita instead of the amaretto flavor I had ordered.
He whisked it away, only to return two minutes later. He set the same glass down on the table.
Server: This is an amaretto-flavored margarita.
Me: [Taken aback] No…. it’s not.
Server: No. I just checked with the bartender. That’s the amaretto margarita.
Me: [Staring at him] No. It’s not.
Server: So I don’t really know what to do…
Me: [This moment P later described as “I knew it was bad when you let out your ‘pissed Well’] Well…. [looks at server. Looks at P, to see if P will beat up server to stand up for my honor. P is not pushing up his shirt-sleeves.]
Server: Yeah, so… I mean, that is what you ordered…
My ears: [turning red]
Me: [in pinched manner, due to involuntary jaw-clenching] It’s fine.
Server: Is it fine?
Me: [pointing at the well-traveled glass] Fine. Yes. I’ll just drink this. Thanks.
Me: No, no, it’s fine. Right. Thanks.
The server returned ten minutes later to tell me that he “felt bad,” and that I could order whatever I wanted, so we did another round of “Is it fine?” “It’s fine.”
P tipped the server over 20% — I think there was empathy there.
I’m trying to decide if trumps the time that P & I had a server who, after we asked her for the bill, wandered by our table three more times (without the bill) to ask us if there was anything we wanted, to which we kept replying, “Yes. The bill.”
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