I am waiting on a table of Europeans, Germans to be exact, and they’re busy trashing the good old US of A.
When you wait tables you might as well be wearing an invisibility cloak because customers talk like you’re not even there. These guys didn’t care I’m standing right next to them. What’s worse, they’re not trashing our political figures, who I think are fair game; they are dissing the American people. The more they talk the angrier I get.
“They are uneducated.”
“Addicted to TV.” (Well he has a point there)
My blood is boiling. I wonder how this scene would play out if the situation was reversed. Imagine me telling a waiter in the Potzdammer Platz that Germans are nice people but don’t piss them off – they can’t stop once they get going. That would go over like the Hindenburg.
So I smile and try to be professional. You have to deal with all kinds in this business. I start thinking of a beautiful German girl I spent a July Fourth weekend with, my German friend at the cigar shop, Porsche 911’s, Wagner, and Dab Ale in order to remind myself these jerks were not representative of all the Deutsch.
Then they just had to fuck with me.
Uber patron asks me if I’ve ever traveled abroad. I suspect he is wearing lederhosen under his pants.
“No sir I have only been to Canada.” (Sad but true)
The man throws up his hands and laughs. He speaks in rapid fire German to the others. They laugh. I don’t understand the words but I can gauge the meaning.
Sometimes when you wait tables people can make you feel very small. When that happens I get angry. I lose my professional reserve.
“Well my uncles went to Germany once.” I say.
“Oh yes? Where did they go? he says still laughing.
“They took the grand tour of the country in 1944 and 1945.”
The laughing stopped. I played the ultimate American redneck card. We might be illiterate, lazy, and uneducated – but we put your country to the fucking torch and don’t you ever fucking forget it.
I shock myself. I’ve crossed the line. Unemployment is imminent. I brace myself for the blitzkrieg
Then they shock me.
“We are a little drunk. We are guests in your country. I apologize.” Uber patron says.
“No sir I am sorry I was way out of line.”
“Don’t worry about it.” he reassures me.
They finish dinner, tip well, and tell the owner I am a good waiter on the way out. My faith in humanity, for today at least, is restored.
Shaken up I tell Rizzo, the head waiter, about the whole incident.
His face breaking out into a broad smile he walks away humming “Deutschland über Alles”
I love Germans now more than ever.
Auf Wiedersehen baby!