It’s a rainy Saturday night and the Bistro’s jammin’
We don’t have a free table until 9:30. But that doesn’t stop prospective customers angling for a seat. Angelina, out Sicilian spitfire hostess, keeps the yuppies hordes at bay with a firm hand, a lovely smile, and a bright sense of humor. Some customers walk away disappointed, some are angry, but most understand. Let’s face it – if you walk into a popular restaurant on a Saturday night without a reservation and expect to be seated – you’re smoking crack.
As I’m running down the aisle Angelina waves me over.
“I’ve got a big problem,” she says.
“What is it?” I reply.
“I have a lady who claims I won’t seat her because she’s fat.”
“You heard me.”
“Details,” I say impatiently, “I need details.”
“She walks in off the street, no reservation, and asks for a table for one….”
“When do you have a table available?” I interrupt.
I look at my watch. It’s 9:00.
“Did you tell her something’d be available soon?” I ask.
“She said she wanted to sit now.”
“She’s being unreasonable you know,” I say.
“Duh, yeah, But then she said I wouldn’t give her a table because she’s fat.”
“Oh brother,” I sigh.
“What’s more,” Angelina says, “She said I was discriminating against her ‘cause she’s a woman dining alone and over fifty.”
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” I say, “Ageisim, Sexism, Sizeism, and Singleisim in one package?”
“Let me talk to her,” I say.
I walk over to the hostess stand where an angry plus size woman is waiting.
“Madam, how may I help you?” I ask soothingly.
“I want a table now,” she says.
“As the hostess explained, I’ve got tables available in half an hour. May I put you down for a reservation?”
‘Unacceptable,” the woman huffs.
“Madam,” I reply, “If I had a table now it’d be yours. Sadly, I can only seat reservations at this time.”
The woman’s lip quivers. “You’re discriminating against me because I’m fat,” she says.
“Madam, I assure you that’s not the case…”
“And because I’m single and over fifty,” she continues.
“Madam, please let me…..”
“And a woman.”
I can tell this woman’s in nine kinds of pain. No one in their right mind would ever say the things she’s saying. I have a sudden vision of a chubby little girl, clutching a doll, standing in the window waiting for a father who’d never return.
“Madam,” I say deliberately, “I assure you we do not discriminate against anyone for any reason.”
“If you don’t give me a table I’m going to tell all my friends not to eat here,” the woman says.
The way this woman’s ranting I doubt she has many friends. If she’s does they’re probably more dysfunctional that she.
“And they’ll tell all their friends,” the woman threatens.
I have an uncharitable vision of a bunch of psychotic ladies wearing moo moos. I dismiss it from my mind.
“Madam, I’m sorry. There’s nothing personal about this,” I say, “I cannot give away a table that’s reserved in advance.”
“If I was a movie star you’d let me in,” the woman says.
“Madam,” I reply, “Even Brad Pitt would have to wait for a table.”
And he’d have made a reservation.
“Nonsense,” the woman says.
I throw up my hands. There’s no use arguing. Matter cannot occupy the same space at the same time.
“Then I’m afraid I can’t help you madam,” I say.
The woman storms out into the rain. I watch her walk down the street, shivering in the cold.
Fluvio arrives wondering what the ruckus was about. I tell him.
“Wow,” he says, “Are you sure you didn’t have a table?”
“Man, if we did I would have given it to her just to shut her up,” I reply.
“People like that can cause trouble,” Fluvio warns.
“Tell me about it.”
“Do you know her name?” Fluvio asks.
“I think her name was Mrs. Creosote.”
“Fluvio, have you ever heard of Monty Python?” I ask.
“No,” Fluvio says, “What’s that?’
We get back to work. I make lots of money. Mrs. Creosote becomes an unpleasant memory.
Outside the rain continues to fall. Cars slice through the shimmering pavement.
And I can almost hear the rumblings of Karma’s distant thunder.
Again, you could have offered her a “Wafer Thin Mint”, but I understand your pain. It sucks
The amazing thing, Waiter, is that you found empathy and compassion for a woman who had little or none and brandished her victimhood like a club. God has given you remarkable graces.
I doubt even his god has the power to grant him that kind of patience. Must be something more.