I’ll Be Taking Care Of You Tonight

It used to be that when a waitress greeted us with “Hi, my name is Ashley and I’ll be taking care of you tonight.”  I would bristle. Damn! She can tell that I have iron-poor blood and that I am kind of depressed!

Recently though, I have learned to embrace Ashley’s offer, because on second thought, it would be nice to be taken care of for a change. If Ashley has my back, then why not put my feet up and kick back into a pint or two?

With Ashley by my side, I could get hammered, and then summon her after I realize, too late, that I had better eat something STAT. As promised, Ashley would  materialize out of nowhere and efficiently take my order for Eggplant Rollatini even though I might actually be slurring my words and asking her for “‘plant rollerthingy.” She would laugh at my silly jokes, and then, after holding my hair back in the ladies room, discreetly comp me some club soda and Tylenol.

I haven’t asked My Royal Consort what he envisions when Ashley announces that she will be taking care of him, but after consulting  with some of my  guy friends about what their expectations are when a hot young waitress announces that she will be taking care of them, all I can say is that I am still reeling from their revelations.

Before the Ashleys were forced to become caretakers and sex workers, they were straw bosses and preschool teachers as evidenced by “Are you still workin’ on that?”,  a ques­tion frequently posed by a perky Ashley when most of the table has fin­ished  eat­ing, but one diner’s sta­tus is still a lit­tle ambigu­ous.

The question, delivered in a tone of voice and a pitch normally reserved for toddlers and the developmentally disabled, is rendered even more Romper Room by substituting the pronoun “you” with “we,”  to form the linguistic abomination  “Are we going to be hav­ing dessert tonight?”

That is when we know that the restau­rant and I will soon be part­ing ways.

This trend is proving problematic for our family. My Royal Consort and the kids brace themselves as the waiter or waitress greets us, and only relax after that first hurdle is cleared without incident. By the time she returns with our drinks, the tension has built up again, and becomes overwhelming as we get close to the end of our meal. “Will she ask that terrible question that makes mom get that dopey smirk and faraway look in her eyes?” they wonder. “Will we have to stop eating here, too? Please, pleases, please Ashley, just this once, don’t ask if we are ‘still workin!'”

Recently, I was asked if I was “still chewin'”  to which I replied, “Yes, and if you say that ever again, I will soon be a-spewin’, you ignorant, obsequious moron!”

I didn’t actually say that to the nice waiter. That would have been rude. Instead, I just got that dazed, disbelieving look on my face, put my fork down and quietly sobbed into my napkin. How can I help these people, I wondered.

I feel it is my duty to gently point out to the fresh faced young waiters and waitresses  that they are very misguided when they speak to their customers as if they child actors on Noodle & Doodle.

Just as it is momentarily mortifying to tell people when they have spinach in their teeth, they are grateful that someone cares enough to tell them. Likewise, if a friendly person like me gently pointed out to Ashley that most diners are both potty trained and handy with a knife and fork, she would only feel bad for a moment or two.

The question remains—how to deliver the message?

Countless times, over the course of a meal, I have resolved to set Ashley/Kelsey/Haley straight, but then I end up slinking away without saying anything. My grandmother always counseled “there is more room on the outside than on the inside.” When I finally run out of room, horrible things are going to shoot out of me in a volcanic spray of hyperbolic sarcasm. It’s just a matter of time.

So far, the only answer that consistently meets my criteria for efficiency, tact and kindness is a printed card that could be left discreetly with the tip. The message, beautifully typeset and wreathed by delicate flowers would read as follows:

“May you take kindly advice from a well meaning stranger and consign the words ‘Are you still workin’ on that?’ to the dustbin of recent, misguided history. May you abandon the practice of offering hand jobs to those who would sup at your table, and may you diligently strive to address all but the littlest ones as adults.”

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5 thoughts on “I’ll Be Taking Care Of You Tonight”

  1. Seriously? “Are you still chewin?” LOL

    And I am sooooooooo going to steal your printed card, then hide out around a corner to watch local Ashley/Kelsey/Haley’s or Ben’s try to figure out what the hell it says!

    You crack me up.

  2. Love this. I never realized that there is definitely a script that goes with every restaurant I go to. I wonder if the waiters/waitresses are told to say this. I know at Starbucks, we were trained to say certain phrases (“What can we get started for you?”).

  3. I think I would have to say to the waiter/waitress who asked me if WE would be having dessert, that WE would if we would also be splitting the cost of the meal. Funny post!

  4. I love when the college-age kids say, “Hey, Honey can I get you anything else?” or “Hey,Hon is there anything else you need?” One day, I am going to tell her to pull up a chair and let me tell her what I need from help with the laundry to a personal assistant to a diet that will let me lose five pounds without trying… she would earn that tip! Great post!

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