Monday, July 30, 2007

The Deep Questions

I'm traveling again – same place – and tonight I went to a TGI Friday's, which stands for "Thank God It's Friday."

It's Monday.

The waitress left me alone for a few minutes and then came up and dropped the big one. "Do you know what you want yet?"

Wait staff always ask the existential questions. I don't know if they teach them this in wait school – I don't even know if there is such a thing as wait school – but they really know how to get under the skin and twist the knife. I thought I knew what I want, but when asked flat out like that, I found I didn't. It seems I've really been choosing what appears to be available to me from a limited palette of opportunities rather than actually determining my true will and going flat out for that. I've no real idea how I ended up where I am today, and although it's not a bad place, it's not really a place I "wanted" by any stretch of the imagination. It's just where I meandered over the course of several seasons. You don't really expect to be faced with quite such a personal revelation at a place that serves deep fried macaroni and cheese. Then again, where would the right place be?

I had to give her an answer though, so I plumped for loaded potato skins and Oriental Chicken Balsamic Lime Vinaigrette Garden Greens salad. Garden greens? Never mind.

Many times waitresses have asked me another puzzler. "Can I get you anything else?" Well, can they? I don't know. Are they asking, or are they offering? Can they show me that I'm everywhere and get me home for tea?

Probably the worst one they hit me with, shortly after I came over here, was the relatively common, "How is everything?"

That left me open mouthed the first time I heard it. At the time I was still struggling with the simpler questions, like "Why is everything?" I'd been asking myself that since I was a little kid. I've got that one nailed, now[1], but whenever they ask me how everything is, I feel I'm being asked to take the advanced exam even though I've only completed the beginner class. Sometimes I can grope for an answer but it still has a lot of handwaving in it. The waiters just leave, shaking their heads. Eventually I'll come through with it, assuming I don't eat too much deep fried string cheese.

[1] "Because I said so."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your waitron clearly missed the day in waitron school where they teach them not to ask "How is everything"? until the instant you bite off fist-sized chunk of your burger.



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