I’ve been reading the Diary of the Food Whore and Waiter Rant for months, chuckling over their customers from the netherreaches and thinking that The Crazies must be in the big cities. Then again, maybe not. We had a bridal shower this afternoon, and while there wasn’t very much unusual about it, the little oddities added up to make it a very strange experience.
It was supposed to start at 1:00, so it wasn’t strange that there were people there when I arrived at 12:30. What was strange was that when I came through the back door, a man was coming in the front door. A man? At a bridal shower? He turned out to be the bride’s dad, and he was coming to blow up the balloons. Apparently it takes the better part of half an hour to fill 30 or so helium balloons that have little messages or something inside. We’ve never had balloons for a shower before, but we turned off the nearest ceiling fans and everything was right with the world.
While the balloons were being stuffed and filled, one of the guests came to the counter to ask if our iced almond tea was included in the drink list. The assistant manager told her that only tea, coffee and water were included in the price. She seemed disappointed and told us how much she loved the almond tea, but thankfully she didn’t press the issue.
We served lunch–soup and salad, very low maintenance–at 1:30, in spite of the fact that four guests had not shown up yet. Again, it’s not unusual for someone not to show up. These four did, however; a pair and two singles, the last at 2:30. Who shows up an hour and a half late to a shower? Apparently, the daughter of a control freak who didn’t really want to be there in the first place. Her food came back untouched.
Did I mention the kids? There were at least three. I was trying to stay out of the room, so I didn’t count. I know there was a toddler because he kept heading for the door. There was also a 7-year-old girl with pink ribbons braided in her hair and plastic high-heels; she insisted on clomping back and forth, chasing the toddler and scolding him loudly for not staying with her. She did not like the soup and salad, so she did not eat, which gave her time to set fire to the center piece on the table. Luckily a staff member was close by, put it out, and brought it to the kitchen to be drenched and disposed of.
After they ate, the picture taking commenced. I’m guessing that’s what they were doing because while I was washing their dishes a pair of 20-somethings came to the counter and asked the assistant manager if we had any AA batteries. We made a show of looking; if we’d had any we would have denied it. For pity’s sake, people, there are two stores within a mile that are open if you’re silly enough to forget spare batteries.
Then there was the other fire. I didn’t see it myself, but those who did said that a lady was taking pictures and backed up into a table accidently. The votive must have been closer to the edge than she’d realized because the back of her dress caught fire, and when she turned, she also got a ribbon on one of the presents. It was caught quickly, of course, and no one was hurt. It’s a first for the restaurant, though, that’s for sure.
To top it all off, they had to pop all the balloons they’d filled earlier to remove the extra contents, and they waited until it was right at naptime for the toddler. The crying was an interesting accompanyment to the exploding balloons.
Finally, about 3:00, the little girl got bored past the point of toleration.* She brought two glasses to the counter and announced that there were a thousand glasses left and people were starting to leave. We were happy about that; we were ready to get the rest of the dishes so we could get out of dodge. Unfortunately, her assessment wasn’t quite accurate. The ladies were happily milling around, visiting, and I was able to clear out a half dozen glasses before I retreated to the safety of the kitchen. It was another twenty minutes or so before they had cleared out sufficiently to see which glasses were abandoned and which still had owners.
Needless to say, the door wasn’t fully shut behind the last guest before the assistant manager was reaching for the key to lock the doors. And, oh happy day, we have another party on Tuesday. I need to see what wine I have left in the fridge.
*I developed a theory about kids today. We don’t teach them to be bored anymore. We bombard them with stimuli while they are still in utero, all in the name of making them smarter. OK, maybe they’re smarter, but that means they get into trouble younger. Smarter isn’t necessarily better. There is a reason kids didn’t used to start school until they were 6 or 7. They were home with Mom, beating pots with wooden spoons and learning their manners.