Old people: you either love ’em, hate ’em or are one. There have been other blog posts about old people that painted them in a less than savory manner. Yes, old people may have a distinct smell to them but it’s not their fault. (Honestly, I don’t know why we smell this way. I don’t even own moth balls, but I smell like I slept in a drawer full of them.) Old people may move too slowly when you are stuck behind one on a busy sidewalk on your way to work. You may resent feeling obligated to giving up your seat to one on the subway when you see a 103 year old lady who is hunched over and grasping at anything to stay upright. (Hint: sunglasses and an iPod gives the illusion that you just didn’t notice her.) Old people are the fabric of our lives and don’t let that pushy bitch Cotton tell you anything else.
The restaurant opened at 5:00 yesterday and at 5:10, two senior citizens came in for the early-bird special even though we don’t have an early-bird special. They looked like they had been married for about 150 years, give or take a decade. I imagine that their honeymoon was bathed in candle light since Thomas Edison was still a baby then and had not yet invented the light bulb. I told them they could sit anywhere they wanted seeing that we had just opened and every table was available. They chose a table on the patio that was as far away from the entrance as possible so they started walking to it as I grabbed a couple of menus and began following them. Thirty minutes later they got to table 28. The man walked way ahead of his wife who was moving slower than a drunk snail on quaaludes with jet lag after just waking up from a ten hour nap. “How rude,” I thought. “He can’t even wait for his wife?” But after he got to the table he came back to help her and I realized he was just inspecting the floor to make sure there was nothing that was going to trip her and send her out for an emergency hip replacement. There is one step down to get to the patio and he took her elbow and gently escorted her down it and then he pulled her seat out for her and helped her sit down. “I am seeing some real gentlemanly behavior all up in here,” thought I.
When it was time to take the order, he did all the talking because he was the man and that’s how things worked. They had their calamari and one glass of wine that they shared and then they enjoyed their two entrees. When it came time to offer dessert, I spoke to the husband because I could see that he was the one who wore the pants and that’s the way she liked it. After the specials were told, she told him and then he told me that she didn’t want any. He ordered a piece of chocolate cake. “Alright, one piece of chocolate cake coming right up but I’m going to bring you two forks because I know you’re gonna want some,” I said as I pointed to the woman. She laughed and shook her head. The dessert made it to the table and by the time I got over to check on them, the woman was eating a bite of the cake. Two minutes later when I went to clear the plate, it had moved directly in front of the woman who was scraping every last little crumb of chocolately goodness onto her fork. I crossed my arms and looked at her. “Uh huh, so look who the plate ends up in front of; the person who didn’t want any dessert. It was good, wasn’t it?” Her eyes lit up and she smiled the sweetest smile. She pushed the empty plate towards the center of the table and said, “I couldn’t resist. Thank you for bringing the extra fork.” I removed the plate and said. “It was my pleasure.” And you know what? It really was my pleasure. I think they had a wonderful dining experience and I made them laugh. Those two seniors were my first table of the day, but by far the friendliest one of the week.
He helped his wife up from the table and they shuffled their way out of the restaurant, arms interlocked with one another. They left me a 15% tip which was perfectly wonderful with me. The love they showed for each other put me in such a good mood that the percentage didn’t really matter. Sometimes even I, the Bitchy Waiter, can forgo the tip if I get something else out of serving someone. From them, I got that love lasts and relationships can work. They gave me hope that when I am an old lady (in about five years) I will still be going out to dinner with my husband and having a good time. I can’t, however, imagine sharing one glass of wine. That’ll never happen. Maybe share a bottle of wine, but one glass? That’s crazy talk. These old people were sweet, but maybe a little bit senile to think that was okay to do.