Secret Drinker at Table 16

To drink, or not to drink? That is the question.

To drink, or not to drink? That is the question.

I’m not one to judge (yes I am) and I certainly don’t disapprove of anyone choosing to drink or to not drink when they are at a restaurant. As a server, it is my job to bring guests what they ask for. Even if a pregnant woman, who is so far along that her baby’s hand is hanging out of her vagina and grasping at french fries, asks me for a shot of Jägermeister, it is my job to get that drink for her and to not pass judgement. As long as she’s the legal drinking age, she can do whatever she wants. I may feel odd about it or it may feel wrong, but people can make their own decisions about how they drink. Now if her baby were to ask me for a shot of Jägermeister, I would definitely card it. Of course, all I would be able see is the hand poking out of the vagina and I really need to see a face before I can make a call on age. My guess is that the baby isn’t old enough to drink, but I don’t like to make assumptions. I have always looked young for my age, so maybe this lady is a little past her due date and she is carrying around a 21 year old man in her uterus. Of course, that would mean that she is 1092 weeks late and it seems unlikely, but you never know with science these days. Anyway, I don’t like to pass judgment on how people choose to imbibe.

Last week, a woman in my section asked for a Sprite. I diligently went to go get a Sierra Mist and placed it before her. She drank it quickly as I was taking the order for her table. She was there with what appeared to be various family members. I asked her if she wanted another “Sprite” and she said she was fine. After I left the table and went to ring in their order, she followed me up to the bar.

“Hey, sweetie, can I get a vodka/tonic?” she asked.

“Sure,” I replied. “I’ll be right out with it.”

“No. I mean, can I have one now?”

I called out the drink to the bartender who made it right away and I handed it to the woman who drank it in front of me as I continued to ring in their food.

“You can bring me another one when you get a chance, but leave off the lime so you don’t blow my cover. Thanks, sweetie.  And make sure I get the check.”

She went back to her table as I totally did not judge her. And then I started to feel weird about the whole thing. Am I an accomplice to this woman’s secret drinking? I think I am. Should I place a lime on her next vodka/tonic to leave a simple clue to her family who may need to know that she is drinking? What if this woman is on Sudafed and is not supposed to have alcohol? Or what if she is planning to operate heavy machinery? What if her family has just staged an intervention and I am the one who is fucking things up? As I let all of these question wash over me like a sea of Jack Daniels and ginger ale, I rang in her next drink and watched the bartender make it.

As the Absolut went into the glass, making the ice cubes pop and crack, I wondered if this woman was on a quest for sobriety and needed help. As the tonic flowed from the soda gun, I questioned whether or not I should give this lady what she is so desperately wanting, yet hiding from those who love her most. As the bartender placed a lime wheel onto the edge of the glass, I thought about this woman’s family and how much they must love her. As I reached over to remove the lime, the one clue that would alert anyone at her table that she may be doing something she shouldn’t, I thought, “Who the fuck cares? Not my problem.”

I carried the drink over to the table.

“And one delicious and refreshing Sprite for you, ma’am.” She looked at me and I gave her a very subtle wink which she returned with a  confused look, like she thought I was flirting with her or something. “I just love Sprite, don’t you? Or 7-Up. Or Sierra Mist. They’re all great, aren’t they?”

“Yeah, thanks,” she said.

I walked away from the woman knowing that she was old enough to make her own decisions. It’s not like she had a baby’s hand hanging out of her vagina asking for a shot of Jägermeister or anything.

Bottoms up, lady, bottoms up.

12 thoughts on “Secret Drinker at Table 16

  1. lauren

    Maybe she was with a family member who was fresh on the wagon. I’ve been I the situation where I had a really bad day, or was really stressed out and couldn’t drink with current company present. As servers we don’t judge….but really we just pretend not to 😉

  2. BobbyAnn

    I have had 4 different obstetricians [go ahead judge, I have 6 kids] and thoughts on drinking ranged from “It’s fine in the 2nd and third trimester – an occasional glass of wine” “It’s fine only in the 3 rd trimester – an occasional glass of wine” and “NO. NO ALCOHOL FOR YOU! EVER!!” I can remember drinking Champagne on three different occasions [with three different kids] – and look! I have college graduates and homeowners among my offspring. Meaning – no harm, no foul – they’re fiiiine – and not an alcoholic in the crew. 🙂
    Although I did have a strong reaction from coworkers at a Christmas party where I was 39 weeks pregnant and a fellow coworker poured me a cup of Champagne – the others freaked. She snapped at them and said “My gawd, the woman is getting ready to drop the kid, shut up.”
    I am not a doctor nor do I play one on the interwebs – this is just my experience[s] – but I never judge a woman who wanted to have a drink, while pregnant, with dinner or what not. Not my place and as you said, not illegal, as long as she was of age.
    And I agree with your and Lauren’s assessment of the second situation – it may well have been a friend/family member at the table who is in AA or on the wagon and out of respect she didn’t want them to see her drink. My husband and I have done the same. We thought it would be non supportive, but turns out he could’ve cared less.
    Who knows – alcohol is a nice bill pad – and drinkers, especially those that smoke, are always the best tippers. Unless they get sh*tty drunk, then all bets are off.

    1. ja

      I had so much fun misinterpreting your first line (about “having” 4 different obstetricians), I had to work really hard to comprehend the rest.

  3. Stacy Bayt

    Unless she was slurring and staggering, therefore indicating she may REALLY have a problem, she may just have an Amish type family. Believe me, on my Mom’s side of the family, we have to be saints. You’ll be judged by Aunt Sharon faster than you can say Teq… On the other hand, when I’m with the paternal side, we let loose and have a grand ol fucking time! Family is family. You have to respect them. If my scenario is correct, she needed a few vodka tonics to deal with the tight asses!

  4. monica

    you didn’t do anything wrong. hell, i’ve heard alcoholics who get pregnant actually do a lot more damage by quitting cold turkey. same with smoking. either way i must be sure to never ever have children

  5. elsewhere1010

    Nah, you’re good. I once had my best friend Jim come with me to dinner with my parents in a restaurant, and he drew the waitress aside while on a trip to the restroom and got a vodka straight up in a water glass. It’s the only way to make my parents (complete teetotal) bearable. I was only pissed that he didn’t get me one, but he couldn’t figure out how to tip me off that my water was full of vodka before I could perform a spit take of spectacular proportions.

  6. Paulina

    Jägermeister? People in the U.S. really drink that stuff? As a German, I think I should apologize for the taste, the name as well as for the design of the bottle.

  7. Elyse

    I had people do that fairly often when I was bartending, usually men. In the middle of their dinner, they’d walk over to the bar for another drink instead of ordering it through the server. I always figured they wanted a break from the people they were eating with. The only problem I can see from the server or bartender’s position is if the customer later drove and their spouse or whomever needed to monitor them. Or in Manhattan, if they stepped into the street and got hit by a cab, for instance.

  8. Shantini

    We have a woman who comes in fairly regularly and does the same thing. Crams a handful of bills in her servers hand on the way to the bathroom and orders a “soda water”. Thing is, her husband drinks 1 or 2 margaritas so it’s not out of respect for a non-drinker at the table – it’s just the two of them. Also she often seems a bit slurry and off by the end of the meal. The most uncomfortable night was when she asked for a to-go cup for her “soda water” which I can’t legally give her because I know it’s vodka! I quit waiting on her when they came in – it made me feel too uncomfortable.

    1. Karma Girl

      What did you do? I would have poured out her original drink and put real soda water in her to-go cup. She might come back and complain, but I doubt it since it would tip her hand and technically the only thing you’d be guilty of would be giving her a free soda.


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