He’s a tall man who I have never seen before. His legs are like two tree trunks attached to a torso and when he sits down at Booth 8, it seems he would be more comfortable at a table. Since he doesn’t say anything about his knees rubbing the underside of the table top, I decide to not offer him another place to sit.
“What’s your darkest beer?” he asks me.
Without hesitation, I tell him we have Guinness.
“No, that’s too dark,” he says and asks for something that is dark but not quite that dark. As I stare at the menu in his hands that has a list of every beer we sell, I ask him if he would like a Brooklyn Lager.
“What’s that like?” he wants to know.
“Well, it’s an amber lager with a hoppy taste and a malty bitter aftertaste. Want to try it?”
This is when he tells me he wants the least hoppiest beer we have so I suggest a Hefeweizen which is basically a wheat beer and not at all dark. At long last, he agrees to order it and I can tell that this guys is going to be really a super lot of fun to take a food order from. After he takes a few sips of his beer, he lets me know he does not like it but “will drink it anyway.”
I don’t care if he drinks it or not, because it’s already on his bill and it’s not coming off. Why do people think they are doing me a favor by suffering through eating or drinking something that they don’t like? You ordered it, you pay for it. That’s how it works. Whether you eat it, stare at it, stab it with a fork, put it in a to-go bag or ask me to throw it away, you are paying for it. You can take that rare steak home with you and call it your pet cow for all I care. It’s yours.
After he places his surprisingly simple food order, he asks for another beer, this time a Corona which is neither dark nor hop-free.
When his roasted chicken arrives, he is ready for another drink, but wants to look at the cocktail menu. After studying it like he’s about to take the LSAT for Harvard Law School, he decides on an Old Fashioned which I promptly ring in. Moments later, I set the perfectly crafted cocktail before him and as he picks it up, he eyes the fruit in the glass.
“Hmmm, a cherry. Well, that’s interesting.”
“Actually, it is interesting,” I say. “This cocktail has been around since 1881 when it was invented by a bartender named James E. Pepper. I’m pretty sure it always had citrus in it, but the cherry has been pretty standard for as long as I’ve been waiting tables and I started at Bennigan’s back in the early 1900’s.”
He does not laugh at my joke which doesn’t bother me one bit because, quite frankly, I no longer give a flying maraschino fuck about him. He takes a sip of the cocktail and declares that it taste like water. “But I’ll drink it anyway,” he tells me.
“Yes, you sure will, asshole, I mutter to myself as I walk away from his booth.
At long last, he has somehow sucked down the watery Old Fashioned and now wants a mojito. If this guy is trying to diversify his alcohol intake, he’s doing a splendid job. I quickly carry a mojito to him, place it before him and wonder what he will have to say about it.
“That’s a lot of mint.”
“Yes, yes it is. Mojitos always have a lot of mint.”
He takes a sip of the cocktail and again tells me it tastes like water. I immediately decide I want to live where he lives because if his tap water comes out tasting like an Old fashioned or a mojito, he has the world’s perfect faucet. No longer would I be challenged to drink eight glasses of water a day, for that would happen before breakfast.
As I walk away from him, I hear him say “I’ll drink it anyway.” I print his check and cram it into my apron, hopeful he doesn’t ask for coffee, a port or some other liquid refreshment that will surely only bring disappointment to him.
Just drink water, asshole.