Anyone who works in the service industry has had their fair share of stupid questions and comments from customers. You certainly do not have to be waiting tables to deal with morons, but if you want a helpin’ heapin’ servin’ of dumb ass comments, then put on an apron and just wait for ’em. Sometimes people say things that I cannot decipher. In other words, it’s hard to tell if they are serious or giving me some feeble attempt at humor. This was the case not too long ago.
As I approach Table 16 with my pitcher of room temperature water and my attitude of lukewarm smugness, the lady at the table immediately reaches towards her glass. I think she is going to slide it to the edge of the table to make it easier for me to fill, but instead she pulls it closer to her and covers it with her hand. Maybe she knows that I didn’t bother to put ice in the pitcher and she is going to ask for cold water or maybe she is one of those people who want to first hold the glass up to the light to inspect it for water spots, lipstick stains and food remnants, which could all very easily be present since I was not the one who set that table and therefore did not give the utensils and glassware my usual eagle eye of approval. (That’s funny.)
“No water for me,” she says. “Water’s gross. Fish swim in it.”
Really? Is this lady kidding me? She doesn’t drink water because fish swim in it? They also poop in it, reproduce in it and die in it. People pee in it, oil tankers spill in it and factories pour garbage in it. Sea lions get their period in it and spring-breakers who have had too many Coronas throw up in it. The water that is in my pitcher was not just scooped out from the Hudson River nor did it come from Coney Island. It did not come from a pond nor a stream or even a babbling brook. It came from the tap and the last time I checked, there were no fish swimming in the faucet.
“So, no water?” I confirm.
“Blech,” she replies while making a face implying that water is the nastiest thing to have ever touched her lips. Looking at her husband, I know for a fact that her lips have touched something much, much nastier than water.
I have had people tell me before they don’t want any water and I am happy to oblige because it is one less glass I have to keep my eye on to make sure it’s full. Truth be told, even the people who say they love water and will require lots of it don’t necessarily get my undivided attention for keeping their glass full. There are other priorities in food service like hot food and frozen drinks and I am referring to my french fries that I keep in the sidestand and the leftover frozen margarita in a to-go cup that I keep next to said french fries.
I could tell she was waiting for a response from me, like maybe she wanted me to be all, “Oh my God, you don’t drink water??” or “But water is so good for you!!”
Instead I say, “Okay.”
Listen, if you don’t want to drink water, it’s fine with me. But “fish swim in it” is not a good reason. My sister-in-law doesn’t like water. She drinks only Diet Coke. She told me that she drinks nine cans of it a day, which means she probably drinks at least a dozen. The only time water ever makes it into her mouth is when she brushes her teeth, and yes, I too am surprised that she has any teeth to brush. When she goes to bed, she takes a glass of Diet Coke with her and sips it throughout the night. When I asked her why she doesn’t drink water, she just said ‘I don’t like it.” Fine. I don’t get it, but at least she didn’t say some stupid ass bullshit like “fish swim in it.”
When it comes time for the lady at Table 16 to order, she decides she wants the calamari appetizer and the grilled salmon for dinner. So I guess water is so freaking disgusting because fish swim in it but the fish themselves are so freaking delicious that she eats them anyway. Some customers are so eccentric. And by “eccentric” I mean fucking stupid and annoying.