Thursday, April 08, 2004

The Waiter's Not Moving Day!

You like it here. 11:10 AM outside Bona Cucina, just behind the menu in the window with a view of the waiter with the shaved head.

He's got the lunch shift at a restaurant that doesn't get a lunch rush. Doors open at eleven, giving the staff plenty of time to settle in before the first customer arrives at 12:50, if at all.

The waiter with the shaved head is guaranteed to walk out with forty dollars in shift pay. If he doesn't seat a single soul, he'll be handed forty dollars when he returns that evening for the dinner shift (he's only 25, still a few more years of working doubles without a shudder). If he makes eight bucks in tips, which is usually how it works, he's given thirty two.

The waiter with the shaved head views his lunch shift as a chance to be paid forty dollars to sit and listen to a restaurant CD collection full of CD's he enjoys but would never own. Jewel's Pieces of You is always the first up in the changer. The Romeo+Juliet Soundtrack (Leo and Claire Danes) is second. The waiter with the shaved head comes here to listen to saccharine music until he gets to take a two-hour walk at 3 PM.

You come here at 11:10 AM to watch the waiter with the shaved head sit in a chair. In order to avoid worrying him, you try to look like you're perusing the menu, and your glances at him are furtive. You can't hear the music outside. From where you stand, he is only physical inertia and thought.

What sort of memory could strike a man so still? Is that contentment in there? Is that what that looks like? Or resignation?

You come here at 11:10 AM because your boyfriend got rich and said you could quit your job and paint. You don't paint, but you do go for walks in the early afternoon and fantasize about the screaming-and-throwing-shit fight with your boyfriend that you hope to have one day. But at 11:10 AM you get to take a break and wonder who's getting screamed at inside the shaved head of that waiter that sits so still.

Happy The Waiter's Not Moving Day!