Wait, I already know what you’re thinking, “Two blog entries in as many days? Mark these days on your calendar!” Yeah, I know, but sometimes you just have to get something out.
Today was a day I had been looking forward to for a week now. While becoming a member of management has been a lot of work, with a bit of fun thrown in, the one perk that I wasn’t expecting was one I found myself looking forward to with much joy… BEER NIGHT!!!!
Yes, I work for a company where management all goes out, the first Wednesday night of every month, and drinks together. Not rowdy, slovenly drinking, but refined, cultured exchanges, punctuated by exclamations for another round.
See, its this type of behavior that I had missed for the last year. As a consultant, even one that was internal to a large corporation, I regularly spent time with my coworkers outside of the office. We were friends more than colleagues. We had shared interests and genuinely enjoyed one another’s company. I was wanting to get back to those days as I missed them dearly.
And I did. While no one on my direct team was there, nor really even anyone on my extended team, there were several people who I interact with on a regular basis and several people who I had never officially or actually met. It was a fun couple of hours, where I knocked back a couple of wonderful brews, one Porter and one Stout, exchanged engaging conversation and got to know people I had only known vaguely over the last year. In all the ways that mattered, the night was wonderful.
But in one, insignificant, petty and annoying way, it wasn’t.
Anyone who reads this and knows me well, understands that my ego is quite resilient, its had to be given the abuse it has taken over the years, but it is also rather large and willingly plays second fiddle to no one. That’s not to say that I am always the life of the party, I am frequently not, but I will always be found in the life of the party. People know me as a fun guy who most people seem to genuinely enjoy spending time with. Everyone in our party this evening seemed to find that true. Our waitress did not.
See, I’m the guy who is always nice to the wait staff. If you have never seen the movie Waiting, go rent it and you’ll see half of the reason people working that job have my respect. The other half of why I am nice to the wait staff is, I respect they have a job that is often crummy and pays not so well, even at an upscale place like we had picked for our evening of relaxation. But from the start, it was obvious our waitress was just going through the motions. Her smile was plastic and her concern was obviously faked, and faked badly.
Now, we all have off days, but it was obvious she wasn’t just having an off day, this seemed to be her way of dealing with customers. When she was off to the side with her coworkers, she was a blatantly different person. Yes, I know, part of being a wait staff is lying to people that you like them, in hopes to get a better tip. It was just surprising she was so obviously bad at pretending to care. Maybe most people don’t notice the difference, but to me, I spotted it right off.
Still, she wasn’t overtly rude and was attentive to our needs, so I was more than willing to cut her a bit of slack. At least I was at first.
Again, I have a bit of an ego. I know I’m not in the shape I was only a few years ago. The 30 extra pounds I carry around are an annoyance, one I would like to shed, but one that I don’t see going away very soon, mostly because of my stated preference for beer. Still, I’m a fairly good looking guy, and small compared to most of the people around me in this clinically obese state. While I don’t rely on my looks, I know they can turn some people around, but with this waitress, I might as well have been a plank in the wall, which is something I am unaccustomed to having to deal with.
Don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t really a looker herself, no anyone I would ever date. (This is where I pause to reassure my girlfriend, who is reading this, that I was NOT out looking for another woman. Yes, honey, I do love you and would NEVER do such a thing.) She had three things going against her, besides the poorly faked concern: she wanted to believe she was fashionable when she was not, she was 15 lbs overweight for the clothes she was wearing and lastly, she used enough makeup for Tammy Fae and needed it every bit of it to cover up the acne scars.
Is all of that petty of me to say? Partially, but I noticed all of this prior to even catching her faked attitude. That’s not to say she was some horribly hideous hag, far from it, just not all she thought she was… something that could probably be said about me. :)
So where is all this going? Why am I annoyed? It all goes back to my ego requiring me to be the center of attention. There was an actual consultant there with us, a guy who I will refer to as the Jungle Cat, as his name is, no lie, the name of a large savanna feline. Seriously, who names their child something like that?
Anyway, Jungle Cat is a few years older than me, and my equal in looks. He’s got a few more lines, but were we the same age, we would be comparable in all but one way… he’s a former olympic athlete. Remember my extra 30 lbs, well, I have to think that’s what got me.
Our waitress was all over this guy. She invited him, multiple times, to come to the bar after the group broke up and went home. It was obvious that would happen soon, he and I were two of the youngest people there by far, and most looked the part of the older, family people they are. Yet, he gets the invite to come hang with the wait staff and I do not.
Yes, that’s petty of me to be jealous of the guy. He’s a nice guy, one I would hang out with any time. We had a lot in common as we got to know one another. No, I have no desire to date anyone other than my girlfriend, much less Mrs. Bakker in training. Yet it dug at me none the less. Why, you ask? Simple.
Jungle Cat is married. Obviously so. He wore one of those mammothly wide rings that you couldn’t miss across the length of the room. Yes, I was completely bypassed for a married man. Ouch, there is one big blow to the ego.
Yes yes, I know. She obviously didn’t have much going for her in the way of standards to be so obviously hitting on a married man. Even were I single, even had I found her attractive, even had she been genuinely nice to me, I still would never have dated her. Yet, throw in a married man who was not attracted to her either, and suddenly my jealousy flares.
All this said, I must say that my reactions did surprise me a bit. Maybe I just believe a bit more in decorum and decency and this is just a reaction to seeing someone behave so badly. I’m sure that some of it was the annoyance at letting this kind of thing intrude upon my evening of fun. Still, at times like this, I really do wonder exactly what it is that makes everyone in this little slice of life react in the ways we do. Why am I bothered? Why would anyone act the way the waitress did? Why was I the only one to notice all this? No real answers to those questions that I can tell, but they are interesting questions.