Friday night, dinner rush.
I'm having the textbook perfect shift. Dip checks out the ass, nary a complicated ticket to be found, and my tables seem to be making a concentrated effort to pay my rent in one fell swoop. Calm seas, smooth sailing...if only I'd known to batten the goddamn hatches when I had the chance.
All my tables are settled and happy when the host pops in and announces I have a table. Perfect timing, citizens! I head out to my section, walking on sunshine.
Looks like a nice enough family. Mom, Dad, two girls, all dressed nicely. I step up to the table, already scripting in my head.
"Hello! I'm DabblesWithDireswolves, and I'll be your server this evening!" the four turn to me in unison, and my cheery server grin melts faster than ice cream in hell.
All four of them are glowering at me as though I'd personally shat in their breakfast of choice. I'd skipped straight out of the sunshine and into the Lands of Always Fucking Winter.
When it became apparent that neither my name nor my key role in their dinner experience warranted comment (fair enough), I asked if I could get them started with some drinks while they look over the menu.
The mom cuts me off. "No, we'll order now. In case you get busy and forget about us. Water with lemon, unsweetened tea with lemon, two lemonades for the kids."
Okay, I can work with this, who needs friendliness when you have efficiency? I get the orders in and get to work on the drinks. I gather up the lemonades, one in our standard frozen mug for the older girl, and a plastic kid cup for the toddler. I return to the table and parcel out the drinks...and so it begins.
"WAIT!" says Ice Queen, reaching across the table and grabbing the kid cup. "What's this?"
At this point the kid dissolves in a tiny tantrum: slapping her hands on the table and proclaiming far and wide that she was a big girl. Mom gives me a withering glare as her kid sobs and says, "She wants to be a big girl like Sissy! She needs a big girl lemonade!"
"Oh...I see. Well, those mugs are solid glass and pretty heavy, and..."
"I KNOW my child, and my child KNOWS how to hold a glass!"
Hopefully better than she knows how to hold crayons and crackers, judging by the litter around her booster seat. I bow out gracefully and bring out a mug (after which I bow out less gracefully to totally replace the whole fucking lemonade, as the original was "much too hot.") I turn to check on the neighboring table, but my inquiry is lost in the sudden thud and shrieks behind us.
I turn to catch Mom flying up out of her seat, now remarkably lemony-fresh! She plucks at her drenched silk shirt and shouts about how its ruined, and that her daughter's glass was much too heavy for a toddler.
Wait...I've heard this before.
I immediately quit the scene to bring out towels. Mom is busy shooing her children out of the chairs and sharing helpful tidbits such as "Make sure you clean it with hot water or it will STICK!" and "You should never give a baby a glass that heavy!"
Great ideas ma'am, I'll write corporate.
I finally get them settled back in, assure her that "No ma'am, I will not forget to bring out your food," and head back to the kitchen. I decide against telling them that I would have sold my organs to gypsies for the honor of forgetting about them.
Food comes out, everybody's...not happy, maybe placated? Mom moves to sit beside the toddler and give her sips out of her own water...while holding the goddamned glass, might I add. Alright, now we've got some semblance of normality...Mom seems almost content as she finishes eating, and thanks me for the first time all meal as I pick up their plates. I drop the dishes off in the kitchen, then come back for another round of the section.
Baby's still a big girl, Mom's glass is on its side, a fine finger of water is tracking determinedly across the table and down to the husband's lap. Good thing it wasn't sticky, cause I doubt he'd take kindly to her hot water suggestion. I go again to offer towels, but they beat feet for the door before I have the chance. I clean the water up anyway, gingerly peeling the drenched ones off the table. 3 dollars and some change (none of it silver) on a $40 bill.
I try not to judge my guests on tips, truly I do, but Sweet Lemony Jesus lady, your baby's wearing goddamned Gucci.