Last week I had the pleasure of waiting on five young Jewish mothers and their five ugly, almost androgynous children. These little demons had been cursed with names like "Marlena" and "Parker," as if Aaron Spelling had bequeathed to them a B-grade night-time soap before his death.
Before I could posit the completely insincere query of "HI HOW IS EVERYONE DOING TODAY?!", I was met with the mission statement of the head mama. She highlighted each word as if I'd expressed a need for her to communicate via sign language.
"We're in a...HURRY. We need...FIVE...kid's milks....with lids......
With the aid of a translator and some illustrations, I was eventually able to digest and grasp this complex notion presented to me, a lame peasant who makes a living fetching food and beverage for the richest Jews in all the land.
I returned with the milks, only to be asked, "You're sure these are all MILKS, right?"
"Well, I didn't milk the cow myself, but the label did say 'MILK' on the container."
No one at the table laughed. Instead, I could sense horns slowly emerging after gestating in a venomous pool of estrogen and hatred. They could smell my waspy man chemicals and, therefore, I needed to be put in my place.
Their vengeance came in the form of an order than would have made Rain Man's head explode.
Before I could dart off and drink liquid detergent, head mama said, "And we'll need forks and napkins for our food."
Friends and casual readers, I can't elaborate enough on the gravity of this revelation. Never before has a woman so succinctly and accurately expressed her needs. Forks and napkins! It seems so abstract, but when presented by a Jewish soccer mom, I grasp the meaning behind the beautiful prose.
The food arrived. Apparently one of the kid's meals came with rice instead of fries as requested (sometimes soccer moms communicate in such a poetic, haunting manner of speech that "fries" becomes "rice," and "I need more water" becomes "Enter my love cocoon, virile waiter stud.")
"Uhm...She wanted french fries. This is rice."
God damn if Jew #2 hasn't won a Pullitzer for her grasp of concepts both interpretive and obvious. I retreated quickly to my journal to scribble "This is rice" and returned to the table to address her concerns and assure her of our budding relationship.
I then fetched the glorious fried potatoes that would no doubt nurture her man-daughter and pave the way for bad skin come Bat Mitzvah time.
The "hurry" that these women and their budding yodelers were allegedly in manifested itself in the form of a long coffee-and-gossip session following the feast. Nasty snack foods stored in Zip-loc bags created a moat around the table. Children burped and ran around while the 'steins and 'felds gabbed and applied make-up. Needless to say, no one was in a hurry.
Enter me, mindful of the damsel's initial expression that time was of the essence.
"I know you are all in a huge hurry, so here's your check. I'll be standing by in case you need to leave quickly."
The women utilized everything from a protractor to an abacus to dissect and analyze the parchment that presented their charges.
"Sybil, didn't little Herman have the orange juice? You owe an extra $1.25."
"Oh wait, my darlings Esther and Elijah split a kid's meal, so we owe $4.67 less than everyone else."
And then, almost in unison, "Oh wait, gratuity is included. Hmm, 18 percent."
I bid adieu to my new friends as they ventured off to explore the world through their self-focused lense. Though my goodbye wasn't met with so much as a friendly glance, I understood the non-verbal meaning behind their (lack of) communication. Parting is difficult after quickly establishing such a symbiotic bond.
I can only hope that the God of Abraham will grant them a quick and safe return to me.