Any server worth his/her salt knows how to behave when dining out. Make no absurd requests, drink your water at a moderate pace, and tip well.
And under no circumstance try to bond with your server simply because you two share the same profession.
Sure, a brief but polite, "I work at______________restaurant. How's your night going?" is acceptable. It establishes that you understand how the show works and lets your server know that good service will not go unrewarded.
The other night I waited on a bartender from a certain obnoxious establishment on Sunset that caters to drunken tourists, chunky wanna-be-Sex-and-the-City sorority girls and Asian boys in sideways ball caps.
(Yes, Miyagi's, where the last celeb sighting was the 21 Jump Street wrap party)
Sunset Boy and his entourage of three skanked-out cokies were sat at my one available table. After what seemed like eight lifetimes worth of unsolicited advice & Miyagi's anecdotes, the four decided on a round of Adios Mother Fuckers, a blue libation that's very popular with low-income alcoholics.
Sunset Boy, a perpetual frat boy in his mid-30s, was quite eager to point out how he might have done things differently than me.
"Cardboard coasters under the drinks bro? Try paper napkins bro. They're classier bro."
"She ordered a strawberry margarita bro. You didn't ask if she wanted salt on the rim bro. Just keeping you on your game bro."
"You didn't ask if we wanted grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken on the Rotisserie Chicken Nachos bro. Options bro."
Each suggestion was met with the same look, a look that even the blind could interpret to mean "Shut the fuck up."
Cokie #2 ordered a burrito without "any cheese." When the burrito arrived without goat cheese, the table was stunned.
"Where's her goat cheese bro? That's the best part pro?"
I replied, "She ordered it without cheese. That includes goat cheese. Bro."
"Ahhh, bro, you knew she meant regular cheeses bro. Who orders that without the goat cheese bro?"
"They must do things differently at Miyagi's. When someone orders something from me without any cheese, that includes goat cheese. Would you like a side of goat cheese?"
"Nah, bro, have them recook it bro. Sorry bro. You should have asked which cheeses she didn't want bro."
Yes, that's exactly what I should have done, because I interpret "without any cheese" to mean "further inquiries appreciated," you valedictorian.
After the new and improved burrito arrived, I hid from Sunset Boy and his harem. Only when another server was beckoned to ask for the check did I reappear.
"You been on your break bro?"
"You should have told us you were going on break bro."
"We'll take the ch..."
I dropped the check on the table before he could finish his sentence. I stood there waiting for payment and didn't waste a second when he dropped a wad of cash on the table.
"Keep the change bro."
The change amounted to a 15 percent tip.
Fortunately my tale has a silver lining. Unlike every other awful person I bitch about, I know where this guy works, and I'm fully prepared to return the favor.