Last week I watched in terror as a matching mother and daughter were sat in my section. Mom was pushing 50 and her daughter was in the 25-30 range. She was dressed in tight, low-cut clothing with hair and make-up that must have been done under the influence of turpentine. Her white tresses had never met a bottle of peroxide they couldn't devour. And then there was her daughter...
Having grown up among cheerleaders and their doting mothers, I know all too well the story of a mom who just wants to be best friends with her daughter. I knew I was in for a treat with these two.
"Hi how are you what may I bring you to drink oh God let's make this quick and painless?" I inquired over the roar of fake laughter and incessant interruption.
"Hiiiiiiiiiii!!" said super-fake Mom, as if she were welcoming me to the funny farm. Every single syllable flew out of her mouth as if she were reading a story during Toddler Time at church. "We'd just LOVE two really strong margaritas...strong like those biceps, sweetheart."
Nothing gets my ego soaring like the accolades of a 50-year-old with bright red lipstick and two casaba melons fighting for air in a Wet Seal top.
"AND MAKE THEM BOTH DOUBLES!! WE CAN'T STAND EACH OTHER, HAHAHA!!"
"Haha, yes, I feel that way around my family," I said insincerely, grateful that this Madame Toussaint exhibit was not my mother.
"Mom..." protested the poor daughter, "I don't think we need doubles." She looked to me in desperation. "Can I just have an iced tea instead?"
"OH SWEETIE YOU'RE NO FUN!!! HAHAHAHAHA!!"
Over the course of the meal, Mom proceeded to get more and more sauced while Daughter looked as appalled as I felt. I don't say this often about customers but...she had my sympathy. To the point where Mom's last few margaritas were actually virgin margaritas.
And then came the water works. I don't know what transpired, because I was busy slashing the tires on another customer's car, but when I returned Mom looked like a sobbing Tammy Faye with make-up streaming down places I didn't think possible.
Daughter was holding her stoic composure, because this was apparently a common occurrence in public.
Mom smiled through the muddy tears when I approached.
While Mom said, "I'll take another drink," Daughter simultaneously said, "We'll take the check."
I brought Mom an iced water and the bill.
"This isn't a fucking drink! I want a margarita!"
"I'm sorry...ma'am, but I've served you the legal amount of liquor I'm allowed to within an hour."
"FINE! Guess we won't be back here!"
"That's a risk I'll have to take," I said.
Mom retaliated by leaving a $2 tip. God bless her daughter, who handed me a $20 bill on her way out the door.
Two nights later, Mom came in with an even older Armenian man. While I wasn't their server, Mom and I did lock eyes. She gave me a blank look of absolutely no recollection. And by the end of her meal, she was arguing with her date as the same tears streamed down the same drunken face, ruining the same mascara.
I watched while rolling silverware. I had a fleeting moment of compassion. And then I remembered the $2 tip and couldn't help but smile.