Los Angeles is allegedly a city that fosters countless unknown stars, all searching for any and all means of exposing their raw talent.
To the annoying, loud-mouthed, self-obsessed young 20-something hooker who sat in my section and sang her way through the entire evening, my section is not the proper showcase for you to share your minimal vocal abilities.
When she and her five friends (dirty gypsies, all of them) sat at my table, she shouted "OH MY GOD I LOVE THIS SONG!" as Madonna's "Hung Up" blared over the speakers.
Not one to appreciate the deprecation of Madge, I immediately interrupted.
"Would you like anything to drink?"
"EVERY LITTLE THING THAT YOU SAY OR DO, I'M HUNG UP...I'LL HANG UP ON YOU!!!" she squealed into an invisible hand-held microphone. I came this close to holding my invisible shotgun to my head and pulling the invisible trigger.
(Regarding "Screechy's" musical prowess, imagine a group of grieving gypsy women at a funeral, simultaneously screaming, breathing and bellowing.)
Her friends, each one more stoned than the other, seemed indifferent to her theatrics. She took their silence as permission, and proceeded to belt out every song that followed.
What annoyed me even more than her crooning were the self-adoring looks she'd give me, as if the pen and pad in my hand were meant for her autograph. However, once "Manic Monday," "Always Something There to Remind Me" and "Hollaback Girl" came and went, I began to realize that only two people from this gypsy tribe were ordering, and "Screechy" wasn't one of them.
She did, however, manage to consume three shots of our shitty house tequila, paid for by the neighboring table of nasty Armenian men who hadn't seen such thrilling live entertainment since selling their youngest daughter to a brothel.
As the night progressed, Screechy did not let up. On the contrary, she found ways to incorporate dance into her routine, which I gleefully put the kabosh on.
"You have to stay seated."
"Ohhhh come on man," she said in her affected poser beatnik emo gypsy hipster voice. "I'm just having a good time."
"People are trying to get by behind you, you have to keep the area clear."
"Can you at least tell dem to turn up the music?"
"But I LOOOOVE this SOOONG" ("Single Ladies" by Beyonce)
"No, sorry. Is anyone else ordering anything or can I..."
"DON'T...TREAT ME TO THE THINGS OF THIS WOOOOOORLD..."
I dropped off the check. The third copy, to be exact, which I placed next to the previous two copies I'd left within the preceding hour.
Once they finally left, I didn't even bother to sort through the pile of dollar bills, pennies and plastic
trinkets they used to pay their check. I did, however, enjoy a rare ride home void of any music.
Among the many stereotypes I've encountered in my years of servitude is that gays are a gregarious group of good tippers.
Last night I waited on a stoically unpleasant couple who were more divorce court than dinner date. Once they were sat in my section, it took me a mere 20 seconds to greet them. 20 seconds. Hell, maybe even 30. But you catch my drift.
"Hello, how are you two doing this evening?"
"We've been ready to order for awhile," sedately stated the more docile of the two, as if channeling his inner Faye Dunaway-before-the-storm.
I whipped it out (my pen and paper) to show that I was ready, when the other member of this couple whined:
"But Jeff, ugh, I don't know what I waaaaant!"
Speak to me in any tone, be it Bronx, Persian or Bobcat Goldthwait. But do not ever, ever whine to me.
"Bill. We have 45 minutes. Make up your mind," said Jeffy.
Bill looked up at me, like I gave a shit, and whined, "Ugh. We have a birthday party to go to."
(The thought of these two entering a birthday party made me chuckle. I could just see these two standing in the doorway, quietly casing the joint and surveying the party goers before announcing, "Hello fellow fem bots. We have come to kill the festivities with our complete lack of warmth and inability to find anything humorous. Here, Bill will whine for you.")
Whiney asked me, "Can the food be quick?"
"The food has trouble taking instructions in terms of speed," I replied. "I can ask the cook to rush your order."
This was a request that would appease both diner and waiter.
Whiney continued, unmoved by my sardonic display of humor, "I want that thing. Ugh. You know, it's big, filled with meat, has sour cream on top."
My go-to response would have been, "he's sitting right across from you," but I instead pointed out that he was thinking of a burrito.
"Is it good?"
"What do you mean?"
"We have about 10 different burritos."
Jeffy shot him a look that would have made Satan weep. He then directed his subdued hostility towards me.
"While he's deciding, I'd like a strong margarita if that won't take you too long."
I told him I couldn't give him an exact time commitment, but that a one-minute turnaround would be the expectation if that would please her majesty.
Whiney whined, "Ugh. What about me? I want a drink, too!"
"Then order one," Jeffy said through pursed lips.
"What should I get?"
"Whatever you want to drink..."
I had to hand it to Jeff. While I immediately disliked him, I found all of his responses to be quite amusing.
"Ugh. Can I do a strawberry margarita?"
"Yes," I replied through pursed lips, paying homage to Jeff.
"And I guess I'll do a chicken burrito. Ugh."
I didn't even bother asking which kind of beans he wanted on the side, knowing that it would trigger an entirely new set of unwanted neuroses.
Before I could run away, Jeffy said:
"And remember. We're in a hurry."
I gave him the same look I gave my mom in 8th grade when she nagged me to wear my headgear at night, a look that garnered a raise of his left eyebrow.
Their food and drinks arrived in record time. I performed my automatic quality check minutes later and asked:
"How is everything?"
"Satisfactory," Jeff replied. Bill was busy picking his teeth with his fingers.
"Ugh. There's a grain of rice stuck in my teeth."
I wasted no time dropping off their bill. Jeffy looked at it as if I had unleashed an anaconda on the table.
"We're not ready to pay."
"Oh, I just assumed I'd leave the check because you two are in a hurry."
Jeff just looked away. Bill was literally using dental floss to fish out his lost rice.
Finally, when the pay stand-off was over, and Jeff clearly emerged as the victor, he placed two twenty dollar bills on top of the $34.56 check.
"We'll need change," he said.
Anticipating this scenario, and having already seen the $40 before approaching the table, I went to the trouble of having exact change in my pocket. Without moving, I handed him his change and, through pursed lips, said "Thanks."
And then the expected 10 percent tip.
Jeff and Bill walked out about five feet apart, Jeff's arms folded and Bill's right hand still picking food out of his teeth. Having witnessed such partnered bliss in person, I can only hope that the state of California eventually does allow gay marriage so that these two can legally consummate their unbridled, infectious bliss.