Once in a blue moon, after a rough shift, I'll entertain a certain thought while downing a Grey Goose and Ambien: I wish I had someone to come home to.
And just as quickly as that fleeting thought enters my mind, it vanishes while waiting on certain couples. Couples like Darryl and Janna, a twosome teetering finely on the line between white trash and people who enjoy Two and a Half Men.
They've dined in my establishment before, usually without incident. In fact I rather enjoyed them because they were quiet, quick, and tip-friendly.
However, a drunken Darryl and Janna recently entered the restaurant in the midst of a heated argument. So naturally I was their waiter.
"Hi there," I said in friendly form.
"No! Fuck that!" Darryl said to Janna while giving me a firmly dismissive gesture. "You make shit up and get angry about it even if it's not true! Fuck that!"
Without being prompted I could tell the situation called for alcohol, so I poured some sangria into a kid's cup and downed it while pretending to wipe down the table next to Darryl and Janna.
"You're always getting texts at weird hours!" Janna declared.
"From work!" he said in earnest defense.
After a few seconds of silence, I checked back in.
"Anything to drink?"
"Let me ask you something," Darryl slurred, placing his hand awkwardly on my forearm. "You've gotten texts about work late at night, haven't you?"
I picked at a non-existent stain on my apron as a subtle way of reminding Darryl of my employment.
"But like...hasn't work ever texted you to see if you can come in to help during a busy shift?" Darryl asked.
"...At midnight?!" Janna bellowed.
"Why don't I come back..." I said as I tried to walk away.
"No no no, we need drinks," Janna said. "But let me ask you this. If your girlfriend got texts late at night wouldn't you be curious?"
Oh honey. My last girlfriend was in college. She was studying abroad for four semesters and that's why none of my friends or family ever met her.
"I, uhm, I would probably, er, I'd," I stalled.
"You've gotten texts late at night and I haven't cared, have I?" Darryl said.
"I got ONE text late at night from my MOTHER because she was at the Sandals Resort and there was a time difference!" Janna said.
"How about I get some drinks started?" I said.
"Well he definitely just needs a water," Janna said.
"Oh so I'm drunk? DRUNK?" Darryl replied.
"YEP." Janna said.
"Fine," Darryl said. "We'll take TWO waters."
"Nooooo I want another Chardonnay," Janna said.
"Fuck that," Darryl said. "If I can't drink, neither can you. Man if you bring her a drink, I promise there won't be a tip."
"I'll tip him myself!" Janna said.
"With whose money, I'd like to know?!" Darryl said.
I fled to grab two waters. At this point, others in the restaurant had caught on to the escalating volume of Darryl and Janna's exchange, and the moronic manager told me to "do something."
"Where's my wine?" Janna said.
"Please you've been whining all day," Darryl responded.
I snickered reflexively, which pissed off both of them.
"We'll tell you when we're ready to order," Darryl said, followed by a burp.
For the next hour, Darryl and Janna sat at my booth, which is normally reserved for parties of four or more. They did not order a single thing and left only after the restaurant had gone off a wait.
I returned home later that evening and mixed the meager remnants of my varying alcohol bottles into a single martini and crashed on the couch while watching Two and a Half Men. And about four hours later, after I came to, I wiped the drool off my mouth and said a quick "thank you" to the man upstairs that I had no Darryl or Janna to disrupt the quiet contentment of being single.