I walked into work last week to discover the largest booth in my section held hostage by cheesy Pepto pink birthday decorations. The whole thing screamed "cheap" in a way you can only understand if you've ever laughed at the poor quality of someone's party-store-purchased pirate costume.
The booth was presently empty. I counted an impending party of 20. Before I could throttle the hostess, I was waylaid by the birthday girl, who was wearing a pink plastic "BIRTHDAY GIRL" tiara.
"Hiieeeee," she said in an intentionally soft dolly voice, a voice that girls of her disingenuous ilk use to call in fake-sick to work .
"I'm Tara, the birthday girl!"
Tara (rhymes with "Sarah") bore in both looks and personality a resemblance to Sarah Jessica Parker circa that one season of Sex and the City in which Carrie Bradshaw was a self-absorbed bitch (i.e., Sex and the City: The Complete Series). Henceforth, I shall call our central character Tara Jessica Parker, or "TJP" for short.
"This is going to be, like, a craaaazzy luncheon," she warned me with an exagerrated pantomime of chaos. I could tell TJP was one of those wannabe-actresses who was always the life of the party, always "on," and always charming, according to no one but herself.
"I think I can handle it," I said as I reached my hand into my pocket and discreetly unscrewed my flask.
"I'm turning 21, so I hope I don't get toooooo drunk," she exclaimed as if I were an audience member watching CBS's latest live shitty sit-com, TJP!
The first guests arrived (two homely girls, likely from TJP's on-camera acting class in Tarzana). One of the girls presented TJP with a bottle of Blackstone Merlot ($7.99, Suggested Retail Price) with a big pink bow around it.
"Awwwwwwwwww, thanks!!!" TJP squealed. "This ought to hold me over until lunch is served!"
LOL @ TJP!
"Let's get a picture!" TJP said. She handed me her iPhone and asked me to take "several" pictures of their complicated pose. This involved the ugly two flanking TJP as she pursed her lips and put her index finger to her mouth, which I suppose was meant to signify cutesy, but instead she looked like a seizure patient picking food out of her teeth.
Three more equally obnoxious girls arrived, followed by a group of boys who I can only categorize as hipster jocks?
As the girls remained seated next to one another, the boys sat down awkwardly on the other side of the booth.
TJP assessed the situation and exclaimed, "It's like a 7th grade dance at this booth!"
LOL @ TJP!
Despite her forewarning that this party was going to reach noise complaint levels, a mere 10 people showed up. I would have felt sorry for TJP had I not sympathized more with myself for dealing with her.
They ordered three plates of nachos and two pitchers of house margaritas. I brought out a particularly meek birthday flan while her friends sang the first two courses of "Happy Birthday" then gave up.
The bill reached a whopping total of $72 for the party of 10 ($62 plus an automatic gratuity). This would amount to a simple $8 per person (not including TJP).
Alas, we reached a snag in terms of who would pay what.
"I'll pay whatever," TJP said in mock humility, prompting no one to interject. I soon discovered that these friends stopped by the party under the impression that the bill would be taken care of. That's peculiar. I've been invited to lots of birthday parties, but very few at a restaurant where the bill was taken care of unless implicitly stated. I've also never been ugly or worn a basketball jersey with skinny jeans, so I'm out of my element trying to understand these people.
TJP ultimately did not pay for any portion of the bill, but she did approach me with the 7 different credit cards and cash amounts.
"Ok, soooo, you'll have to pardon my friends, they've never dined out in public before," she said in her sit-com voice.
LOL @ TJP!
"First, just divide the cards evenly," she said. "Then use the cash towards the rest. Second, I'm so sorry, but my friends are so cheap. They only tipped, like, $8 total. But next time I'm in here I'll totally take care of you."
"Neat," I replied.
Granted, I could have told TJP that the gratuity was already included. I could have also chosen a career path in competitive break-dancing, but some things just aren't in the cards. With that, TJP and her lethargic posse moved on to a bar down the street. I can only imagine that poor bartender's evening.