With some annoying regulars, I eventually become immune to their grating behaviors. Whenever I deal with Twalla, or Twia, or whatever her unnecessarily distinct, trailer-park-born name is, I no longer feel my blood pressure rise when she asks if I'd like to buy her a drink. I simply ignore her and walk away.
And then there are those regulars who only become more horrible over time. Like Sherika (I'm not making that up. If I didn't fear getting fired & becoming Buzzfeed bait I'd post the credit card to prove it. Sherika, pronounced "Share-ica." Trust me, her name is truly Sherika. Fucking Hell. Sherika).
Sherika is under life's most tempting yet ignorant indulgence; that of self-indulgence. And by self-indulgence, I mean the viewpoint that everyone else in life thinks you are as interesting as you do. That people give a flying fuck about your new porch, or your back spasms, or your "just okay" weekend, or your goddamned trip to the San Diego Zoo with your nieces and nephews, I mean OH MY GOD, SHERIKA, NO. ONE. GIVES. A. SHIT. I have read judge's gavel catalogues that arouse more interest.
So Monday, when our entire truck-stop-style menu is THIRTY PERCENT OFF, people scrimp and save to fill up the trailers with a half tank, lick each others' hair to shower, and hurry on in to tooth-tackle those thrifty troughs of terrible.
Sherika and I have met only once, years ago, when I gave her some serious 'tude and she told the indifferent shift manager to either "fire [him] or make sure [he] never serves me when I come in!!!!!"
The manager and I verbally agreed with the latter at the same exact time.
However, the male member of her party arrived early this time and uknowingly procured the only open booth, which was in my section. She joined minutes later, saw that there were no other open tables, rolled her eyes, sighed a histrionic sigh of annoyance, and sat down in defeat.
"What may I get you?" I asked flatly, but while exuding some warmth to the thus far innocent male.
"I believe we'll take a pitcher please," he said politely.
"BUT AT THE THIRTY PERCENT PRICE?!?!" she said in a tone more suited to the final moments of Sophie's Choice.
"Nope," I said in a goofy, melodic tone. "The discount only applies to food."
"That's...not true," she said while folding her arms.
"EHHHHHHH!!!" I imitated the tone of a game show's incorect answer buzzer. "True." I said, while pointing with my slightly bended middle finger. "See this menu? Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeahright there, it says it right.........there. See it?"
"Got it," she said.
"No worries," he said. "We'll pay regular price, it's all good."
"You know what?" I said, looking directly and warmly at him. "Because you've been so polite...and I can't tell you how rare that is...I'm going to ring in a happy hour pitcher, even though happy hour is technically over now."
He was sincerely grateful. I smiled at him, he smiled, and then took a look at his phone. I shot her a "Follow that act, you fat bitch" look and pranced off.
I returned to the table. Sherika was telling this HALAURIUS story about a mishap with her manicurist, because the lady speaks "Asian." She kept looking in my direction to see if I was as enthralled as her pool male victim (I was; he hated the fuck out of it, too). I asked if they were ready to order food. She ignored me, and he politely declined.
I returned to the table a few minutes later to refill their chips and salsa. This time, she was talking about how strong she became after her "first" divorce. Fake tears in her eyes and all. And she looked at me to see if I felt as much compassion as he did (I did; he had the fakest smiled plastered to his face and was drinking Jack like it flowed from a fountain - we were both drunk and bored).
Minutes later, he gave me a slightly urgent "Bill PLEASE" hand gesture. I complied immediately. As he all but held my hand to the table while he got out his credit card, she talked about how humble she was, how people praised her humility, and she attributes it to a healthy self worth. She blinked in my direction to see if I was as impressed as he was (I was; he stopped responding at this point and quickly walked her to her car, left in his, and sped off).
I watched as he drove off into the night as I downed the 3/4 full glass of his Jack. He would likely keep her from coming back for a long time, and for that --- you, my friend, will forever drink for free whenever you find yourself in my section.