I didn’t want to work today at all. I idiotically agreed to work prior to realizing how overstaffed we would be. It turned out to be a gargantuan waste of my time. I knew it would be. Having The Boogers as my first table was not a harbinger of good fortune.
Every restaurant I’ve ever worked at has its fair share of regulars. Some are folks you are happy to see regularly, others, not so much. Some you know by name, others you nickname. Some brighten your day, others make you wish you hadn’t gotten out of bed that day. Today my first table was Tissue Guy and his wife. Some of my coworkers, the ones less kind and sensitive than I, call them The Boogers. These are not customers anyone looks forward to seeing.
They received their nickname because the guy, who is terribly old and frail, travels with his own box of tissues, which he uses frequently to wipe the copious amounts of mucous that runs non-stop from his nostrils. It’s really disgusting. His wife, also old, but definitely less frail than her husband, seems to be as turned off by it as the rest of us, which is the nicest thing I can say about her.
She, evidently, has her own health problems. She is either a diabetic or an intravenous drug user. She brings a clear Ziploc baggie that contains syringes and a bottle of viscous fluid with her on each of their visits. I assume the bottle contains Insulin, but I can’t confirm it.
What I can confirm is her apparent allergy to personal hygiene products including, but not limited to, shampoo, detergent, deodorant, and nail clippers. Who knew a person could be allergic to nail clippers! The Tissue Man might not win any awards for personal grooming,, but she wouldn’t even be in the contest.
I like to think that he does the best he can, given his frailty. He’s also addled and, I think, partially deaf. He always asks me what he eats (trout) and then she screams at him, “Why do you always ask her what you eat? She doesn’t know or care. Have a steak or something for God’s sake!” I am often taken aback by the sheer volume, not to mention the ferocity, of her response, but I have learned to stand my ground. He remains unfazed, which leads me to believe that he must be at least a little deaf or immune to her venomous tongue. Or both. Complete stone deafness would be his only hope of completely escaping her bitter, vitriolic nastiness. If I were him I’d probably say a little prayer for that. While he’s at it he might want to throw in a request for blindness, too.
Of course I always tell him very nicely that he usually gets the trout with a sweet potato and a salad with 1000 Island dressing. So there, you horrible dirty troll, I do know what your husband eats. And I care. Because his mucous problem notwithstanding, he actually seems like a nice person, or at least what’s left of him after all the years of living with the likes of you. Ugh! She is an awful human being. Awful.
Just for my own amusement and because I know it irks her, I always pretend to have no idea what she orders. My apparent stupidity produces a great deal of sighing and eye-rolling on her part while she barks her order at me and points to the pictures on the menu. Her pointing forces me to take note of her hairy knuckles and her filthy fingernails. She makes me want to vomit. On her. Which might, in fact, improve her appearance and my mood.
Being anywhere near these people always depresses me. Some people are just toxic. She’s one of those people. It makes me sad. I’ll admit that I had a hard time shaking these feelings for the rest of the day. So, I gave up a day with my family to make crappy money and I had to wait on Tissue Man and his wife. And I got to feel depressed and sad about people I don’t even know. Yeah, I’m an idiot for agreeing to work today. A complete idiot.