But for those of us who, while in good shape (thanks, YMCA's clean and well-maintained facilities!), may be yellowing around the edges a bit, clocking in on a Saturday after the ass-kicking received on a Friday feels exactly like this. If Friday night (Amateur Night, Part One) is any indication of the cross-section I can expect to wait upon this evening, I will be faced with the following:
- Loud, older Texans with loads of money and absolutely no taste, whose wigged wives wave their turquoise rings in my face and describe the "big, oaky, buttery Chardonnay" they want me to bring them. (Hint: Bring them anything, so long as it's undergone malolactic fermentation. That's all they really want. And if everything you have is stainless-steel-fermented, bring them a glass of half & half with some popcorn floating in it.)
- Aging hippies who take off their shoes and sit cross-legged on the banquette, so that all incoming persons will be forced to be witnesses to her rock-bottom Britney moment. Aging hippies part two, who come in reeking of patchouli so that everyone around them, instead of enjoying the native aromas of their eye-poppingly good lamb chops and Chinons, are forced to recall that college performance of "Godspell" they had to usher for fine arts credit.
- That champion douchebag who insists on sitting next to—instead of across from—his lady at a two-top, thus invading the personal space of whoever is at the table next to him, performing an unnecessarily raucous turning of the table to fit their needs, and in such a way that sends silverware rocketing off said table and onto the floor. As waitress first protests, "Please, sir, let me do that for you," is ignored, and then forced to return with new silverware, heroic asshole smirks, "Did that just totally mess up your vibe?" (Find out if having the busboy fart on his salad messes up his vibe.)
- The young lady who, because she ignored my brief (and apparently necessary) overview of the menu at the beginning of the night, is stunned to find out that the "Whole Grilled Branzino" on the menu is, in fact, whole, and forces me to send it back to the kitchen for fileting. Which, by the way, no modern kitchen or chef who has cooked abroad wants to do, because it not only kills the exquisite presentation, effectively reducing the glorious fish to a pile of glossy flakes, but because it's fucking lazy. ("Make my food into a pile I can shovel into my mouth without focus." America, what a country!) If you're blind and have no teeth, you can still negotiate a branzino's skeletal structure. Then again, if you're blind and have no teeth, I suggest the soup.
- This being date night, any number of the men who will be walked out on by their drunk, belligerent wives/girlfriends/ex-wives/mistresses/"nieces" and who will leave me a 12% tip, despite having forced me into an incredibly awkward situation, which I will have handled with great aptitude, if I do say so myself. When he asks a group of us at the front if we saw where she walked off to, one of us supposes she went to find an ATM to get the rest of my tip.
But then, sitting at the bar later tonight, counting my rubles, I'll think of this.