Were you in to me, Burger Man?

I was closing tonight, the rush already over, just a few tables lingering in. I noticed it was my rotation, grabbed two pieces of silverware, pulled out my paper and pen, looking up to introduce myself, only to find a man’s hand up indicating he clearly did not want me to speak, his phone up to his ear, a conversation he had no intention of interrupting.
“Asshole.” I thought.
He let me stand there for ten to fifteen seconds, his hand still up, so I walked away without a word, straight into the back, my friend cleaning up a mess spilled by the chip machine.
“The guy at table 53, such an ass.” I said, smacking my book down.
I walked by a couple more times, his face intense and aggravated, the phone still in his ear, menus unopened, a little boy sinking farther into the booth. I sized him as a workaholic, dressy work clothes late at night, the expensive watch, a tan like he just got back from the Bahamas, a nice build which meant he was probably an even bigger asshole, a little gray, but not a lot. Late thirties, maybe forties. Most likely had a real high maintenance wifey, his son had soft blond curls, a pretty cute kid.
I saw him put down his phone, rubbing his temples, obviously stressed.
“Great,” I thought. “Here we go.” I put on my waitress face, wishing I could stab him with my pen under that sweet smile, opened my book, pulled out my piece of paper.
“Miss.” he said.
“Uh hum.” I said, not looking up.
“Miss.” he said.
I looked up.
“I am so sorry I just did that to you. I am so very sorry. That was wrong of me.”
He looked like he had just killed my cat. I hadn’t seen this coming at all. He looked sad and I was shocked, my waitress face forgotten, and my heart went out to the guy. An apology, I thought, and a real one. I felt the sincerity, excited to tell my friend at the chip machine. No one ever apologizes to servers.
I said something witty in return, joking that if it happened again, he would have to order off the kids menu.
His son laughed out loud.
That made him smile, rubbing his kid’s head roughly, the mood of the table suddenly light and happy.
“Do you still have that one burger?” he asked. His menu was unopened.
What kind of question is that I thought, but responded with, “Yes, sir. If you open up your menu, you might see it on the burger page.” His son laughed again. He ordered the Country Fried Steak, without even opening the menu, explaining how he was just wondering about the burger. Why would you wonder about a burger? I saw regret on his face and my intuition told me he ordered the wrong thing.
His son was so polite and sweet, asking for steak off the adult menu, using words like please and thank you, and knew his steak temperature, stating his sides as if to make sure that were okay with me.
“Thank you for saying please,” I told him. I always praise children for that. There are few left these days.
“He is nine,” his Dad says, as if we weren’t just doing fine on our own.
“Well, I have a 8 year old and 4 year old myself,” I chatted, collecting the menus, and I got back to work, catching up on the refills and food coming out the kitchen.
I noticed as I passed him a few times that his son and him were both laid out, feet on the other side of the bench, shoulders touching, his hands were rubbing his son’s head softly, and once I saw him coloring, asking him if he could borrow the red crayon. I smiled, trying not to.
I refilled his tea, and yes, in spite of myself, looked for a ring.
No ring.
I brought out the food, which his son ate in small bites, his Country Fried Steak had not been touched, pushed away, his phone back for a couple of short intervals, at one point, he was staring intently at me while I was at another table. I grabbed the tea pitcher thinking he must have been thirsty. His drink was full to the rim and I suddenly wondered, “Was he staring at me?” The thought made me blush, something I hate, especially when I know I have no idea if he really were to begin with. He told me to take my time, he was in no rush even though it was late for his son to be out, asked me if it had been busy, and then he confused me.
“You know.” He cleared his throat. “My son here, well, he was in here last night. He was with his mom and he said you were his waitress, didn’t you say that, son?” The little boy nodded, uninterested in anything but his steak.
I said, “Really? I can’t believe I don’t remember! Are you sure? There are a lot of blond waitresses working the floor.”
“Oh no. He is sure, aren’t you?” The kid put another piece of steak in his mouth. “He even ate the same thing. But, he was with his mom, so maybe you didn’t notice because well, he was with his mom.”
I smiled, wondering why the hell he was telling me this. “I certainly will remember next time. He is a doll.”
He had really nice eyes. I noticed them when he was telling me how great his untouched food was.
He clearly had no game at all. I liked that. I liked that he had surprised me, that I had been wrong about him. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my friend, dropping a check, picking up his credit card.
So, I brought napkins, and cups, and refills, and finally realized I must be nuts thinking I was any more than a really good waitress, so I got back to work, a little sad to see his empty little table, my mouth dropping at the ridiculously kind tip.
It was then my friend saw me, walked over, helping me grab the glasses and wipe the table.
“God, was that guy in to you.” I stopped her from walking.
“Why would you say that?” I asked, trying not to sound desperate. She laughed. “You should have seen his face when it wasn’t you who brought his payment. He waited around for you like a little kid. Girl, it was obvious.”
I wanted to beat my head on the table, wondering how long this single dating madness can go on for, if I should have brought him the burger he wanted anyways, suggest he drop his son off with his mom, and in between filling drinks, tell him to take me home and have his way with me.
Damn my best lines come in bed eating fritos typing on my Macbook.
For all the Burger men out there, the ones with no game, please stop aggravating your servers. Talk on your phones, order the wrong things, tip really well. Just don’t leave without giving them a chance to say yes, and don’t come back unless you will. I would have given you one big sloppy fat interrupted yes.
To any of you who believe you are Burger men, who do have game, this one is not for you. God, I have always wanted to say this. Keep your mouth shut, tip your server without checking out her breasts, and walk out nicely, or choose Taco Mac, right down the street.
Wow. That felt pretty damn good.

One thought on “Were you in to me, Burger Man?

  1. Love this. Made me smile! I like the “Girl, it was obvious.” Was it Ann??? Please tell me it was!!! Miss u!

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