The going-away party in the PDR was in full swing on Wednesday. And it was going well. Except the going-away girl had the same first name as my older-than-dirt cat, and I found myself constantly referring to her aloud with the same intonation that I use for said cat when he is getting on my nerves.
“Mom, you didn’t,” said Restaurant Gal Daughter when I told her. “Not every time you said her name, right?” Um, sure RGD. Not every time….
The group was fun, low-key, until He arrived. I guess every group has to have Him or Her–the ass, the buffoon, the complete and total jerk who is such a jerk, even his friends know it and apologize for him before, during and after his presence in their midst.
Such was Green Alert, so named because he sported a bright green shirt. Oh, and he was truly an ass.
First, he walked in with three bottles of wine, late, of course. “I know I should only have brought one, but I decided what the hell, and brought as many as I felt like!” Right. Double corkage for you, pal.
Second, he dismissed our cocktail server with a “I’m talking. Wait,” order that was more of a growl, when she tried to take a drink order from him. Right. Now you can just wait fifteen minutes for that drink, my pompous little fool.
Third, he was loud. Loud in the kind of way you wonder if he’s hard of hearing. Then you realize, no, he’s just enjoying hearing his own voice lording over the conversation.
Fourth, he made the most seasoned pro server on our staff bad mouth him. This is a server who is so kind, so polite, so old-school, he would never, EVER say anything about any guest. Until this one. “Get me away from him, Restaurant Gal,” he implored more than once. “I can’t take him anymore! I mean it.”
No worries. His friends knew he had pushed far beyond the limits of his litter-box manners. They sent him packing toward the podium just before the “She’s a Jolly Good Fellow” singing ensued.
I saw him cozy up to one of the hosts and knew an immediate intervention was in order.
“Hi, how’s the party going back there?” I smiled at him.
“Oh, great,” he boomed. “I’m just taking a break for a minute.”
Yes, of course.
“Did I hear correctly that you are opening a restaurant in the suburbs? Have you been in the business for a while?”
One thing about the pompous among us, you only need to ask one question about something personal, and there’s no need to come up with any more. It’s off and running, baby.
Thus, I learned, in roughly ten minutes, the following personal details of Green Alert’s life:
* He was married, divorced, and is now remarried. And the first divorce still pains him.
* He is an attorney.
* He says he knows wine and fine dining.
* He throws names of cities, restaurants, and types of cuisine around to make you feel inferior when you haven’t heard of them.
* He was going to open a place ten years ago, but then the divorce, and his practice, and well, it was ten years later.
* No, he’s never run or owned a restaurant before. He’s a lawyer.
* He’s confident his place will be spot-on because, he said, now in a somewhat quieter voice, “It will be just the kind of place I want to hang out in all the time. And I’ll own it!”
And at that moment, I felt a little sorry for him. Because if your so-called friends routinely apologize for you and eventually send you on a cooked-up errand in order to take a break from you, you really do need a place to call your own.
And he will have it, in a few months. I fear he may be the sole guest, employee, and chef. But maybe that will work best for him.
It was with this perspective that I pondered the group that swept in two nights later, dressed in shimmering ball gowns and white ties, expecting drinks and “a little something” a half hour after the kitchen closed on our busiest night, yet. And they got all they wanted and more, and stayed very, very late. Because, after all, one among them was an investor.
We knew, without question, how this night–or any night in the future, for that matter–would play out when he is in the house.
Any way he wants.
He owns this place.