A great guy asked me to marry him today. Too bad I didn’t know him.
He is one of our sort-of regulars at lunch. I say sort-of, because he only comes in when he is part of a large corporate luncheon that happens every so often at my restaurant. Actually, I didn’t really remember him even as his marriage proposal was unfolding, but my co-worker assured me he has been courting me for months.
“Are you kidding me?” she said, sounding exasperated with my ignorance. “Every time he’s in here he has an excuse to come over and talk to you. He stares at you from across the room. He’s totally in love!”
“Yeah, wow, I wish I could say I remembered,” I said. Isn’t it always the ones we don’t want, or in this case, don’t even know?
“So what was it today? I saw him over here with you.”
“He needed a safety pin, so we dug through the podium drawer together looking for one.”
“Oh no! You actually let him see what was in the podium drawer?”
Ah yes, there’s nothing quite like a restaurant podium drawer–picture any number of scratched and smudged reading glasses, at least one pair of designer sunglasses that the hosts beg to make their own, one or two sets of car keys (really, who forgets car keys–for days?), assorted greasy tubes of lip gloss in varying shades from pale pink to vivid coral, unsharpened pencils, the broken-off bottom of a grease pen, a half pack of gum, a calculator, TV remotes for the bar televisions, and an empty tin of mints. And that’s just what’s visible on top of all the job application forms, envelopes, sticky pads, paper clips and God only knows what else because I am too scared to dig too far down.
“Oh, yes! He even poked through the paperclip cup on his own.”
My co-worker was speechless for a moment, then asked, “So did you find a safety pin?”
“No, but he said he’d make do with the hem of his suit pants coming unraveled to the point that he would trip in front of the others and make a total fool of himself,” I laughed, because that’s exactly what he’d said.
“I know where some are. Should I get one?” smiled my co-worker in a knowing kind of way.
We both gazed at my betrothed to whom I did not yet know I was almost betrothed. The large group was still milling about the foyer, and he was among them, albeit standing quite still, I guess in an effort not to pull out his pants’ hem any further.
“Absolutely,” I told her.
She returned with two, dropped them in my hand, and said, “Go get him!”
My fiance who was not yet my fiance was deep in serious conversation about local politics and the upcoming election. So I gently tapped his arm. He turned around so fast he almost bumped into me.
“Here,” I said, holding out the two safety pins in the palm of my hand.
I thought he was going to kiss me. “Thank you!” he breathed more than said.
I walked back to the podium, triumphant in my superb guest service, and winked at my co-worker. To which she frowned and said, “You are taking full credit for that, aren’t you, you little hussy!”
After the large party was seated, lunch service evolved as it always does–quick hit for an hour, then calm. As the calm was setting in, another gentleman from the large party approached the podium. “Who’s RG?” he asked, looking from me to my co-worker.
“I am,” I answered, a little puzzled.
“Oh, Michael said I was to ask specifically for you, because you can do absolutely anything!”
My co-worker tried, without success, not to laugh aloud at this.
“Can you stamp my parking ticket?” he asked.
That’s right, only I can really do it all.
“I told you he is all about you!” laughed my co-worker as the guest walked away, stamped and happy. “He is ALWAYS hitting on you, and now he’s sending his pals to ask after his girlfriend!”
“He does NOT always hit on me, and today was just silly,” I countered.
“He hits on you every damn time he’s here, and don’t say you don’t remember!”
“No, no and NO!” I said, now laughing so hard I was a little out of control. Which, of course, was when my admirer and his pal walked toward the front foyer. There was no way they didn’t hear us laughing and carrying on about him.
Yeah, we were busted. Because even he was chuckling as he approached me at the podium.
“I cannot thank you enough for saving the day with the safety pins,” he said, standing just a little too over the boundary of the comfort zone. “When are we getting married?”
I couldn’t help it, I started laughing all over again. I was not cute or suave or professional. I was laughing out of control, my face red, my eyes teary.
“Bye ladies,” said my fiance, grinning at me as he walked out the side door.
“Oh, I am so fired,” I laughed, wiping the tears from my eyes.
“Yeah, you are. But who cares? You’re getting married! Can I be the matron of honor since I helped arrange it? I look great in pink!”
Would that romance was always that easy. And hilarious.