Three firsts this week:
–A customer got very, very angry with me and slammed money on the counter, spitting out the words in her heavy French accent, “This is for you, even though it was all terrible. Terrible!”
–I won two out of three games of bowling. Understand, I haven’t bowled in years, and before that, not so much!
–Rouletta had a blind date with her fiance Rocky, and it was clear from their first face-to-face greeting that theirs is a match made in the Keys.
I am not sure how it has happened, but my social sphere here in the Keys has suddenly expanded in a nice way. The couple I met in Fort Lauderdale at my dive bar has gotten in touch. As a result, I have another cool girlfriend who, like me, is new to the area. This gives us much in common, not the least of which is a mutual determination to learn how to fish so we can enter tournaments. My angler step father and former fisherman father-in-law are surely peering aghast from their heavenly perches, wondering how it is the girl who wouldn’t step a toe on a docked boat is excited to learn how to reel ’em in from the Keys waters.
“We only have two lady anglers in tomorrow’s tournament,” said the organizer of an event being launched at an outdoor bar and pub, where Rouletta and Rocky had just met.
“So you mean my girlfriend and I would already be tied for third place had we entered it this year?” I laughed.
“Pretty much,” he agreed. Guaranteed bragging rights. Perfect.
Bowling came about the night before, when several of us met up for happy hour. My new girlfriend and a bartender pal decided bowling was the ideal post cheap-beer-and-wine activity. Highlights included my being carded by a woman who asked me if I knew I was within a few months of her age, hahaha, and renting some pretty cool bowling shoes. Oh, and throwing a strike or two and several spares. Not that I am competitive or anything….
The nicest event this week was Rouletta’s blind date with her now-finace Rocky the French Bulldog. We’ve been joking about it for weeks, but it turns out the dogs really do like each other–unusual for my diva pup, to whom other dogs are merely an unpleasant reminder that she is one of them.
Rocky arrived with a flower tucked in his collar as a gift for Rouletta. It came apart almost immediately as they touched noses, the pink petals fluttering all over the place.
“I think that’s a sign of good luck,” I laughed.
Before the early, quiet night was over, I had met a local artist, several boat captains, and a slew of other locals, all of whom asked when and where the dogs’ wedding would take place, and where were they registered? Which led to a discussion about a rehearsal dinner, and then someone offering to host an engagement party. Yes, it’s a tad quiet in these parts when perfect strangers are suddenly akin to extended family–all over a dog wedding.
As for the irate customer, she must have been angry long before she landed in my restaurant. We were busy, and she said her food took too long. We were busy, and she said her fries were cold. We were busy, and she said the salad wasn’t fresh enough.
We were busy, and I had no patience for her whining demands from the moment she sat down. Because I had warned all my tables, including hers, that the food would take a while longer. I knew her fries were fresh out of the fryer, and I had personally tossed the salad a minute before I served it. We were busy, so I auto-grated her. Which triggered her tantrum.
“Thank you, ma’am!” I smiled brightly as she slapped money on the counter and looked as though she wanted to slap me.
Just go away, I smiled to myself. Go far, far away. Because not even you can ruin what has been a perfectly peaceful and wonderful week.