So I've been off for a week. I went away and stayed with a friend, had a good time, but really enjoyed coming home and sleeping in my own bed. Ma Finch, knowing I was off, had all sorts of ambitious plans for me and I had to explain to her that I'd been out of town and I was tired and I desperately needed to recharge my batteries (which means taking the phone off the hook and sleeping a lot). Today was my last day to sleep in but my cellphone started pinging at 10:30. I told everyone that this was my last day to deal with the horror that is my apt, lent my transit pass to a friend to ensure that I would stay close to home and not succumb to the blandishments of cozy pubs downtown, and started the laundry. SO MUCH LAUNDRY. And the piles had become confused so for my sins I was compelled to perform the sniff test in many cases.
So last night, to celebrate the last of my week off, I went out to meet two friends at a pub. This place is NOT a dive bar (not that I have anything against dive bars, since that is where most of my drinking time is spent), so it's a bit of treat for me to go there. It's still a cozy casual pub but they have a truly impressive list of beers and wine, all locally sourced, and food that is consistently excellent and way better than the usual pub fare. And we were sitting on the patio, which is one of the nicest in the city as it is behind the pub, so far away from the street (no exhaust fumes or particulate matter in your food), shaded by a big beautiful canopy, and just a delightful place to be. BUT.
The table to my left, peopled with 3 guys (over 40, so theoretically old enough to know better), was having issues. Why I did not quite understand, but it had something to do with chicken wings: yes, they were in the middle of causing a stink over chicken wings, which god knows are cheap and plentiful and hardly the food for dissent. I didn't quite catch what the problem was: whether they hadn't got them fast enough, or they couldn't get the exact number of chicken wings they wanted, but it appeared that what they were fussing about was inconsequential and something that the pub didn't do for exactly that reason. They harassed their very nice server, telling him that he needed to do something to make them happy, and that he needed to throw in something for free to keep them from going somewhere else, and that if he wouldn't give them what they wanted he had better send the manager out. At this point I was frothing with outrage but the server took all this with nary a murmur, and he did send out the manager, who is also incidentally the chef. She handled it brilliantly. She listened gravely to their idiotic complaints, explained to them why what they wanted simply was not something they could do, tactfully but firmly defended the reputation of her server, and said that she was sorry they had had a bad experience and could she get anything else for them? I was so impressed I can't tell you. I had been this close to turning around in my chair and saying loudly (and remember I am an uptight non-demonstrative WASP who never causes scenes) "What in the name of Jesus Tap-dancing Christ is your problem?!?" But I figured the last thing the staff needed was two patrons yelling at each other, and I didn't want to embarrass the people I was with, so I kept a lid on it, not without some difficulty. Anyway, since the manager had politely declined to offer them the moon, the guys sulkily paid up and left, and I am sure they stiffed their server. Fine, I thought. Go up to the Falcon & Firkin and see if they're more understanding about your little ways concerning chicken wings. I was so incensed. I talked to the server and the manager later, on my way out, just to tell them how impressed I was at how well they had dealt with the situation, and they both said magnanimously that the guy might just have been having a bad day, which was way more generous than I would have been.
Then I was talking to my friend Sherry this morning and she was in tears from an encounter at work the previous day. Sherry works in high-end retail at a very famous shop that sells bras, bathing suits, and lingerie: you have to make an appt to get a fitting and there's no way you walk in there under the impression that this will be a bargain shop. I bought a bra there a couple of years ago and you get your own dressing room, a professional fitter (well worth the price), the works. Anyway she got a customer who wanted the suit she wanted at the price she wanted, which in that store is not necessarily going to work out in your favour. Sherry brought her the suits she liked, she sent them back because they were too expensive. She brought in suits at a lower price point, the customer sent them back because they "weren't as nice". At one point she shook her fist in Sherry's direction and said "What aren't you getting about this? I don't have the money!", the unfortunate reality being that if you don't have the money, you shouldn't be in that store. In the end, complaining all the way, she bought two suits, and made a special effort to talk to the store manager to mention that Sherry had made her feel "like a complete loser because she didn't have the money". UGH WHAT IS WITH PEOPLE.