Tonight at work (I work at a semi-bogan pub just outside of the city) there was almost noone booked into the restaurant except for this one big table. It was supposed to be twelve people but only nine showed up and the woman who'd organised it was late and kept calling us telling us she was still on her way but she had been held back because of trying to get her 'boot' over her broken foot.
She told us to give everyone cocktails and she had this crazy posh british accent. We tried to offer people cocktails but they didn't really seem like cocktail kind of people. Some people asked for something 'lemony' and so we gave them margaritas and then they asked for lemonade and tried to mix it with them so that they'd be sweeter and then asked if they could have something else. I gave them a Midori Splice and they loved that.
They had organised a set menu from the food on the menu that's actually good which noone usually ever orders because all anyone ever wants is just chicken parmiganas and fish and chips and I was confused because a few of them turned up early (and ordered cappuccinos and scraped off all of their chocolate because they were 'allergic' to the chocolate even though then they should have just ordered a flat white) and they seemed, apart from being kind of strange, definitely way more like bogans than rich people. They had organised to have two bottles of wine between the twelve of them and the booking was under 'Bridge' so I made the wilful assumption that they were part of some 'Bridge (the card game) Club'. It turned out bridge was just her last name and it had nothing to do with any kind of club. My name is Mary and there was one girl there who was disabled and her name was Mary too and it was really confusing because they kept saying my name all the time followed by really bizarre/patronising statements which i kept almost responding to.
One of the ladies who'd turned up early (who'd ordered cappuccinos) walked past the kitchen the chef had laughed and said 'did you see that?' and i was like 'what?!' and he was like 'What was she wearing' and I was like 'A mu-mu' (she was relatively large and it kind of was a mu-mu) and he said 'Her dress looked like the cirque de solei tent!'. It was true. Anyway she didn't strike me as the type who would be wanting to eat anything from our menu apart from the normy pub food.. the kind of person who would be like 'That was the best salt and pepper squid i've ever had in my life' like every time she ate salt and pepper squid.
Then some other people from the booking turned up but they walked straight past the tent lady and went outside and chain smoked. There were a number of groups of three who all turned up separately, including an indian couple, two massive british women wearing mu-mu kind of things (they reminded me of the two fat ladies from that cooking show and one had a fan that she kept pulling out of her hand bag and every time she would say 'did you know that this fan is worth $25000 dollars?!), two older british men one of whom they kept referring to as 'the doctor', a couple of blonde middle aged normy looking ladies, one of whom seemed really upset when i told her i didn't think we had any tooth picks, and an italian looking woman, and the disabled woman with my name.
Anyway it was a really bizarre group of people who didn't even seem to know eachother at all, but some of them seemed to know eachother. It definitely wasn't a birthday. I had in mind to go and ask them 'what the big occasion was!' but never quite found the right moment to do so.
They stuck around for a long time and conscequently I was stuck alone in the restaurant with nothing to do but ponder why on earth they were there for a long time and I really came up with nothing by the end of it. It was very clear that everything had been organised by this one british woman, who seemed to somehow know everyone, but they were just telling stories and chatting like old friends - except they didn't know eachother.. and noone goes to a birthday dinner and doesn't mention whose birthday it is, so it wasn't business or birthday and I couldn't really think of any other reason why you'd take 12 people who didn't really know eachother out to dinner.
At the end of the night she tried to pay with AMEX and it turned out that our machines didn't take amex even though we had little amex books to give the bills out with and she got a bit flustered about that because she didn't seem to have any other cards and then other people started offering to pay and that made her even more flustered and then she offered to write a cheque and we said that would be fine. While she was writing the cheque she asked for the date and then made some comment about it. She gave me $40 worth of change and told me I could keep $20 for a tip and to give her a $20 note back. Then she said thank you for making it a nice night for her. She asked me to check and make sure she'd written the details on her cheque right. She said 'When i asked for the date I couldn't believe I'd asked and then when I was writing the numbers I couldn't even listen to what anyone was saying or concentrate on anything anymore so please make sure that I've written it all right. I used to be a really wonderful business woman. But you know, I'm really glad that tonight has been a nice night for me, thank you for your help. You know, this night three years ago my husband went out walking the dog and he was just almost right back outside our house when he was killed. This was the night Jim and the dog died. There was a 17 yrold with marijuana, ecstasy and alcohol in his system and flew forty meters in the air and his shoes fell off because he did his shoes up loose because he was in the navy and that boy killed my husband and my dog and noone even stopped and called an ambulance or did anything or got any help. And you know, we found him on facebook and he had his 18th birthday party a few weeks later and he didn't even care. And he lost his license and got six months of good behaviour but he was just a kid. But he never cared. He wasn't affected by it at all. And I lost Jim and the dog. So thank you for making it a nice night tonight."