waiting on tables, watching you.

waiting on tables, with nothing else one is allowed/suppose to do such as reading feminist methodology or watching Dr. Who, one resort to the only thing one can do, watching people. people who comes in through the door, makes a clinging sound from the vibration of the wind-chimes. couples, straight, gay, sad, groups of friends, families, single parent with babies, and one little girl who come and eat by herself. a theme cannot help but form from all the people watching. asian (straight) couples usually order really fast, eat, and play on their iphones with very little conversation and eye contact with each other. caucasion couples (gay and otherwise) are usually absorbed with each other, it’s very difficult for them to force their gaze onto to the menu, and they stay on longer after the meal to bask in the lovely time and each other. as a waiter, waiting on Caucasian, more precisely europeans, americans and australians are more rewarding then waiting on asians and others, mainly because they pay you notice. they look at you and smile, when you say ‘it’s a lovely day’ they respond, and sometimes we can have conversations covering topics of sake-making, the cosmopolitan of melbourne and the best eating places in spain. and sometimes they leave you £10 tips. it’s not the tips that makes it enjoyable. it was the human interaction. why? i sometimes wonder, is it culture…this is where we will diverge onto debates on fluidity of culture, impact of globalization and capitalism and reminders that people back in my kampung are very friendly with strangers too…but whether or not you pay me notice, know that i am watching you, when i’m not running like a headless chicken to the kitchen, wiping tables or serving drinks, i am watching you. i see that you are filled with sadness,  poking at your food, staring forlornly at the door, waiting for someone you know isn’t coming. i see that you are agitated with your husband, you find fault with everything he pick on the menu and the screaming babies are not helping. i see that you are broke, you are choosing the cheapest thing on the menu, but you are afraid to ask me what it is, afraid i might judge you for being poor but wanting still to dine in a japanese restaurant, and i play along, pretending you know what you are doing, both of us in a role-play, hopefully you’ll have a meal with your dignity intact, i’m not so sure about your wallet though. the first few customers gets me at my most energetic but it is the last few that i usually ended up in a jovial interaction with, when the wind-chime winds down for the night.

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