In a previous entry I have talked about my Friday lunch ritual. In case you don't care enough to go back and read it: some of my coworkers and I go to the same restaurant, very near where we work, every Friday. It is our Friday lunch ritual. It started with just 3 of us, but these days we usually wind up as 6 or more.
There has, in the last few weeks, been a bit of interplay between a particular waitress and I. It began when I called her my hero for bringing me waffles. Mandingo were they good waffles.
The week after that we were originally seated in her section and then were moved to another section. I said she was shunning us. Then two weeks ago I was sat in the back corner of our table. When she came to serve our food, I tried to get a rise out of her but she couldn't hear me over the din of the rest of the table. She accused me of shunning her.
So last week I made sure to sit near the outside of the table. "So you can hear my catcalls," I told her.
"Oh, great," she rolled her eyes in reply.
She told one of the other servers to watch out for me because I'm trouble. A short while later she presented me with a nametag which read "Trouble". It was not an official nametag, but it had the logo sticker and had been printed with the same labelmaker they use for their own nametags.
We have 3 university students at work for the summer. I invited them along to Friday lunch. The rest of the crew went on ahead while I waited for the students because one of them was having trouble saving her file. "Two years of engineering education," I asked, " and they didn't teach you how to save a file?"
By the time we got to the restaurant, the other crew had taken a table for two too few people. "No problem," I said, and dragged a table halfway across the restaurant to create a table for four. I sat down with the summer students. We were jokingly refered to as "the kiddie table." Or maybe not so jokingly.
Although my hero was not serving us this week, she made a special trip over to chat with me. I guess she's just a glutton for punishment. I chatted with other servers. The owner came over and accused us of not being loud enough. I said it was because M and I had been split up. He has officially forbidden us to sit at separate tables from now on.
Through all of this the three summer students, who are all a little shy, I think, were watching, somewhat astonished. "At what point do you start forming these relationships?" one asked.
"Well, for me, pretty much as soon as I walk through the door. You know, they just sort of... happen automatically."
"So, " another observed, quite astutely, "you harass them until they find it amusing?"
"Pretty much," I replied. "How's it working on you guys? Not that bad, I guess. I mean, you accepted my invitation to lunch."
"Ah, " the third cut in, "but the real test will be whether we accept next time."