Saturday, March 25, 2006

I Feel a Blog Coming On...

So this is the kind of random venting I had planned not to indulge in here too much, fearing that once I started I might not be able to stop, but for reasons that will become clear later, I decided to take the risk this time.
Pratt has been on Spring Break all this week, and since it has become my main source of income of late, the result was I too was on "break" like it or not. Oh let’s be honest, I liked it just fine. I can entertain myself for months at a time, boredom is rarely a problem, lack of income is the problem. The odd thing about my life in NYC at this point though is how easy it is for me to go days without having real contact with another person. My roommate has been gone a lot, and when he’s here, he’s usually with his girlfriend or on the phone with her, so my one expected bit of human interaction isn’t very interactive.
I had made sure to go out each day this week to do something in the larger world, just so I didn’t spend the entire week in my jammies, but even so, I’d say I was pretty isolated. Sitting next to a stranger on the subway, or at an adjoining table in a café isn’t really contact.
So I decided tonight that I would go out to eat at a nice restaurant, one of my favorites, Café Loup, in Chelsea. I never mind eating alone, and thought it would get me at least around other people in a slightly more relaxed, social environment. I went early enough in the evening (it being a Saturday) that a one count table wouldn’t be hard to squeeze in, or annoy anyone. The staff was as kind as always, though I have to admit my waiter was more than a little flaky, but he got the job done. My complaint doesn’t lie there. Soon after I sat down, the hostess seated two men at the table directly to my right. This is New York, so all the tables are just a bit closer together than my small town sensibilities would prefer, but I’ve come to accept this without too much trouble in my twenty odd years of living in cities. This did mean however that I was more privy to this couple's behavior than I would have liked. One of them immediately asked the hostess if they could have a different table, and she said that she needed the three count for three people. I thought she answered briskly, but politely, but the man questioning her (after she left) let it be known to his companion that he didn’t care for... the situation, her attitude, not getting his way, I’m not sure. I was trying not to listen, because I could tell I had already taken a dislike to him, but something had his knickers in a twist, he had suffered quite the outrage apparently. Then when the waiter came, they asked if they could have the table on my left, which was in the corner (less exposed, I guess), the waiter checked and found it out was already reserved, so no. He then took the initiative to see if he could put them in a different corner table, but when he went to check, the man doing all the asking (whinging, sniveling, getting on my wick) let his companion know this was not acceptable either, and they might as well just stay where the hell they were. Goody for me. The waiter came back, told them he could seat them there if they liked, and they declined, reasonably politely to be fair, thanking him for taking the trouble, but it was clear that at least one of them felt the evening was now shot. After that they didn’t really do much else to piss me off, though snitty guy did ask for a glass of Chardonnay with ‘rocks on the side’, which wouldn’t have bothered me if he hadn’t already pissed me off, but seriously, what the hell is that? Get the damn wine with ice or not, you pretentious twit. I should admit that these guys came across as very effete, stuffy, snotty individuals, the kind I used to think gave homosexuals (me) a bad name until I realized what a stupid thing that was to say or think about a person. Assholes cut across all demographics.
But yes, some internalized homophobia of mine was momentarily triggered by them, then I just accepted that they were condescending complainers who I could be annoyed by without it being an affront to homos everywhere. I’ve been particularly impatient of late with this kind of patronizing arrogance, people behaving like their every want or (stupid, affected, supercilious) need was not being sufficiently catered to, but I was pretty sure I now had it under control.
Then the couple arrived who had reserved the table to my left (the corner one coveted by snitty guy and friend). They were an older couple, a man and a woman, I’m pretty sure from out of town, and I think this was their first French restaurant. The woman went to the ladies first, and when the waiter came to see if the gentleman wanted a drink, he went into something of a panic, thinking he should order for his lady friend, but not sure what she wanted, he was pretty sure she would want a soda, but he wasn’t sure which kind... but yes, he’d like a glass of wine, oh, this one looks good, how about that? When his friend returned, he anxiously called the waiter back over, but at least was polite and kind when he arrived. She ordered ‘a diet soda’ which after quite a bit of discussion turned out to mean diet Coke.
Once it became time for them to order food, however, there was again a certain amount of anxiety and uncertainty. The lady didn’t know what Mesclun salad was, and the waiter’s explanation left her even more mystified, another salad on the menu had cold beets which she loathed (she said this several times after the waiter left with their order), so she and her companion each ordered a simple house salad, and fairly risk-free entrees. When the salads arrived, the waiter left the pepper grinder for them, a habit which Café Loup seems to have introduced recently, and which I heartily applaud; I’ve always found the whole ritual of someone applying pepper for me just a little weird; "would Monsieur care for some sugar in his coffee? Shall I butter Monsieur’s bread?" This momentarily stymied and disgruntled Ms. Out-of-Towner however, and she was even more stymied by using the damn thing. Christ on a crutch lady, it’s a wooden pepper grinder, how exotic is that? Then she buttered her bread to discover to her displeasure that the butter was unsalted. THEN SALT THE DAMN BUTTER FOR GOD’S SAKE.
This was when I started to face facts. Affected, complaining Chardonnay guzzlers on one side of me, awkward yet harmless rubes on the other side of me... they weren’t really the problem here, were they. My first thought was, Daddy needs to get out of TOWN, but the real answer is probably, Daddy needs to work. If we don’t count the art modeling (and believe me, I don’t) and some odd readings (and I do mean odd) it’s been eight months since I’ve really done any acting. This is part of the boom and bust cycle of the business, I’m not expecting sympathy (I swear), but wow, I hadn’t fully acknowledged what a misanthropic jerk it seemed to be making me. The thing that kept me from behaving completely inappropriately, telling Chardonnay snorter to put his ‘rocks’ where the monkey hid the nuts, say, or offering to find a CHIMP who could show Madam how to use the DAMN PEPPER GRINDER, the one thought that kept me from misbehaving was "I can write about this on my blog, I can write about this on my blog..."

1 comment:

Greg said...

Ha ha...this is FUN. Speaking as a (former) waiter, there's nothing to inspire misanthropy than the up-close-and-personal chance to study self-important people and their behavior in restaurants.