Sunday, March 16th, 2003

An evening’s entertainment

Filed under: amusements,death,Suzanne — alison @ 11:52

Suzanne’s mother is dead; her father is dying. She is clearing out the family home in preparation for selling it to the highest bidder. Lineoleum is being pulled up, walls are being washed, cupboards and basements emptied and two lifetimes worth of accumulated stuff thrown away or given to the Rotary club. Hobby materials are the toughest: paintings and model boats gave meaning to the life of their maker, but that life is now over. The hobby materials do not evaporate but are left to the children to hard-heartedly toss in the dumpster.

In the guise of the sewing fairy, Suzanne came by last night bearing gifts. Sewing patterns from the fifties, sixties and seventies. Her mother was tall, so bought large-sized patterns I can use; more important, she had simple, classic tastes so I want to use them.

Attachments for my sewing machine: her mother’s Necchi went to another friend, but I got the attachments. Including a keyhole buttonholer! *Very* special! And a ruffler. The ruffler was bought for making curtains: in the pile of treasures were two books on soft furnishings and strings of orange bobble trim. Suzanne remembers the ruffled curtains in the kitchen. She also remembers the ruffler being turned to evil purposes once the curtains were hung, and being tortured with frilly dresses. I have twenty-first century plans for the ruffler but it will be used once again.

Books and books of knitting patterns for men’s cardigans A bag full of wool ends (dog sweaters!). Kniting needles. Darning needles. Snaps. A box of buttons.

A recipe book published by Lowney’s: 55 recipes for dainty marshmallows. I suspect I won’t be cooking much out of it, but perhaps it could be framed.

Everyday Etiquette by Amy Vanderbilt.

Scraps of vinyl left over from covering chairs. A little square of printed fabric probably intended to cover a small coffee table. Pre-printed fabric for embroidery. Embroidery floss.

Duvet covers from Germany. They are simple damask rectangles with embroidery and Suzanne’s Oma’s monogram at the foot end; all four sides and corners have buttonholes in them for attaching to a button-covered duvet.

Christmas time! Suzanne and I spent a happy afternoon opening packages, reliving and reconstructing the past and making sense of the present. And drinking beer.

We walked to a local artsy café for supper so that Suzanne would be okay to drive home. As soon as we sat down Suzanne announced that she disliked the waitress for treating us like dirt. Um, whatever, we’d just gotten there. We ordered.

Suzanne wasn’t having wine so the waitress brought her Perrier. She assumed it was free because she gets free bottled water at her neighbourhood Indian restaurant. Turns out it was $4.50. I had to ask for my tap water; in fact, I had to ask every time I wanted my glass filled.

The waitress got my order wrong. She brought us both what Suzanne had ordered. She was tight-lipped, not at all gracious when I asked for time to taste the food before having cheese grated or pepper ground onto it. She said she’d come back later, but had to be signalled and asked for the cheese; she promptly grated a huge mound of parmesan onto my meal with an electric grater, ruining the food. I abandoned any idea of getting pepper from her to balance the now much-too-salty meal.

Suzanne felt vindicated in her assessment of the waitress; I still defended her, saying she wasn’t a bad person – just someone who shouldn’t be a waitress, who didn’t grasp her role as hostess, who lived in her mind rather than feeding off the stimulation around her.

Guido Molinari was at the next table; the owner of the café introduced the waitress to him, who gushed her admiration of his work.

The waitress cleared our table, taking our napkins and bringing tisane. Um, our dessert? Apparently we hadn’t selected the dessert option. Yes, we had. We wanted dessert and had selected the dessert option. The waitress argued with us: we had asked for something not on the menu and she had arranged it specially for us. We were amazed: we had asked for no such thing. She angrily announced that she would have to go and get the owner to settle our dispute.

Okay, Suzanne was right. The waitress was not just spacy, she was narcissistic and treated us like dirt. A waiter came to our table, gave us our dessert for free (not what we’d asked for either – we just wanted dessert and to pay for what we got). He was very gracious, not obsequious, just a considerate host who wanted his guests to be happy.

Suzanne and I had a grand old time talking about the waitress. We speculated that she was an actress and was hired as a sort of jester to give patrons something to talk about, but Edsel Fung she ain’t.

On leaving the restaurant we tested the hypothesis that we were being hypercritical, getting sadistic pleasure out of tearing people to shreds, by going into a laundromat and criticizing it. But there was nothing to criticise: it was clean, the decor was nice, the music unobtrusive, the machines new, the change machine convenient, the bathroom large, the clientele polite. No, it was definitely the waitress.

We’ll be going back.

[originally transmitted by e-mail March 16, 2003]

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress