Happy Birthdays and Weird Service

One of my son’s birthdays is the day before mine. Another son’s birthday is Christmas Day. And of course another son was basically born on the 4th of July. Very poor planning on my part, I know.

Tonight we went out for dinner to celebrate the day-apart birthdays. The restaurant has good food, sushi mainly, very urban feel, Edison bulb light fixtures, all that.

The employees though? Odd. After being seated the busboy came over and began pouring our water, “something to drink?” “Yes, the white peach sangria please…”  Busboy: “I am so flattered you’d think so, but I’m not a server. I cannot take your order, I’m just a busboy.”

Huh? Then why ask if we want “something to drink?” I look out on the patio, one of the employees is dancing?

The server comes over, “Have you eaten here before?” And then explains the menu …it is weird. Not labeled or organized well. No big deal, we can deal with that.

One son orders a steak, and the server fails to point out that it is a “hot rock” meal, meaning you cook it yourself on, yes, a hot rock at the table. So the steak comes out. Sliced. Looks like maybe three ounces. Ok.

The food is yummy. The busboy keeps startling us, appearing out of nowhere and asking questions, then hovering. And hovering. And hovering. Chatting, or trying to chat with us. We were polite but we didn’t really want to be. I said “thank you” enough times to dismiss am entire staff.

The number of times per year I eat at a restaurant with all three sons can be counted on one hand. We wanted the busboy to be helpful, unobtrusive and quiet. I know I sound cranky. Maybe I am. I just wanted to hang out with my kids!

We leave. Steak-ordering son: “I could have sworn I ordered steak. I’m so surprised they brought out cook-it-yourself bacon strips. What is up with that?? And that busboy. Was he trained for a horror film? And what is with that stupid menu? What happened with left to right, top to bottom reading? Why would a menu need explaining? Isn’t that counter-productive?” I can’t communicate his intonation, but the rest of us were laughing throughout his diatribe.

I don’t care. I got to have dinner with four of my kids. That’s what counts.

But, as usual, Nat made the best of the situation and ate the hotdogs she brought from home:



Nicely done, Nat. Nicely done.


2 thoughts on “Happy Birthdays and Weird Service

  1. Nat, eating hotdogs with chopsticks while listening to her headphones. A good way to let the busboy know, “I’m not interested in chatting with you, thank you very much.” A good tactic to try the next time you go to that restaurant. Next week?

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