Middle aged woman (MAW): (Settles at table in cafe. Waiter comes over.) Could I have a cup of tea please?
Waiter: I'm sorry we don't do cake any more, if you were wanting cake.
MAW.: (surprised at the sudden introduction of negative ideas) It's okay. I'll order some lunch in a bit. I just want tea for now.
Waiter: (funereal) We used to do cake. We don't now.
MAW: I know. I'd noticed. It's a shame. But never mind. We middle-aged woman need all the help we can get to stay on the right side of Sumo wrestler!
Waiter: (Completely ignores joke. Is not a fan of stand-up comedy.) I did tell them. I said, 'We'll lose customers if you get rid of the cakes.' And we did. We've lost all the regulars.
MAW: Oh, I'm sorry.
Waiter: This place is going to the dogs, to be honest.
MAW: Oh, I ...
Waiter: No one listens to me, though. I've been here for years, and no one has ever listened to my ideas. It would be a completely different place if I was running it. People would want to come. They'd flock in. I'd know how to get them here.
MAW: (desperately cheery) Oh, well. Chin up! I'm here!
Waiter: Yes, but no one else is, are they? And no doubt you'd have liked cake. And there's no hot food either.
MAW: Oh, really? I thought ...
Waiter: No, the menu's completely changed. All we have is sandwiches. It's rubbish.
MAW: I don't mind a sandwich. Have you got a menu? I'll have a look.
Waiter: I'll have to print one off for you. The others were all dirty. Can't use dirty menus. Although they would if they had a chance.
MAW: (glad of a break) Okay, you go and print one off then. Thank you.
SHORT AND MOST WELCOME INTERMISSION.
Waiter: I'm back. Here's your menu. I think we've got everything on it. We might not have. I've been on the phone all morning complaining to the office about it all. Lack of ingredients. No one else here to help me. I hate it here.
MAW: (Considers saying, 'Have you thought about training as an undertaker instead?' but holds back.) I'll just have the tea for now. I'll get a sandwich in a minute. (Starts to get marking pile out of bag, hoping he'll go.)
Waiter: At least it's quiet in here. You're lucky. If we do get customers, they're usually mums with screaming brats.
MAW: Oh! I came at the right time, then. I've got some marking to do. (Hopes the change of topic might help move the conversation away from suicidal thoughts.)
Waiter: Drives you mad, all the screaming, it does.
MAW: I'm sure.
Waiter: (Sighs the biggest sigh on Earth. Seems to remember his role, as though it's a surprise to him.) Best go and get your tea, then. (Trudges towards kitchen, as though dragging a ball and chain.)
What I loved particularly about this whole episode was the way in which he was convinced the cafe would be buzzing if he were in charge. Can you imagine?
|Gerald wonders whether to introduce a 'Happy Hour' at his cafe|
Today's experience reminded me of the 'Two Soups' sketch with Julie Walters. It makes me laugh and laugh, however many times I watch it. It's here on Youtube and it's about six minutes long. A very worthwhile six minutes.