I had lunch today with a friend in Pacific Palisades at an Italian restaurant called Tivoli Cafe. The Palisades are not the hot bed of high cuisine, but there are a few nice places, and this was quite enjoyable. Nice decor, an outdoor patio, and my linguine pesto was very tasty. My friend got a tuna salad wrap -- which he liked, but it was very odd: he was served the tuna salad wrap and also was given a big side of...tuna salad! (He liked it, but needless-to-say, he took the side of tuna salad home.) The service was odd, as well. Generally very friendly, and quite attentive most of the time, but sometimes...I don't know, I'm scratching my head. It was clueless, which is strange because it wasn't all clueless. Some, as I said, was very attentive. And always friendly.
Here is the best example of what I mean. At one point, the waitress came over to refill my water glass. (She didn't come over on her own, I had to wave her down eventually. Not a huge deal.) As she was pouring, she missed the glass and spilled a lot of water on the floor. Again, not a huge deal, these things happen. She warned us about the water on the floor, so as not to slip on it. Fine, perfectly thoughtful.
I expected that she'd have a towel or something to clean it up. But she didn't, so I was curious if when she went back she would tell a busboy to get a mop. I waited -- but she didn't, no busboy. At the very least I thought maybe she'd come back over herself with a rag. She did come by...good...but then veered off elsewhere. I looked at the floor, covered in a couple puddles of water. Well, gee, I thought, that's messy and dangerous. And it was odd because it wasn't like she didn't know there was water on the floor and that it could be dangerous. She warned us, after all. But just left it be.
We went on with our meal. Eventually she came by to get an order from the table next to us. I couldn't take it any longer. Trying to be as polite as possible (I later asked my friend, he said that I passed the Polite Test), I called her over and said that while we were aware of the water on the floor, a new customer would not be, so it might be a good idea to clean up the water before somebody slipped on it. "Oh, thanks," she said, and went off to get a rag and mopped it up.
Mind you, what I wanted to say was, "Excuse me, but do you have literally no sense. You spilled half a glass of water into puddles on the floor and just left it?!! You know it's dangerous, she warned us. Do you not realize that if someone slipped on that and got injured, they could sue the restaurant? And if the owner found out you'd just left it, you could be out of a job. Is that how you live you life at home, that when you spill something all over the floor, even a glass of water, you just leave it there???" But I didn't say that. I passed the Polite Test.
It wasn't like she was a bad waitress -- she wasn't. She was half wonderful, and half oddly-clueless. And this was a totally clueless part. And I couldn't understand it. How do you spill half a glass of water, warn people, and then just leave it? Seriously, how??
But the restaurant was good. And she was personable and half wonderful.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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