Practicing to get worse

After my run today (3+ miles along Portland Waterfront Park and the Esplanade), I stopped at the Virginia Cafe for some lunch. I sat in a booth in the corner, but with a view of the window. I was there a minute or two, and wasn’t sure any of the wait staff had seen me come in, when the waitress approached. Tall, at least 5’10”, thin, curly dark hair, what is euphemistically called a “Roman nose”… hot and she looked spunky. I’ve always had a thing for dark-haired women; Hispanic or Italian or any other…

As she walked up, I pointed at the table and asked her to wipe it down for me. She started to walk off to get a rag, and I interrupted her and said, “And I know what I want.” She said as she walked off, “Why don’t I concentrate on one request at a time?” and returned with a wet rag. As she ran the rag over the table, I said without making eye contact “Am I being a difficult customer?”

She replied, politely but quickly, “Oh, no, not at all–” and I interrupted her again by looking up at her sideways, with a deadly serious expression on my face, “Because I can get worse.”

There was a brief tense moment. If my friends had been with me, they would have broken the tension by laughing nervously and apologizing for me, knowing I wasn’t serious. But they weren’t there, and I allowed the tension to build for a moment, and she stared at me, speechless. Finally I smirked a little and gave her a twinkle of my eye. She realized that I was kidding (but I had not apologized for my statement) and laughed, but nervously. I gave her my order (a Chicken Caesar Salad, only water to drink; I’m on a diet, after all) and she walked off.

I spread out my newspaper and started reading, but she returned almost immediately, having thought of a response to my teasing, “Honey, if you’re the worst customer I’ve had today, it’s a beautiful day!” and she tapped me on the shoulder. Smirking, I looked at her hand on my shoulder then back up at her as if to say “Why did you just touch me?” and went back to reading.

The bestbestbest part is that, for the rest of my meal, she kept trying to make conversation with me, asking me what my plans were for the day, generally making a lot of small talk. The change in her behavior was apparent to me: she was seeking my approval. I flirted back, mildly, maintaining my sense of detachment. I realized that I would probably be coming back to this place often (I really do like their salad, and their burgers are great greasy things with bacon and cheese; only drawback is the smoky atmosphere) so I decided not to try to get a name or phone number on this visit.