A Table For 17, Please
SOME THINGS ARE EASY TO DO, others are not. By comparison – Landing on the moon was easy, but taking the whole family out for dinner on a Saturday night during the holiday season is much tougher.
Actually, it wasn’t the WHOLE family, just selected representatives of generations 2, 3, and 4. If it had been the whole family parts of West Africa would have been plunged into famine conditions.
For us this past Saturday night it was a table for 17 at Chili’s.
The fine folks at Chili’s wouldn’t take a reservation for a mob that size. They said that they would just brace themselves and hope for the best.
When we all trundled in it was already a busy evening there. It took them about twenty minutes to shuffle people and tables around to accommodate us. I suspect that half of that time was taken up with convincing the servers to volunteer for a suicide mission.
First came drink orders: Sweet Tea, Sweet Tea, Unsweet Tea, Diet Coke (“We only serve Pepsi products.”), Diet Pepsi then, water, water, coffee, Sweet Tea, Pepsi, Sprite (or whatever is Pepsi’s version.), Unsweet Tea, Pepsi, Pepsi, etc. You get the picture. Then came the tortilla chips and salsa – three baskets worth. Even before we placed our orders the chips and salsa needed replenishing. A third delivery was needed before our entrees showed up.
We had seventeen people ordering at the same time. Some of us just said, “I’ll have the (whatever).” Nice and simple. While others had more amendments to their menu selections than an Alaskan pork-barrel bill trying to get through Congress.
“No cheese, wait – Yes on the cheese, but I want it on the side. I want mustard and mayo, with only three pickles. Is the lettuce fresh? On my fries, I want them well done, but not too well done. And I don’t want your salsa on it. Instead, do you have any mango chutney? Wait! I’ve changed my mind. I’ll have the Caesar Salad with extra croutons, but only if they’re fresh, not out of a bag.”
And so it went. For the better part of two hours we ate everything in sight, drank through several refills of our beverages of choice, and the kids dropped enough on the floor to feed a small Andean village.
Our “wait-persons” were sweating like nuns in a bawdy house. Those young folks earned their money last Saturday night. I do fear that a couple of them may need counseling. I can’t say much about the kitchen staff, other than I think I heard someone sobbing as we left.
Just another Saturday night in South Texas.