I’m on a date with myself. Which means I’m going to act like I’m on a date with someone important to me, someone who wants to show me a nice evening, not a scattered mom who could just as easily drink her dinner from a coffee cup.
I followed an employee into TGI Friday’s. I know she works here because she was wearing her bold red stripes right out there in the parking lot.
I thought about saying, “You know, I used to work here. Back when it was the cool place to be after Friday night football games. When we were always on a wait on a Saturday night, well past 11:00.
“Of course, when I worked here, we wore flair – 16 pieces at the minimum, thank you very much. I wore my late uncle’s flair from his days at Fridays, way back when it was even cooler, in the late 1980s. I wore his collection of pins boasting the cast of the Wizard of Oz, and I wore his rainbow striped suspenders – pretty much until the bartenders let me know I was making a personal statement to dozens of tables all evening long.
“But I have to say, when I worked here, we weren’t allowed to wear our ‘stripes’ in the parking lot. No, ma’am. We had to keep a t-shirt, sweatshirt, trench coat or swimsuit cover-up ever at the ready. Walking straight to or from the car, all willy-nilly, was like ‘breaking curtain’ before a live performance. We took ourselves seriously.
“Some of my skinniest years were the ones I shared with TGI Fridays, since I could stay on my feet for a 9-hour shift and get by with a mere parmesan breadstick (Let’s just take a moment for the parmesan breadstick. May she rest in peace.) It was all part of my college experience.
“Except for one time, and I think I can confess this now without repercussions, when I was waiting on a young couple I knew. They only ate half of their Oreo Madness. I mean, really. I couldn’t throw the other cookie away. Actually, I could have. It’s what I was expected to do. But I knew the people who had held the forks that broke off the bites of the other cookie that was on this plate. I’m so eating these leftovers. So I did. I refilled the beverages of my every guest, and then I sat in the breakroom that smelled like cigarettes and treated myself to dessert. I counted it as part of their tip.”
I was going to say all of these things, with this huffy attitude like I knew all the popular kids on Saved by the Bell.
But then I turned back into a respectable human being and simply followed her inside.