As it is The Matriarch's birthday, I took her to lunch today to regale her with prezzies and an update on the family. Macaroni Grill near her place, Italian Wedding soup and a Pizza Siciliana that the waiters and cooks were kind enough to leave on a windowsill to cool before serving -- wouldn't do to burn a patron's mouth with piping-hot pizza.
Our waiter was a rather chirpy young fellow of perhaps 23 summers, with a small, carefully tended chin-tuft and pointy hair. He presented me with the check, and we did the formal credit-card minuet that always extends a restaurant visit by ten minutes or so. My pen was poised over the receipt to enter the amount of his tip as I calculated twenty per cent of $27.67 -- his service had been quite good and his manner genial -- he opened his mouth to speak.
"So, did you guys watch the debate last night?"
We allowed as how we certainly had, and I went back to my calculations, wondering if this young man was at all aware of how dangerous his situation was -- was this really a topic he should be broaching just as I'm making out his tip?
"Yeah, I don't know. I think Obama won the thing, but I've got friends who are gonna vote for him just 'cos he's a black guy."
Now I'm calculating fifteen per cent...
"Really?" sez the Matriarch, who's been canvassing for Obama this week. "And how do you feel about it?"
"Oh, I don't know if I'm even gonna vote at all. I just don't know anything about Obama, what he stands for. I think McCain would be a really good leader, but I hear he's got a bad temper..."
Ten per cent of $27.67 is easy...
I spoke up. "If you don't know anything about Obama, even after he's been campaigning on your television set for two years, you might try looking up double-yew, double-yew, double-yew BarackObama dot com. It has all his position papers, his stances on issues, pretty much everything you need to know..."
"Yeah, maybe I'll do that. I just don't know if I'm gonna vote at all, though."
All right, let's see... five percent of $27.67 is half of ten percent...
But I was merciful. Wait-staff get shafted even in the healthiest economies, and who am I to punish this young man for depressing the crap out of me?
I gave him the standard fifteen.
"Y'all have a good day now. Hope to see you back soon!"