Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tipping Point

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!"


Anonymous said...

And he'll probably have a lifetime of short shrift. Depressing.
Didion's piece in Salon this evening covers this base along with others very clearly, as usual.

giggles said...

Would I seem too cynical and depressing if I blurted without censorship "People are so fuckin' lazy!" Or should I just chalk it up to basic human nature and forgive them their sins?

Carl the Big Fool said...

Frightening, ain't it? And they're all around us. People will spend hours watching Buffy or searching for the perfect recipe to make General Tso's at home, but when it comes to politics, "I just don't know what he stands for." Apparently the candidate needs to come to your house and give you a personalized briefing?

giggles said...

Funny you should mention... I DID have a current congresswoman visit my home for just such an opportunity.... I invited over 100 people to join her in a "meet and greet" (no donations involved!!!!!) to get to know her better.... I am like glue birl , in that my neighborhood is run by the "Mennonite Mafia" (yes, they are really called that when no one is in earshot) so I am surrounded by the wrong color....(red I mean)... But I invited many of them, in hopes that they might open their minds just a little crack.... No such luck....I had 25 people,one adult of which was from the "other side...." All the others were friendly and did appreciate the opportunity to meet her, but are probably gonna vote for her anyway....