The Four Cannoli

(*Sally, I am certain this one will not offend you. Feel free to read this*)

As I have recently found out, due to the typing of this story, the plural of cannoli is in fact “cannoli”. So no matter if you are talking about one cannoli, or six of the delicious treats it is proper to just say cannoli. That has absolutely nothing to do with this story, but I just found it to be an interesting tidbit of information.

While I was a server (being completely PC and gender neutral) at an Italian place in Nashville I had the wonderful pleasure of working on Sunday nights (I want you all to go back and reread that sentence with a highly sarcastic voice). Let me tell you why people who come into a restaurant on Sundays are quite possibly the worst people in the entire world.

Patrons of restaurants on Sundays fall into a few different categories. There are the avidly religious, the families, the sports fanatics, the severely alcoholic and there are those who also work in the industry (these people are generally fine and regularly overlap with the severely alcoholic).

Being religious doesn’t mean you are a good person.

Some people ask, what is wrong with these different groups?

Well, as most servers would agree, many religious people by nature are not very good tippers. I don’ t know why this is, it is just a generalized fact. Of course, there are exceptions and if you happen to be a massively religious person who tips well by societies standards (not by your own) allow me to thank you for being the exception to the rule. Although, anytime I saw a family bow their heads to pray before eating I typically would sigh silently to myself and mentally prepare for the 12% tip I would be receiving an hour or so later. Also, if you happen to be one of those people who leave Jesus cards instead of tips because you feel your server needs to be saved, please remember that the electric company doesn’t accept those cards as payment, so leave cash instead.

Families, especially those with young children, are the bane of my existence. It is actually because of this fact I had the pleasure of waiting on the table this story is about. Families tip less and require more work than a table of four adults. I understand why they tip less, but I still blame them. They are worried about the future of their children. They want to teach them well and let them lead the way. They want to show them all the beauty they possess inside. They also want to make sure they have enough money in case an emergency happens in the future. This means they tip servers less. So when I see a family sit in my section, especially those with young kids, I cringe knowing the little (probable) bastards are going to mess up my section by throwing food on the floor, spilling drinks or (as one terrible night proved possible) vomiting multiple times on the table and floor that I will have to clean up. All of these still ends with a less than acceptable tip and me smelling like toddler vomit.

I am a sports fanatic as I have stated in multiple stories in the past, so I have a special place in my heart for these people but when you get drunk and obnoxious and want to fight someone over the fact they like the Falcons instead of the Saints, you have a problem. Sit at your house and drink until you die. You shouldn’t be out in public.

I also could be considered a member of the severely alcoholic depending on whom you talk to about the subject so I get them as well, but I like to think I am not fall down drunk every Sunday. Even when I am not “in control” I like to think I am not as bad as some of the Sunday drunks I have seen over time. They get hammered, they get mad, they get cut off, they get kicked out, and they don’t tip. The members of the service industry who are in this group typically will still tip, but there is that rare occasion in which they make mistakes as well.

These are the Sunday regulars at basically every restaurant I have ever worked at. I hate working Sundays with a passion because of these people. I would rather sit at my house and just avoid all of them. So on this particular Sunday (as with all of them) I was not walking into work in the best mood.

I walked up to the hostess stand and took a look at the wait list. They had asked me to come on early (something I am never going to do to wait on children), so I wanted to see on whom I would be waiting. On the list there were three names that would fit into my section.

One on them was “Dave” who had the words “3 adults, 2 children” scribbled next to them. The next was “Corrine” that was a party of four. The final was “Joan” which was a two top.

The hostess said she was going to give me Dave. I said not if I’m going to come on early. I’ll come on early for Corrine. I’d take my chances with a mystery four top as opposed to a guaranteed table with children. She ended up seating me with both Joan and Corrine.

Joan was a table of a mother and a daughter, they were very inconsequential in the story, but they got a diet coke, a glass of merlot and a medium pizza with peperoni and olive tapenade (gross). That was basically all anyone would ever need to know about them and even that is too much information.

Corrine first showed up by herself, still waiting on the rest of her party. She was in her early 40s (this was not me guessing, later she said the year she was born and I am pretty good at subtraction) but looked like she was in her thirties with blonde hair and a very inviting smile. She asked me if I would get waters for everyone at the table and even though I hate when someone does that I did it willingly since she seemed so friendly and full of (I can’t believe I’m about to type something like this. Nashville is starting to get to me) positive energy.

When I came back with the waters her friends still were not there, so Corrine promised they would get more drinks when they all arrived. I told her that was fine and went over next to the computer where my coworkers and I would stand and judge the guests in the restaurant (if you’ve ever felt like your server, or another server in a restaurant, has been judging you, it’s because he or she has been.).

While we were sitting there passing judgment on random strangers these three beautiful brunettes joined Corrine at table 22. A smile crossed my face because I had finally picked a winner table. There were no kids. They didn’t appear to be a family worried about health care costs, or the rising rate of tuition at private schools in Nashville. They looked like four nice, beautiful women who were lucky enough to have me as their server.  Also, every guy and every lesbian I worked with that night was exceptionally jealous of this table, with the exception of the few servers who were in those relationships full of pretentiousness and claim nobody but their significant other is worth looking at.

Also, they were a fun table. It really didn’t take long for me to know I found Corrine, Vivian, Sasha and Tina to be people I truly didn’t mind waiting on (this is actually a HUGE compliment coming from me. I tend to hate all my tables). They weren’t the “Dave’s” of the world. They weren’t needy. They weren’t demanding. They were just normal people who didn’t seem to think I was their indentured servant waiting for my penance to be completed. They were nice people who were truly a pleasure to be around. And, again, all four of them were exceptionally good looking.

Really need to get that touched up.

I noticed Sasha looking at one of my tattoos and I twisted my arm slightly so she could read it better.

“What does your tattoo say?” she asked me with a little trepidation in her voice.

“Duke,” I said (a nickname my father calls me to this day).

“Oh,” she said with a slight sigh of relief. “I thought it said something else.”

We all looked at the tattoo and none of us could figure out what she thought it was and she never told us what she had thought (or at least she never told me. She may have divulged it to the rest of them when I was away).

They asked what was good to do on Sunday nights in Nashville. I said I had no idea since I couldn’t remember the last time I had a Sunday off in which I was out and about in Nashville. They inquired as to how I ended up in Nashville and I gave them a Cliff’s Notes version of the entire story (I find that “Bad Decisions” is a better version of the story as opposed to the long winded, exceptionally detailed account of how every decision I made throughout my life lead me to Nashville). It didn’t take long for Vivian to guess I had ended up in Nashville due to a girl (not for a girl, but due to a girl. There is a difference).

We talked for a while and determined it was destiny I ended up with this table. I am going to attempt to remember all the details of the conversation. I was born in L.A. where Tina now lived. I am a huge Red Sox fan who used to live in Rhode Island. Corrine was from Boston (with the very apparent accent that goes along with that history). They had moved to Nashville from Florida where my parents had just bought a house.

Sasha (who wants me to tell everyone she is a world renowned salsa dancer) regaled us with a story about her fiancé, who while out in Vegas for an awards show went out the night before the event in the apparently very expensive jacket he was going to wear the next day. The two of them had gone out salsa dancing (since she is a world renowned salsa dancer) and she had started dancing with a young Hispanic man who was quite adept at it. He wanted to meet her fiancé after their dance and offered to buy him a drink. Together the two of them took a shot of something (to perpetuate the stereotype, I’m guessing tequila). Sasha said she watched in horror as the young Hispanic guy started making the telltale choking motions that anyone who has had two or three too many knows is the last thing someone does before they lose everything they have had to eat over the last 24 hours. Except this man did it all over a very expensive jacket intended to be worn on the red carpet the next night.

The four of us told stories of our lives and how we all ended up in Nashville. We made plans to go salsa dancing on a random Friday night with my 73-year-old Spaniard of a manager, Carlos. They told me they were gong to start a blog called “The Four Cannolis” (not a real word) and talk about their truly wonderful experience they had with me as their server that night. I promised I would write a blog about the truly wonderful experience of waiting on them and post it to my blog. They asked me what my blog site was so I wrote down the now aptly famous handle “MRWright79” on a silverware wrap and handed it to them.

“Look, Vivian,” Sasha said. “We found Mr. Right.”

I laughed, and told them it was true.

Vivian handed me her card, which had all of her contact information on it. It didn’t take long before we were connected on basically every online site. As they left, she gave me a big hug and told me I was part of the family now (I wasn’t sure if I had somehow become indoctrinated into the mafia or something, but it was a good hug so I was okay with it).

While I talked with these four women I didn’t feel like the person I had become at the time. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t shy. I wasn’t the person who hides behind this online persona of arrogance and bravado.  I was able to talk to these four beautiful women as though I had known them for years. I could talk to them with no preconceived notions of who I was, or how I had lived my life. In front of these four women I had become, for a glimmering second, the person I had always dreamed I would be.

Suddenly I find myself feeling a bit peckish.

Vivian and I talk every once in a while. She is a singer in Nashville and I am certain she will do amazingly great things in her life and career. I just got an update on Facebook that she has a show next week at a bar in Nashville. I’m certain she will kill it, even though I have never heard her sing.

Tina is back in L.A. I told her whenever I came out there she and I would have to grab a drink together.

I am not sure exactly what Corrine does, but I am certain whatever it is she is doing it with her exceptionally appealing smile on her face.

Sasha I am certain is salsa dancing her and her fiancés way across the country. She is undoubtedly dancing with young Hispanic men who in turn ruin exceptionally expensive jackets with their vomit. She doesn’t mind though, taking it all with a grain of salt, smile across her lips and her eyes on what I am certain will be a very bright future.

It was these four cannoli, these four Italian women that showed me I don’t have a reason to hide who I really am. There is no reason I need to be afraid to tell people about my life in a more open way than writing sardonic stories about situations in my life and posting them online. I can be genuinely proud of who I am without fear of how I will be viewed in their eyes. I wish The Four Cannoli all the luck in the world and hope one day I get to see them once again.

Also, I would truly like to thank them for not being the typical Sunday guests and instead being people who were worth waiting on.

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