Why am I so selfish?

September 18, 2009

Dear Tadd of Soccer Taco Downtown,

Thank you for taking time out of your day to serve me lunch.

Please allow me to share the 7 aspects of my dining experience which I most appreciated:

1)    You did your utmost to avoid coming to our table except to write down our orders and pick up your tip. Respecting our privacy was your top priority.

2)    When you brought the bill, you chose to avoid the hassle of including the nickel. Change sliding around on the black plastic bill tray? How frustrating! Who wanted that nickel anyway? Why don’t you just put it in your piggy bank? You were entitled to it, because I, affluent as I am, don’t hold congress with paltry coins anymore. I deal strictly in bills. Anything else is below my economic stratum and insults to my pedigree.

3)    You recommended the fish tacos, which weren’t on the lunch menu, because your extraordinary gift of discernment told you immediately that lunch menus are to me as Windows operating systems and fuel-efficent cars. I own a Mac and drive a gas-guzzling 4Runner. Why? Because I can. I can pay the dinner price for an entrée at 7am if I want. I use George Washingtons to shine my handmade shoes.

4)    You acted all chummy, which I didn’t deserve. It’s as if you were saying that even though we are separated by this artificial divide of server/customer, that doesn’t mean you have to do the job for which you’re getting paid. You’re right: at any moment, the tables could be turned and I could be serving you refried beans. I won’t forget it.

5)    You never brought the queso that I ordered, yet it showed up on my bill. How clever of you! I never would have thought of that. Invisible cheese dip like the emperor’s new clothes. I didn’t even know all the kitchen staff were laughing at me?

6)    You are a Caucasian male. In the past, someone with your skin tone waiting tables at a Mexican restaurant would undermined my confidence in the cuisine’s authenticity. Now, I realize the error of my ways: a white man can bring his poor work ethic and sense of entitlement anywhere. Equal Opportunity Employment working in reverse is a beautiful thing.

7)    When I asked for more salsa and you said, “No problem,” I thought I had inconvenienced you and distracted you from a much more important task. When the salsa never came, a wave of relief washed over me. I hadn’t been a nuisance after all! These pesky wants of mine are always causing friction in my relationships. More salsa would simply have confirmed my neediness and insecurity. Your longsightedness was a much-needed wake up call.

Can’t wait to eat at Soccer Taco again! I forgot to say I’m sorry that I only tipped you 16.8%. That was an affront to your exemplary service, and one that remains a canker in my soul. Please accept my apologies.

Your Most Humble Servant,

Austin L. Church

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