Tuesday night J and I planned to veg out...lay like broccoli, if you will. Perhaps check out the new Rachel Zoe season premiere (my idea, not his), share a pint of Chunky Monkey ice cream on our
* & **: Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
J told them both to head up, and figured since it was Tuesday we could all hit up $1 Taco Tuesdays at an upscale restaurant down the street called Maria Maria (as in “Maria Maria”, that Santana song that won a squillion Grammys the year it came out; Santana -- surprise, surprise -- co-owns the joint). Since a friend recently moved a few miles away, we also invited him to join in on the last-minute taco fiesta.
Now on prior Taco Tuesdays, the bar area had ample elbow room. This week, it was like every last extra from the Van Wilder frat house decided that night was a good night for Mexican food. Scores of would-be Tool Academy participants in their man-tanks and flip flops littered the space as they clutched their Coronas, hitting on every woman seated.
So we waited for the next open table. There was a group already waiting ahead of us, and once a table cleared for them, we were next up in line. More waiting. Entourage was getting restless. Suddenly the clouds parted when we saw people leaving their outdoor table. “Hurry,” I told J, who immediately bee-lined toward the patio door, but before he could reach the doorway a girl came flying in past me from the front door, pushing past J (I’m talking physically shouldering him aside -- and she was at least five inches shorter than him) and promptly sat down in one of the seats seconds before J could reach it. She didn’t look up, just stared at the cell phone through the pounds of makeup on her face, tapping at its screen with her
Oh no, she di-int.
What killed me was that the whole staring-at-the-cell-phone-after-being-an-expletive-I-shall-not-name-here thing is SO passive aggressive. If you can’t even man up and make eye contact to avoid the confrontation that will most likely follow then maybe you shouldn’t throw down that figurative gauntlet, my dear. She knew EXACTLY what she had just done, elbowing J aside and plopping down at our table in her tacky polyester clothing. All of a sudden I felt my inner-Lauren Conrad well up and wanted to yell "You know what you did! You KNOW what you DID!!!" in her face. Something along the lines of this:
But instead we all stood inside, watching this situation go down through the large windows, and I saw RED. We watched J throw his hands up and mutter something to her. Turns out he'd said "Are you serious?" to her and she had continued to ignore him, tapping at her phone. According to him it “wasn’t worth it.” Upon hearing this I was seething at how inappropriate the whole scene was and how J was
So we waited a couple more minutes and my anger continued to build (news flash: I have slight anger management issues). The bar wasn’t clearing out anytime soon and the entourage was beginning to grumble about leaving. I sighed. Apparently I was going to be the one – like always – to fix this whole debacle.
I strode up to the podium at the front of the restaurant, where a hostess and a guy in a suit were standing. Thinking that at least someone in a suit and a nametag could help me over the general incompetence in the miniskirt next to him I calmly explained to him – with a large smile -- what happened, and asked whether we could just have a table.
Man in Suit: “Uhh…(pause)… you came here for Taco Tuesday though, right?”
MiS: “We can’t do that for Taco Tuesday. I’m sorry.” (And he actually did look sorry, but it didn’t help his case.)
Me: "Look. I was thisclose to going outside and saying something to that girl who SHOVED my husband aside to get to that table, but I didn't want to make a scene in your restaurant…”
MiS: “Oh yes, of course. I’m very sorry that she...”
Me: “…I'm a regular here [ed. Note: I actually am a regular there, which made it even cooler to say since I’ve always wanted the chance to actually use that line] and no staff did anything about what just happened.”
MiS, looking off toward the bar area with an intense hatred of Taco Tuesdays on his face: “Let me see what I can do, hold on. “
Turns out I pick my men in suits well because he came back, shook my hand and introduced himself as the general manager of the restaurant.
“I’m going to put you at one of our dinner tables in the restaurant,” he said.
“Excellent,” was my reply.
My entourage looked on, smiling and satisfied at this news.
“…But first, you will have to sing karaoke,” the GM said.
Suddenly my smile froze. Not because I didn’t want to sing karaoke – actually quite the opposite. I’ve long told J that someday my whole life would culminate to a certain point where I’d be asked, on the spot, to sing karaoke -- and my biggest fear would be I’d have no idea what to sing. Needless to say, over the years I’ve mentally added songs to my karaoke arsenal FOR THIS SPECIFIC REASON, this moment, standing there next to the crowd currently being entertained by a white guy on a tiny corner platform, covering Third Eye Blind songs on his acoustic guitar. They don’t ever do karaoke here…but perhaps they were making an exception for me?
Of course my mind went blank in that life-changing, split-second of being asked. “Noo…” I purred. “You’re joking.” I let out an awkward, uneasy laugh that sounded more like an unintentional fart. “No I’m not,” the GM said with a completely straight face, as though he was diagnosing me with cancer. “You want the table? Sing.”
My smile remained static; my entourage: concerned. After what seemed like five minutes of silence and staring between the two of us, as I mentally ransacked my rolodex of saved karaoke songs and finally hurled it against one side of my mind, deciding in futility to just go with Lionel Ritchie’s “Stuck on you”, he broke out into laughter. “Just kidding, just kidding!” he laughed. “Come, follow me.”
Not only did we get seated at the best table in the house, he profusely apologized for what happened and thanked me for coming to him (and I guess not creating a scene? The wrath of Crystal, after all, can be extraordinary). After we were seated he offered us a round of drinks on the house (Maria Maria's freshly brewed pineapple tequila – let’s just say it was like a tropical island was making love in my mouth) and gave me his business card during our dinner.
I left a large tip after we were through, more than satisfied with the outcome of the night, and after thanking again on my way out, he stressed to call him whenever I come so he can make sure we're taken care of well. "You're a friend now," he said, patting my shoulder. (And somewhere, in the recesses of my mind, I was covertly laying the groundwork for my own Cheers-type place...where everybody knows my name.)
Moral of the story: Ask and you shall receive. But do it all with a smile, no matter how mad you are. It works wonders.