The restaurant I work in has its set of characters. So far, besides those employed, I've met two. First we have the regular, I'll call him Joe. Joe comes into the restaurant every night. He knows all of the girls and makes a point to sit in a strategic location with a clear view of most of the restaurant traffic, and he usually stays for a few hours at least. The girls seem to like him so I'm guessing he tips well. Sometimes he even walks the girls to their cars for them. Joe introduced himself to me Friday night asking when I was going to start serving. I participated in his witty banter and smiled at him when I would walk by his table. Joe is at least 40 and still wears quicksilver and other brands popular with most preppy middle/high school boys. Maybe that's part of his charm. Part of me labels him a weirdo, but who am I to judge. I wouldn't let him walk me to my car late at night but on his defense he seems like a pretty ok guy.
Later on in my shift a rugged man, resembeling RAMBO in his latest film, power walked past the host stand with a duffle bag over his shoulder without even a glance in my direction. I looked at my manager questionably, awaiting some sort of action on his part. Instead he did nothing and continued with our small talk conversation like nothing happened. "Um, what just happened." I asked. "Oh him? He's weird... has some sort of bipolar disorder. He either hates you or loves you. He brings the girls he likes presents." And he left it at that. In the break room I met a girl who looked a lot like me, just more confident and a little thinner. She, like the rest of the girls I met, was one of the nicest girls I've ever met. I feel like I'm in a sexy and sassy version of the stepford wives. This girl gave me the run down of the job, like the other girls I've talked to (they all seem to like to take on the big sister role).
"So who's Rambo," I asked her.
"Oh you mean the Cookie Monster?"
"Yeah he brings stuff in for us, like cookies and other stuff if he likes you."
"oh.. like that candy?"
"No, the candy man brings us that."
After my shift I ordered my grilled cheese and ate in the back of the restaurant where they werent seating people anymore. The cookie monster was sitting at the bar about twenty feet away from me and occasionally I'll look up and catch him looking in my direction. It didn't bother me like it did when Joe walked by and asked if I had any crazy plans for the night. No Joe. You're forty. I just worked a 16 hour day and I'm going to pull an "early" night tonight. We're not allowed to walk to our cars by ourselves, thank god, so I waited by the bar for a few of the girls to leave with me so the bussers only had to take a group of us to our cars instead of us one at a time. Then it happened. One of the girls said goodbye to Rambo and he completely transformed. A smile lit up his whole face and he wished her a great night and to stay warm. His harsh lined face looked brighter and soft and his eyes were kind and shy. He wasn't creepy at all. Just lonely. As soon as she left his side his face fell back into its original discheveled uninterested expression and I once again passed by him like I was nothing more than a breeze.