My family has this hilarious running gag about me and my being high maintenance. I am certainly not afraid to have an opinion or express it. I tend to over-pack. I require Orbitz Wintermint Gum to always be on hand (seriously, I am terrified they’ll come out against gay rights and then I will really have to test the mettle of my convictions), but I am not above supplying it for myself. If my family could get a taste of what I have seen waiting tables and administrative assisting, they would be shocked.
One busy brunch in section one at my old restaurant I brought coffee to two ladies at table thirty-two. As I placed the cups and saucers on the table, I detected panic mingled with disdain on the face of the younger of the two. My spidey senses tingling, I asked if everything was alright. The girl looked at me and said her cup was too full of coffee for her to add milk. I swear I did not mean to be rude, but I stood gawking at her like she’d spoken in interpretive dance. I had never in my life imagined that would be a problem that another person would need to know about. After about eight seconds of total incomprehension, I offered to dump a little bit of her coffee out for her. Her relief told me that was the right thing to do. I was too stunned to be annoyed.
But that pales in comparison to some of the requests I’ve heard over the last couple of years. At my old firm, there was one gentleman who had a deep curiosity about the contents of his food. He was so engrossed in all the nuances of what he was eating, he asked me at various times to type up ingredient labels for each item of the bi-weekly company lunch, apologize for not having his favorite espresso, and research the potato chip with the lowest fat and sodium quantities I could find.
This week, my whole family is in Scotland. They didn’t leave me behind because they thought I was too high-maintenance. I couldn’t take that much time off work and wouldn’t really want to use it to go on an international golf trip if I could. Probably they wish there were someone with an overstuffed suitcase shouting out sardonic things ten paces behind them in the airport. They haven’t called or emailed because the pain of missing me is barely dammed up and any contact could cause it to explode. I get it. They should know I am just sitting here at my desk quietly, being very self-sufficient.