During the busiest times of the year, I'm required to tend the bar from the lunch shift through the evening. Twelve-hour bartending shifts aren't a lot of fun, but I don't mind tending to the needs of the daylight crowd as long as I don't have to do it every day.
Lunchers are quite a bit different from the evening diners, though. They certainly drink less, and they absolutely tip less.
Yesterday afternoon, a gentleman who had a lingering lunch and two glasses of wine at the bar was signing his credit card slip, and suddenly spurted out, "Oh, I almost just left you a ridiculously large tip!"
"Well, it is Christmas, so if you just want to go ahead and get in the spirit of giving, I'm not going to stop you," I joked.
He laughed uncomfortably and scribbled some new numbers down while I tried to look away. When he left, I cringed as I read the adjusted tip. He'd initially written in a $5.00 gratuity, and changed it to $0.50. On a $22.00 tab. And I'd spent almost an hour chatting him up and keeping him company.
Fifty pennies. 'Tis the season.
More amusingly, we hosted a large party of nuns in our banquet room for lunch. CNN was on the television and Donald Rumsfeld was receiving a wildly inappropriate hero's farewell at the Pentagon, and a few of the nuns stopped by the bar to watch before they left. One of them exclaimed, "Just look at that big jerk! What an ass!" Another added, "He ought to be ashamed of himself. Can't he just slink away quietly? He's the biggest jackass!" I guess they might have gotten a little tipsy from the merlot we generously poured for them throughout their banquet.
I giggled as they left, and they laughed along with me, and I wished them a very, very Merry Christmas. They wished me the same, and for the first time this holiday season, I actually felt warm and comforted inside. Every time I thought of them the rest of that long, long shift, I couldn't help but smile.
I wish you a hopeful Christmas
I wish you a brave New Year
All anguish, pain and sadness
Leave your heart and let your road be clear
They said there'll be snow at Christmas
They said there'll be Peace on Earth
Hallelujah, Noel, be it heaven or hell
The Christmas you get you deserve
Emerson, Lake and Palmer, "I Believe In Father Christmas"