I came home tonight and craved a meal out. I decided to try the Italian restaurant down the street from me. I'm not a huge fan of Italian food; most of it is the same red-sauce stuff I grew up with, so it's not a super fancy thing for me. Now, the food I had in Italy, that was good.
But I decided to try this place, as it's very popular and has outside seating. I walked the two blocks and got a table on the front sidewalk. I got settled, looked at the menu, and read my book. There were already people at some of the other tables, eating. Soon a couple was seated nearby. The bus boy brought me my water. I thanked him, and read my book. The waitress checked on two people sitting next to me, then went to the new couple and they had a nice long chat about wine.
The busboy brought me bread. It was hot, It was good, I took a piece. I read my book.
The waitress came back to the couple who'd been seated after me and took their drink order. I saw her glance at me as she went back inside.
Now, ordinarily I'd signal, smile, and let her know I was ready to order. For some reason, though, I was not inclined to ask for attention. I was sitting there, nothing but bread and water on the table, and I'd been there for a good twenty minutes. It was a small seating area, maybe six tables. I was curious to see what would happen. Did she think I was waiting for companions? Was she that uncomfortable speaking to a lone patron? Did she not realize that she was the waitress and it was her job to wait on patrons? Was it not enough that in my job I have people calling me from all over the country asking for help, now I had to get the flipping waitress to take my order?
I kept eating my bread. I kept reading.
After a full half-hour had passed since I sat, I finished the last of the bread, drank some water, wiped my mouth on my napkin, put my book in my bag, and left.
I wonder whether she even noticed.