Thanksgiving. A restaurant. 11 hours. 578 customers fed.


“I want to buy you flowers,” said the man at the counter, but he quickly reconsidered. “No. I want to buy you a country, so they’ll put your face on a postage stamp, and then when I send you a letter I get to lick the back of your head.” I might have been alarmed by this bizarre progression if I hadn’t been so impressed at its sheer ingenuity. I found myself laughing over-loudly and cocking my eyebrows at the man’s wife, who was sitting next to him trying, half-heartedly, to quell him.

The same man had been asking me for half an hour if I worked for the CIA. I’m not positive, but I presume this was because restaurants, like any industry, have their own jargon, which mostly sounds like code-talking to the rest of the world. And I guess it technically is. Ours is especially mysterious because it involves seemingly random combinations of numbers. And nobody actually cares what we’re saying. When we get going — really going — like on a night like Thanksgiving… well, we probably sound more like crazies than spies. Especially 8 hours into an 11-hour shift, when our voices and smiles start to crack, and we can hardly string a sentence together… and people are still hungry.

The gentleman’s next trick was to fashion a rabbit hand-puppet from his linen and peekaboo it over the edge of the counter.  I realize that I’m describing this encounter as somewhat ridiculous, and, well, it kind of was, but I don’t mean to ridicule the man. It was actually kind of refreshing to have somebody trying to make me smile in the middle of the storm.

So, yeah, that guy threw me for a loop with his talk of postage stamps and head-licking, but in actuality he also kind of made my Thanksgiving.


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