G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
Two very short work happenings because I know you love hearing about them.
The first one here could be a trend piece in the New York Times or something if I wasn’t opposed to the trend.
I’ve written somewhere in the past about the increased Hispanic patronage at the second-tier Italian restaurant where I work. I had no good way of knowing if this was a real trend or if I’d just imagined it. Setting aside my opinions on immigration, the drawback to this would be that Hispanics tend to tip a lower than average percentage. But I can handle this. What has really pissed me off of late is the increased incidence of what I experienced yesterday.
To make a long story short, a Hispanic man and his Hispanic wife sat in my section. Not to get boo-hoo or anything about it, but it was a slow day and I’d sat around for a while milking the clock at my $2.13 hourly. I needed some action. The couple sit down, I ask them what they want to drink. Blank stares. They sort of mutter and then the woman asks me if they can have a server that speaks Spanish. Going back to the idea for a trend piece – while I was unable to trust my instincts that more Hispanics have been eating at my restaurant (which either indicates a higher average income for the demographic or, more likely, a greater Hispanic population), it’s definitely true that more Hispanics have been asking to switch off to Spanish-speaking servers. Relying on my memory, I remember first hearing about these requests (it’s happened to me once before) within the past two years. I can’t recall it happening before that, and I’ve heard of or been apart of probably ten of these requests.
I stiffened at the table with an “are you shitting me?” look on my face that I think resurrected that Tower of Babel. I gave them some of my kitchen Spanish and they were impressed and they left me a decent-enough tip. But it doesn’t always go like that, and it made me think back to my trip to Europe. I’d have never thought of requesting an English-speaking waiter at a restaurant over there. I’d sooner point at the menu and try my chances than be so offensive*. Non-assimilation is creeping northward into the Midwest. If I wrote about the growing number of Spanish-speakers being unable to find Spanish-speaking waitstaff or customer service workers I might be able to get such a piece published in the prestige press. But since I’m just a bluish-collar white guy having to deal with the ramifications of diversity, it’s a non-starter.
*Though this does remind me of a guy in the large American group I traveled to Europe with who wound up spending a couple of hundred Euros on a bottle of champagne in a Parisian tourist trap. He wandered in, thought he’d ordered a single drink, and found the doors locked behind him until he forked over money for an entire bottle of champagne.
Another happening is just funny. It reminds me of anti-racist’s self-pwnage from the other day when he tried to corner GLP and its commenters by asking us why we hadn’t commented on the New Jersey supermarket shooter who he assumed was white. Turned out that the shooter was black, lulz.
Over the weekend I was in a section along with another guy. I had an occupied table and he had one which was occupied by a black family, a guy who looked like he had a rap sheet, a woman with tattoos who spilled milk all over the floor but didn’t clean it up, a grandmother or an aunt, a few ornery children.
I was seated another table, two white women – a mother and her daughter. They ordered drinks and when I brought them back they told me “sorry, but I don’t think we’re going to eat here.” Strange, yes, but I took their menus and said OK. I’m not sure if the exiting women heard the black guy at the nearby table say “shit, you can’t be in a room with colored folks?” If they did hear it they didn’t look back. I stared straight forward, thinking honestly to myself that, yeah, I wouldn’t be thrilled to sit next to that family but I would probably also suck it up.
A few minutes later the same table was sat with another black family, a mom, dad, and their daughter. They order drinks and this time, instead of waiting for me to bring the drinks back, the daughter comes up to me near the drink station and requests to be moved. She doesn’t let me ask her what is wrong; she just tells me that the family in there is loud and that they don’t want to sit next to them. I can only hope that the man who made the comment about the white women not wanting to sit near “coloreds” thought twice when the black family up and did the same thing. Though I doubt it.