Brunch: A Catalogue
Andrea Lee christensen
THE "I THINK MY FRIEND'S INSIDE" GUY
Poor guy. He's one of the few who think that anything but drinks for a first date is a viable option. He's nervous, like prey. Worriedly looking around, he asks me if he can go inside to check if “his friend” is already here, but it’s the first time he’s meeting this girl from Tinder and we all know it. It’s over before it begins – no one gets laid after brunch. I’m a romantic at heart so I don't let him know that we don't seat anyone without their complete party and generously let him in “to check.” His eyes light up with hope. (He arrived an hour before she did.)
THE "I THINK MY FRIEND'S INSIDE" GIRL
This girl walks in like she owns the place. "My friends are already inside," she explains with a touch of vocal fry (on purpose). Almost gleefully, I tell her that we don't seat incomplete parties. She looks at me in her Acne trench like I'm a piece of shit.
"I'm friends with Daniel," she sniffs.
I run through the Daniels in my head and consider whether any of them are important.
"You're going to have to wait for a table like everyone else," I reply. "And I'm going to have to ask you to wait outside."
She gets off on confrontation, so she's on me like a newborn. “Your attitude is a problem and I'm going to be speaking to your manager.”
I walk away. My eyes are misty. Goddammit. She was so mean.
THE NEW MANAGER
The new manager scuttles nervously around the hostesses either like we're the dumb ones who will give away the clan’s hiding place or like we're actually the predators who are going to rip him to shreds. Sir, I just want to tell him, we're on the same team. “I got a couple of deuces in the back,” he says from afar. Deuces, as you might imagine, means tables for parties of two. He gets closer as I'm taking down the name of a would-be bruncher and says again, now hot in my ear, “there's a couple of deuces in the back.” I wipe off the condensation that’s gathered on my neck as he skitters back into the restaurant to breathe over some poor bruncher's food. "Wow, what you got there? Potato pancakes? Good, right? I love the malawach, myself." He narrowly dodges a busboy balancing four plates of food on one arm and three drinks in the other hand. He shuffles up to a nearby computer and asks the passing server: "Hey, how do you swipe the credit card? I never ran one before." He titters and plays with the hole in his sweater vest.
THE BROS WHO BRUNCH
A server passes by and murmurs, "Those guys at table 25 are eye-fucking you and Katie." I huff angrily – how dare they! I turn around and catch a glance of myself in the mirror. Need more lipstick.
I strut pass table 25 on the way to the bathroom. My body is not for their gaze! I saunter back from the bathroom. All men are pigs! I sashay by again to see what tables are available. Get a load of this! I lead a party to their table. Kiss my ass!
The brunch boys finally leave. On the way out, one of them slips a number to the other hostess, Amelia.
Those assholes, I sniff.
THE BEAUTIFUL ANGEL
A couple using their stroller-battering ram pushes through the throng of incomplete parties of three. They make their way to me: "Table for two—how long would it be?" I look pointedly at their newly born child. "Will you be needing a high chair?" They laugh at each other as if both remembering the miracle of birth. "No, she's too little." How joyous – except: "Is it possible to fold up your stroller?"
Shock registers on their faces like I’ve just called their beautiful angel a turd. They look around to see if anyone else just witnessed this blatant disregard for their child’s rights. The female, with the quiet determination of Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain, says, "She's sleeping in there." Ah – in that case, I tell them, it will be around half an hour for a table, as we need space for the stroller. Shocked expressions register yet again. They don't think I’ve understood the situation clearly – there is a Baby in the house.
I'm looking down at my clipboard to avoid eye contact with the sea of waiting faces when I sense an approaching figure that strides forward with alarming confidence. The panic sets in—the most dreaded of the brunch-types—a regular. Anna, a top-tier bruncher, does not wait for tables like the rest of the fucking plebs. She'll have you know that she's been coming here since before you were even born. Anna wants a table and she wants it now—she also wants it big enough to fit the six other friends she brought today. I summon up the courage to tell her that a table isn't available quite yet, and she gives me a tranquil "okay" but this means I could end you if I wanted to. She surveys my clammy hands over the top of her glasses before turning back to her friends to continue chatting right by the gate because they know they will be admitted at any moment. I run inside the restaurant to alert the troops – “ANNA'S HERE AND SHE BROUGHT SIX PEOPLE.” For some reason, no one is as concerned as me. The others tell me to let her know that it's going to be 20 minutes before a table opens up. I decide to stay in the safe, warm indoors for a little while I head out to meet the slaughter.
Deep in the depths of brunch hell, amid a constant barrage of "How long will it be for two?" and "You said 20 minutes 20 minutes ago," sweet relief suddenly appears down the street: an angel to make the day go by faster. When we woke up, you said you'd come by for brunch so I was saving that little spot by the bar just for ya. You get closer and I feel the weight of these needy people slip away. You pass by and offer a little wave before walking away towards the subway and leave me alone to face these ugly Chanel-toting losers who have nothing better to do on a Sunday but wait an hour for their brunch table and slowly get drunk off their bottomless mimosas (in which they pay for every mimosa) while I slowly get sucked into a pit of despair until 4 PM, when brunch ends. Thanks for nothing, darling. :)