Greeting any guest and leading the same to the table…


In my mind I add up her jewelry and clothing and get to better than a whooping total of at least a hundred big ones.

Greeting any guest and leading the same to the dinner table can be more involved than just saying a few words. It is much more than “Good evening and welcome!” As the diners step inside from the street, a questioning look on their face, admiring the restaurant’s lobby I have plenty of time and opportunity to take the guests’ inventory. There is the overall appearance. Their dress code, condition and quality of their shoes, socks or stockings, pants or skirt, shirt or blouse. The design and material of their sweater or jacket, the hair and hairstyle or lack off, they all reflect a great deal about a person’s personality. A quick look at their jewelry reveals taste and spending habits. The customer’s body language lets me know his level of comfort in his new surrounding.
I greet a new arriving group of four. Double check their name with the reservation chart and lead them to their table. Standing not too close but close enough, I cannot help it but am forced to breath the moth ball odor from the older lady’s fur coat. She wears an exquisite example of an exotic cat. Most likely this Siberian Tiger spends the better part of its after-life-years in a dark closet. The fur certainly has not been much in circulation. It is brand new looking. There is no wear or tear, neither on the cuffs nor the collar. I guess it is a Siberian Tiger skin, at least a twenty grand investment. “A waste of money!” I think, and “What happened with the bones? Did they end up in a Chinese medicine factory?(1) ”
The younger gentleman in the group had some beverages earlier. My nostrils catch the Brut after shave and underneath a strong alcohol breath, clear alcohol, maybe gin, no it must be vodka. I think to myself, “They had drinks already. Good!” I walk them over to their table. The older gentleman, stockily strong built, he is a beer-drinker and a heavy smoker too. His fingertips are yellow.
His smoked clothing stinks within the non smoking restaurant. Looking at the nicotine stained teeth, the wrinkled weathered face, he reminds me of a friend who recently died. He too was at heavy smoker. He was addicted to the manly- non-filter-cigarettes. He, my friend, took his last breath from an oxygen tank, holding a burning cigarette in the other hand. I remember my own days of smoking three packs a day. I recall the many failed tries to give it up. It was certainly difficult for me to stop smoking. I feel sorry for the guy. He still will have to make his die or quit choice. I tell myself, “Not a pleasant thought, forget it.”
I seat the ladies. The younger one is a wearing No. 5 with her long dark blue dress. I admire her silver and turquoise jewelry, Southwestern American Art. She wears pear-shaped earrings, a handmade necklace and a matching bracelet. I like the scent of her eau de cologne. The second lady, once she has shed off her Tiger skin, sports a black long dress embroidered with birds and flowers. It looks like a designer creation. She wears earrings of two carat or better, a diamond tennis bracelet and a handful of diamond rings, the biggest weighing in at three carat or more. She too, uses No. 5 as her cologne. I notice her diamond framed gold wrist watch and know this people do have an excess of spendable cash. In my mind I add up her jewelry and clothing and get to better than a whooping total of at least a hundred big ones.
They are very pleasant people. The younger man asks me to get them some champagne for the ladies, a beer for his dad and a vodka martini for him. I find out it is the older couple’s anniversary. He is a contractor up in the San Jose area. The younger couple are son and daughter-in-law, who work in the same business. This is their first time to our restaurant and I make sure they get a few additional items to sample beside what they actually order.

1. 1Tiger bones have been used in Chinese medicines for centuries.

by helmut schonwalder