Me and My Scale
I sigh as I walk through the door, trying to prepare myself. My hands are a little clammy, which is ridiculous, but I can’t help but feel nervous. I clear my throat as I approach, trying to project confidence.
He doesn’t look at me as I approach, his eyes in the middle distance looking at nothing that I myself can see, offering only his profile. He is immaculately dressed, his tuxedo perfect in every way save one: his tie is slightly loosened. The perfection of every other stitch makes it obvious that this is deliberate, his way of showing just the slightest tweak of contempt for us all. His dark hair looks oiled and smells vaguely of raspberry vinaigrette, and his aquiline nose hangs just slightly over the line that demarks arrogance.
I approach the podium that he rests an elbow upon, clearing my throat again. The one eye I can see flicks quickly over to me and away again, darting like a fly after a picnic burger. We wait in what is for me an uncomfortable silence, but for him seems like his favorite music.
He doesn’t inhale or make a move, but nevertheless he manages to speak easily. “Do you have a… reservation?” I glance at the book that rests beside his elbow. It is blank. I look around the room. It is empty, save for he and I.
Nevertheless, I have to answer. “No,” I say, my intention to sound nonchalant failing and falling into what I am afraid is embarrassment. His nostrils flare as he sighs heavily and weary, as if once more the world that he hoped for has betrayed and disappointed him once again. We wait in silence again for a time, I staring at his profile, he staring at nothing.
“Very well,” he says finally. I know he had hoped that I’d have given up by now and slunk away defeated and ashamed, but I managed to outwait him.
I step up and wait. I close my eyes briefly, for strength, and glance down. 181. The arrogant bastard is actually trying to serve me my weight from 2 weeks ago. I refuse, stepping away and then back again firmly. Head up, eyelids half-lowered, weight evenly distributed. I look down once again. 180.5. Better, especially after the ridiculous 182 I was served the week prior.
As I walk back through the door, I consider briefly coming back on Saturday, when the other maitre de works. I like him better. Last Saturday, he gave me a 180. As I dress, the brief thought becomes a more serious consideration. I’ll be back tomorrow.