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Dinner Becomes Awkward


Having dinner with your friends should be an enjoyable experience. It shouldn't be a night of good food and smart conversation that is ruined by awkward comments. I met my friends for dinner on a Friday at seven. The restaurant was full, but not overwhelmingly so. As our waiter came over and took our drink orders, all was fine, we were making idle chatter while going over the menu. When the waiter returned I wasn't sure what I wanted, so I asked for a recommendation. “For you I'd suggest something from the lighter menu” they said, as they moved on to taking the order of the person to my right.

A silence passed among us after the waiter left, we were looking at each other, then I spoke “Was that a dig at my weight?” As we thought about it, we came to the conclusion that it was. Odd, but we were super happy about the food coming, so we carried on with our rousing chatter. When the waiter came back to re-fill our drinks, they once again did another awkward attempt at communication. “Hey! I know a joke you nerds would love!” said the waiter, who then launched into a rather lame joke that had the punch line of “Harry Potter.”

We all looked at each other with a glance of “What sin did we commit to make this happen?” As the joke ended we all gave weak laughter, and the waiter left us alone. One of the group—the retiree—chimed in that he felt like he should have handed our waiter a “gold star for effort.” The retiree's wife ordered a plain hamburger, and as the food arrived and the waiter sat it down in front of her, the waiter commented “Here's your sad hamburger.”

Again, we were all dumbfounded as to what was going on, and how this person thought their people skills were winning. I can understand a waiter being funny, but trying too hard, their borderline unfunny Discount Don Rickels it just too much for one to take. The food was great, but the discomfort that came with not knowing what brilliant display of wit we would next be presented with brought a rather dour pall over the entire evening.

As the dessert tray was brought around, each of us were treated to a delightful jab from this person who was loosing tip money faster than a breached oil tanker looses oil. The waiter looked at I and the other person wearing glasses and said “We have a wonderful carrot cake, and carrots are good for poor eyesight!” As the person with the sad hamburger looked perplexed by all of this, the waiter said to them “You should try our chocolate decadence cake! It's great for curing depression and releasing serotonin in the brain!”

I'm a big believer in tipping well, however, there are exceptions. I left a lone dollar for the waiter. I didn't feel bad about it either. Despite the meal being so good, we were all happy to get out of this awkward meal experience. Last time we ate there, the waiter was still on staff, and still making awkward comments to people. We could hear them just within ear shot. Did we have them as our waiter? No. We requested someone else.  

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