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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Why Am I Thinking of the Guillotine?


“You look hot,” says a woman. 

Hey, I think, the sweat beading on my upper lip, a trickle of sweat running down my back, who doesn’t look hot in the garb of the serving class?

Several inappropriate answers apply near the front of my brain for release, and I riffle through them before landing on something work-suitable.

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Polite chuckles all around, and I return to clearing the plates from a table of wealthy graduation-party attendees.  Dressed in linens and sandals, they sit under open-sided tents, drinking iced beverages and eating fruits and kabobs from the buffet.

As they should.

I move amongst the tables, out into the 94-degree sunlight to the chef on the other side of the lawn, where the heat and smoke of the six-foot grill parked under an enormous tree intermittently blind him.

Service runs from 3:00 to 8:00.  It is around 6:30 when I first notice that the heat has begun to melt my facial features.  I anxiously reach for my ear lobes, which I discover lying on my shoulders.  My brain begins laughing, then divorces itself from me on grounds of cruelty and leaves the party for the swampy lake at the bottom of the lush, expansive yard, where it lies, squelched in the cool mud and humming from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

I had liked my brain up to that point.

My body, having absorbed four large bottles of water since 4:00, trudges onward.

I am casually considering the words “swamp butt”, thinking of cool showers and talcum powder, when I realize that one of the plates I’ve just cleared belongs to a man I used to work with, a VP of Finance with whom I was friendly just three years ago.

Sweat streaming from my hairline, my starched shirt showing sweat-bleed-through in the crooks of my arms, I smile at him. 

“Hey, Mark!” I say.

He looks at me blankly, then dons a thin-lipped dismissal of a smile, and I realize that right now, he doesn't recognize me.  I am a humidity-afflicted, red-faced woman with a stack of dirty plates in her arms; and he can't place me because he doesn’t know anyone for whom that would be an apt description. 

He turns away from me without returning the smile, stabs a chunk of pineapple on his plate and swallows it after two quick chews.

And in the dreadful heat, the sweat pooling at my collarbones, I am able to hang on to my smile.

Because Mr. Finance has just eaten a mosquito.

41 comments:

haphazardlife said...

Mr Finance is an asshat.

And every time I read your catering adventures, I can't help but think of Party Down. It's a shame that show was taken off the air.

Leenie said...

The mosquito was sweet revenge. Hope you were able to find that brain and take it home and soak it in something cold.

Pearl said...

I did, actually, find my brain, but by that time it was covered in guacamole and demanding another margarita. :-)

R. Jacob said...

too bad it wasn't a fly!
swamp butt, lol
I was standing in our outside garden center yesterday, just standing waiting for someone and the sweat just poured off me and I cried out "I am melting" and toto just laughed and ran away!

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

The life of a part time server is not an easy one. I hope that mosquito zapped him from the inside out the miserable &&*%%$###@.

Shelly said...

I am a generous sweat-er in a sweaty climate. I fully understand. Next time, just drop some sweat on Mr. Thin Lipped Mosquito Eater.

Elizabeth said...

Margeritas for all for a Happy 4th July!
greetings from New York!

Mamma has spoken said...

I would have pointed out to him the extra protein he just consume. Not for his benefit, but for those around him ;o)

vanilla said...

Good. I hope it bit his innards.

Lynn said...

Ha! That guy is a jerk!

TexWisGirl said...

Too funny!

CarrieBoo said...

Wonderful descriptions. I'm sure it just got hotter in here. And I agree with the others, hope the mozzy pricked him a good one on the way down. :)

Powdered Toast Man said...

I like my mosquitos fried with a touch of hot sauce.

Joanne said...

My brain would have dismissed itself until the end of the gig, too.

"Out of context" is a horrid situation to deal with.

terlee said...

Well, it's pretty obvious to me who wins the Swamp Butt award, and I hope he enjoyed that mosquito...

jenny_o said...

Sweet unexpected revenge wrought by nature :) The best kind by far.

I am a heat-o-phobe and sweater too, and it starts as soon as I'm not-cold. So, about 18 degrees C, or 69 degrees F. I got it from my father and I swear it's got a lot to do with the thick heads of hair we were blessed (?) with. I am kinda looking forward to old age and poor circulation and sitting in 110 degree F heat with my little cardigan and lap blanket :)

ThreeOldKeys said...

Maybe you should write a screenplay.

Geo. said...

As a gardener I've had marginal success with a sturdy hat, but friends in food service find netted snoods more effective brain retainers.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Oh Pearl, he never knew you for your real talent, and now you've used it to get appropriate revenge. The mosquito was just a vehicle for you to skewer this Mark. I am in favor of the rich spending their money so others can benefit, so I hope you get paid well for these gigs. God knows you have to work hard and put up with, uh, stuff.

Simply Suthern said...

You still look HOT. Low hanging earlobes or not.

Ms Sparrow said...

I think you were far too kind in dismissing Mark's snobbish attitude as failure to recognize you. Didn't you see the movie, "The Help"?

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Pearl, I got a hot flash just reading this! Your heat descriptions are so vivid! And I'm glad Mr. Finance swallowed a mosquito! I agree that he saw you as part of The Help and not worthy of acknowledgment -- though sometimes seeing someone out of the usual context IS a challenge to the memory. I really hope it was the latter.

esbboston said...

Oh, Moisture and Mosquitos, The Fun Never Quits

Laraine Eddington said...

A mosquito was much too good for him. Now a hissing cockroach, that would be just dessert.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Oh, I love a story with a happy ending. So there, Mark!

And I'm sure you looked VERY hot, sultry earlobes and all.

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! You are a bad woman! Ha! Don't feel too bad for him; he probably panicked that you were one of the women he's banging away from home, and that his wife would see you. Actually, you shoulda spilled fruit juice in his lap; grapefruit for preference. Roth x

Mom of A and a said...

He just doesn't know your hotness!! Serves him right!!

Roses said...

Having started out my working life as a waitress, I promised myself I would sooner go into prostitution than have to deal with the Marks of this world.

It gave me a solid respect for the men and women who can work so hard, under such pressure without going postal at the absolute rudeness shown by some.

Thinking back, that decision to get out of waitressing, probably saved me from a 20-Life stint.

Eva Gallant said...

How fitting!!!

Daisy said...

Hope the mosquito does awful things to his insides! Can I have the use of the guillotine when you're finished?

Nessa Roo said...

I am literally LOL-ing over here. I've found myself in similar positions. Actually, I might have to scribble some of those situations down. Hmmm...

Gigi said...

Am I the only one who reads - thinks of an EXCELLENT comment - only to get distracted by all the other great comments and then forgets what I want to say?

Oh well. Now all I got is this....

Karma, baby! And BONUS! You got to see it in action. That rarely happens.

Pat said...

I admire your self control. I once worked voluntarily behind the bar at my theatre club and couldn't believe the attitude of some people. I was serving them so I was fair game to be spat upon - so to speak.
What a shower!

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Mr. Snobbo Dumbass is so stuck on himself and his 'wealth' he doesn't want to admit he knows a 'server person'.
How pathetic --and how typical. Are you sure you couldn't have dumped some ice-water on him somehow? ":)

Donna Hole said...

Vivid; and I like the bit of justice at the end.

I worked a second job as "the help" for years, and it was amazing how easily we are dismissed.

Although; I see so many people in my day job that if I meet you outside of my normal work day, I probably won't recognize you.

Some people think I'm a bit of a jerk too when I don't recognize them.

........dhole

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

Work has its own reward.

Crystal Pistol said...

I took a blog break for a couple of weeks. How I missed my witty Pearl!

I agree that Mr Finance is an Asshat. :)

River said...

Revenge is a serve of pineapple flavoured mosquito.

NellieVaughn said...

Pearl, I would have kicked him. Just a little. Not hard at all. How dare he not remember you!

Susan in the Boonies said...

How the mighty are fallen! Very satisfying ending!

Deborah said...

I am laughing pretty hard right now!

I am working at a consignment shop and a couple of former co-workers have come in and it takes them a beat or two before they know who the hell I am. Makes me laugh every time.

Love you Pearl.