One of the finest examples of tipping too gratuitously is when the waitress offers to drive you home. I’d sucked down four Bloody Marys at “dunch” and spoken ill of every ESPN commentator that crossed the screen on an otherwise slow sports day.
This red-headed monster approached me from the rear of the bar, wearing a mustard-stained jean jacket and flexing a dingy menu. Dave was on point. He knew what I needed. Two bacon burgers, please, on the rocks.
I asked where Kathy was; my sometimes nemesis, sometimes crush. She wore her heart on her sleeve tattoos and rarely gave me a free shot at the end of lunch hour. I thought being a “regular” counted towards something these days, especially since I normally brought in work-bros on Friday afternoons for a quick drink before we drove our separate ways to enjoy a meaningless weekend.
“She comes in at two, man,” Dave muttered.
Perfecto. I’d wait till the clock struck “Kathy,” order another round and blast-off into oblivion.
The Oblivians were playing over the loudspeakers and Kathy arrived ten minutes late, sporting a cigarette butt and a smile, turned upside down. I wanted to brag, “I love the Memphis sound,” but I could tell she wasn’t happy to see me. Big shocker. It was Tuesday, I was minus my buds from work and nobody else was around to divert her attention away my flaccid attempts to flirt.
Pastel ties draped around your expanding neck scream, “SQUARE!” They’re nooses with a 401(k). I mean, look at us. We appear sexless and forlorn, maxed out from 70-hour work sessions preparing irrelevant documents that regulators will never inspect. Our eyeballs scrape the bottom of our jaws and we pant at the mere mention of 2-for-1. Years are fumbled, marriages are personal fouls. Lives dribble out-of-bounds and every sport on TV looks too violent. Girls don’t appear the same; they’re predisposed tarts, hell-bent on tackling every blood vessel in your groin for when you stumble back into your hotel room to dream of sorority swaps and Spring Break ’98.
Kathy sees this. She knows this. She’ll pour another cocktail and stare absently at former athletes hyperventilating in HD. Her hand will creep along the mahogany surface and slide the red-headed concoction into view. My mind will be on her but she’ll be thinking about 1,000 other things, the last of which is me or my tipping abilities. Eventually, she’ll take off her work apron and escape. But I’ll be back in the office by 8:00 on Wednesday, craving dog hair and another chance for Kathy to completely ignore me.