“So. K. You are sitting there all quietly in your corner. That’s what you are, yeah ? Very quiet and zen-like, is it ?”
I swallowed the last of my champagne to answer (choking) “Well, no, not really. I am not zen-like at all. You totally misread me there.”
She was very loud. And ugly, too. Unpleasant, really. She had thrust out her hand, presenting herself as “A” and from the way my boss greeted her, I just knew she was *the* A I had heard so much about. The girl who worked this restaurant before I did. The one that could sell basically everything.
Before I could say anything else, my boss broke in “Come on, you’re kidding ? You’re zen as hell, K. Everything’s fine with you, you’re large, you take everybody the way they are, not much fuss with you, that’s why you’re so good for this place.”
I wondered. I am anything *but* zen. I tried to explain that I feel strongly about things but this is work; you have to be professional, you try to get the best out of it, that you cannot make people do what they won’t do, might as well get the best out of everybody, but nobody listened anymore. Already moved on to another topic. A’s topics. She was very loud indeed, being very provocative and challenging to everybody.
We kept on breaking out champagne. The new place is opening soon, everything looks just fine and we had had a hell of an evening. We had stuff to celebrate. And hell. Weather is finally wonderful, we sat outside and it was the infamous “wee small hours”.
“A” kept on trying to get to me. I kept my calm as I am wont to do. I am slow. I try to believe the best of anybody and not react rashly, but slowly I realized she was on to me. She had it. Badly. With me. I didn’t get back at her, at all the little remarks, all the little criticisms, all the little things directed at me. I didn’t have time to. She got up, with her architect lover/husband/whatever, saluted everybody and left before I could realize what was happening. Typical of me. Slow, and way too naive.
I went to the bathroom and my boss trudged along. When I asked her, she confirmed. This was the “A” indeed. When I aired my doubts about A, she answered quickly “Oh, but she hates you. Definitely. She knows who you are, she’s known for a long time, and she hates you because you’re better than she is”.
I don’t see myself as Zen. I hate the thought of somebody “knowing who I am” because of what I do. And I wish I could have thought of a great come-back to this unpleasant girl that had it badly with me, because I am a better waiter than her. Talk about something good turned bad.