In Los Angeles, and I hope in New York City too, there is an entire subculture of actors who wait tables. They are sometimes considered the loathsome, lost artists who are clearly NOT making it. I'm not about to say that waiting tables is an art, but there are so many things that benefit an artists soul in working at a restaurant.
Last night was an awkward example. I was in the front section, which means I am the last to leave. So at 9:30 when I am sat THREE tables I am already slightly annoyed. Three couples.
One couple orders drinks and dinner quickly. They seem upbeat and into each other. A long relationship. Another couple orders a diet coke and water. Lame. Who doesn’t drink at dinner? They seemed slightly awkward, but they took a picture together. I kinda thought they were a new couple until then. Digressing...
The last table is an attractive thirty-something woman and an older man, say forty-five or so. They are in heated, hushed discussion. They take awhile to look the menu, whispering points between glances. When I go over there, CLEARLY interrupting them (but come ON its 9:45 by now. All the other waiters are leaving), I hear things like "I just don’t feel like you listen to me," and, "I do everything I can to...um yeah were ready. Ill have the Steak Frites..." and they order. I leave them the hell alone for the rest of their meal. Forty-five minutes later the argument has escalated. I have to go home. It’s freaking late. They are still picking at their dinner and whispering frequently. At the first appropriate moments, I take their plates and ask, tentatively, if they want dessert. No, thank God. Tea and coffee. Ok. Done. I go back to drop the check and they're really into it by now. She is attacking him about something. He is looking all defeated. (See, that is the first problem. If he was a tough guy, the kind of guy this strong-type woman clearly needs, he wouldn’t be in this position in the first place. Dr. Laura is wrong. Men emasculate themselves...) I have to tell them that we need to close so hurry the hell up and pay. They nod. They’re not listening. I go back when the basketball game is finished, Utah wins, and there is money all over the table. Crumpled. He clearly pulled it out of his wallet and threw it in his rage. Child. He deserves this. I am left to pick up all the little bills and of course drop some, while he is tearfully telling her that "All I want is to make you happy." And I am out of there. Don't ask them if they want change. They owe me.
My point is that when you wait tables you are the fly on the wall that the audience is in the theatre. People don’t care what the measly waitress thinks about them. Who is she? The failed actress. Nobody. Well, yeah they’re right, for now, but in the meantime I get to work with a bunch of beautiful people and get paid to watch theatre.