“You don’t understand,” server Max at K’nB Wine Cellars said. “We thought it was their first date. The way your mom was laughing at your Dad’s jokes. We thought they were a brand new couple. We were betting on whether they would last or not.” He took my empty glass to get me a new IPA, waved it around as he talked. “To discover they actually are married, for like years, and they have two functional kids-”
“Well.” I interjected with a smile.
“Whatever, Sami. LIke you guys are in college and you’re pretty good kids. Anyway it blew my mind.”
4-5 years later my parents still go to K’nBs and though he no longer works there, Max is one of my friends, whose notorious “cabin” parties I’ve frequently attended. And he’s gone to baseball games etc. with my parents and a QOTSA concert with all of us.
My mom’s unrestrained laugh is still a familiar sound there, even infamous; from far away her cackle alerts the staff to her presence. In their heyday, my parents have been whisked to tucked away tables on packed nights, bought drinks by staff, and had coasters thrown at them. All of the perks of being a regular — of being customers that helped support this business when it first began.
Become a regular. Find a local bar just starting to establish itself. Go on Mondays because you need a beer to recover from the trauma of restarting your work week. Go on Tuesdays because you wish you came with an appetite on Monday and really wanted to try those sliders but, tomorrow, I’ll be back tomorrow. Go on Wednesdays because you’re halfway to the weekend and they have that special on craft drafts. Go on Thursdays because, why the hell not?
Tip well. Tip 20%. Get too drunk and tip 30%. Fuck it, 40%. Tip so much that they apply every possible discount to your order because they’re expecting your big tip and it almost embarrasses them to be treated so well.
Get free french fries when they screw up someone else’s order and have extra. Get free french fries when they screw up your order. Tease them for screwing up your order. Be teased for being loud and drunk. Be asked about your life, work, family. Bring dates and exchange knowing glances and feel like a hotshot.
And, most of all, smile when they remember you like a rum pineapple with lime.