Friday, November 13, 2015

Houston, We Have a Problem, Part II


 “There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”
― Frank Zappa

 When last I left you (Sorry to have been absent a few days, but work called.), the three women from Galveston (which is near Houston which is in Texas, you know) had badgered the waiter in to giving them separate checks but were still questioning the coperto charge on their bill.

While Twyla, Kerri, and Ron defended the coperto charge, the women still insisted it was ridiculous to charge two euro (TWO EURO) for bread and service.

"But how much would you give as a tip?" Ron asked. That —or the fact that they received their separate checks— quieted them for a few seconds.

Vernazza in the rain

 The waiter came by to get payment and saw the three credit cards. He said nothing, but the way he snatched them spoke volumes.  The three women were oblivious.

Brownie, eyed  the few pieces of cheese on her plate.  "I think I'll take this cheese with me in case I get hungry later.  It should keep."  Her friends urged her to take it and the "crappy" bread with her.   I rolled my eyes. "Most restaurants do not give doggy bags,"  I warned her.

The waiter came back and, and Brownie asked him for a bag or box for her two piece of cheese.  "We do not have those, Madam," he replied.

"Why wouldn't they have bags to take home what I paid for? How am I going to take this with me?" Brownie loudly grumbled. "I just do not understand this country." The waiter, cleaning the table next to us, could hear the entire conversation.

Twyla told me my green eyes had turned black, and I can believe that because I was holding onto my chair in an attempt to keep from hopping across the table and strangling the stupid woman.  "You are in Italy," I said to her, "not America. This is their country, and this is what they do."  I kept myself from adding a few choice words.  Brownie, too concerned with how she was going to take her cheese with her, ignored me.

"Wrap it in your napkin," Kerri told her.

 "My napkin is dirty," she said.

Twyla took the napkin from the bread basket and handed it to her. "Use this one."  The waiter, who'd been listening to the entire discourse, grabbed a larger napkin from the cabinet and gave it to her.  She didn't even thank him.
Telling us that they were heading back to wherever they were staying, they got up.  Brownie  threw the napkin-wrapped cheese in her purse, "I'm from New Orleans. I love New Orleans."  Why she said that, I had no idea. I was just happy they were leaving.

"Can you believe that?" Twyla asked us.  We discussed them for a few minutes and figured that the person leading their tour was going to have a grand two weeks.  As the waiter walked by, we asked for our check.


A few minutes later, he delivered the check to the table.  I spoke to him in Italian. "Can you split this into three checks, please? We'll pay with credit cards if you will." He looked at us in horror, and the four of burst into laughter.  Realizing we were joking, he also laughed and walked away.  When he returned to pick up our payment, I addressed him again.  "What is this coperto? Why do we have to pay it?" I picked up the empty bread basket and showed it to the waiter who, once again, looked at us in horror. "We didn't eat your crappy bread."  The gullible waiter again realized we were joking and laughed with us and tried to explain that some people were like those women.

"We're just joking," I told him.  "We're not like them." I handed him the money, and  he thanked us profusely.

The four of us joked about this incident for the rest of the trip, but it really upset me more than it amused me.  I cannot, for the life of me, understand such ignorance.  If one wants things to be the same as they are at home, then he/she should stay there.  We travel to learn new things, don't we?  Apparently not.

At any rate, we returned to the restaurant two more times, and he never waited on us again.  Maybe the jokes didn't translate too well.

Next time: Banks


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