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Reaching across table. Grasping empty plate. Carrying armfuls of dishes piled high, food scraps, silverware. Vanishing. Returning. Cleaning table. Setting up. Next customer. Invisible. Ignored.
Slipping items off table into purse. Eyes meeting. Flower vase, salt & pepper shakers, sugar packets. Looking down. Seeing breasts through gap in blouse. Stealing look. Smiling. Mute.
Cups, saucers, silverware, plates clinking, crashing, clanging, cracking.
Listening. Stories. Jobs. Bosses. Coworkers. Neighbors. Secrets. Freaky. Rear Window. Stop.
Men. Gossiping. Discussing. News. Opinions. Each other. The usual.
Girl arriving. Front door. Bright sunlight, dress transparent. Men laughing.
Cleaning toilets. Gross. Sick. Mopping. Sanitizing. Safe.
Watching. Lovers kissing. Things happening. Under table. Stop. Shaking head. Walking away.
Whispering. Please. Talese. Not that hotel. Stop.
Dumping trash. Emptying grease. Cleaning this. Cleaning that.
Speaking. Changing with the wind.
Public voice. Private voice. Phone voice, friend voice, stranger voice.
Summoning. Ordering. Waiting. Receiving. Complaining.
Do this. Do that. Yes sir. Yes ma’am. Sure boss. Sure cook. Sure waiter, waitress. Sure kid.
Entering. Impatient. Blocking, bumping, demanding.
Bringing stuff. Own booze. Own food. Pouring, mixing, making.
Shouting, laughing, screaming, crying.
Left behind. Snot rags, bandaids, toothpicks, chewing gum, matchbooks, envelopes, hair, blood, expired phone cards, empty pens, old tickets, crumpled papers, doddles, buttons, empty packages, fuzz balls, maps, guides, newspapers, phone numbers, addresses, bugs, paper bags, notes, business cards, to-go containers, baby food packets, coats, hats, phones, lists, pill bottles, rotten fruit, fingernails, floss, unwanted candy, plastic bags, bibles, books, packing material … tips not shared.
Flailing. Epileptic attack. Spoon in mouth. Waking. Dazed. No memory.
Sending signals. Body language. Eyebrows, hands, fingers, arms, shoulders, necks, heads, legs, feet. Telltale signs. Detecting. Table manners. Public face. Private face.
Relating. Updike. Eyes, mouth, lips, tongue, nose, ears, torso, torture, piercing, being. Punishing. Stop.
Throwing. Spoiled child. No stopping. Vacuuming. Repeating.
Reflection. Window. Looking. Straightening hair, shirt, pants, skirt. Applying lipstick.
Food smears. Food stuck. Mouth, face, teeth, hands, clothes. Pull out. Wash up. Clean off. Leave on floor.
Reading newspaper. Sipping coffee. Oblivious.
Writing. Drawing. Making lists.
Buying. Selling. Legal. Illegal.
Posturing, positioning, propositioning.
Business, sports, people, politics, religion.
Planning. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow.
Parents, spouses, girlfriends, boyfriends.
Pain in the ass. Stab in the back. Slap in the face. Kick in the shins.
Laughing. Singing. Entering, mascara smears on face, stinking of urine.
Out, damned spot! Out, I say!
A walking shadow.
Someone’s in the kitchen with Dinah.
Keep it up
You got the cadence down. Time for a blog.
David, indeed you saved all those words and phrases from the floor, night after night for years at the Gull, and put them to good use after all. Good thing that you invested in the Cadillac of vacuum cleaners, the Royal!
And again, the napkin art is superb. Where else on earth do we find a match for that cafe activity, for that collection?
Thanks Gordon. You sound a bit nostalgic. Ready for another go?
Much like your experience, our experience in working at the Sea Gull in 1971 convinced us to not go into the restaurant business.
Terry & Judy Johnson
David, You are a saint.
I now get it –– those are dues.