Mike and I went to a nearby sushi restaurant Monday night at 5pm, not surprised to find ourselves alone but for the staff. We’re way ahead of our time when it comes to early bird dining. We’re about two weeks away from stealing sugar packets from every place we go.
We sat at our usual seats at the bar. That’s when I heard this little voice from my left.
A new waitress, who stood about 4’8″ had her face tucked up beside me, her chin all but resting on my arm. Upon seeing that I’d noticed her presence, she leaned in a little closer, until all I could see were hair follicles. As a dog lover, I fought the urge to pet her.
I tried to speak, but her face was so close to mine she’d stolen all my oxygen. I leaned back and took a gasp of air. Large eyes staring at me like Oliver Twist in search of a handout, she tugged on my sleeve and asked what I’d like to drink. I murmured my order, lips grazing her forehead, terrified she’d smell everything I’d eaten in the last week the moment I opened my mouth.
Unsure of the drink to which I referred, she crawled into my lap and read the name phonetically from my menu until she had it memorized. Then she hopped down like a Pomeranian and scurried behind my bar stool.
I’d seen this move in horror movies before.
Moments later she popped up at my husband’s elbow with no warning. Terrified, he jumped and looked at me, eyes wide. I quickly turned away from him for fear I’d never stop the giggle fit threatening on my horizon.
Mike asked for a martini and then inquired about one of the more obscure appetizers on the menu. She crawled into his lap and explained several appetizers by reading what the menu said verbatim. This was stunningly unhelpful, since most of the descriptions read like a random game of Words with Friends.
“Jeezus,” said Mike when the waitress left to get the drinks. “I think I was just violated.”
We tried to control our laughter by staring at the things around us like everything was fascinating. I noticed one of the specials was called the “Happy Maki” and wondered why things were always “Happy” in Japanese restaurants. Just once, maybe I’d like to try the “Sashimi of Discontent,” or the “Heartbroken Hand Roll.”
We generally have a drink or two before ordering, but soon realized our little friend had positioned herself a foot behind our stools, clicking her pen as she eagerly awaited our next move.
I could feel the hair on the back of my neck rising.
I could hear her breathing.
We put down our menus, and she stepped forward to rest her head on my elbow, awaiting my order. I don’t think I’d felt so loved since our Labradoodle fell asleep on my face.
I finished my first cocktail and asked for a small bottle of cold sake, which I was served in some sort of festive tree. When Mike ordered a bottle of wine, she brought me a glass as well, so between my empty cocktail glass, my saki tree, my glass of wine and my soy sauce, I was one fetal pig away from looking like I’d brought a 7th grade chemistry kit to dinner.
Mike made the mistake of asking about a few other items on the menu, and the waitress perched in his lap like a ventriloquist’s doll to read the menu in broken English. Terrified we’d have to navigate a long conversation, we agreed to all of her suggestions, gobbled them down, and escaped before she became accidentally impregnated by either one of us.