I’d hoped for something a bit more vitriol-inducing for my Premiere Pitting, but hey, you have to work with what you’ve got… and so, I give you:
The Cranky Old Lady At The Services Club
A good friend and I decided to attend a local services club (of which I am member and he was attending as my guest) for lunch today, as we often do before one or the other of us starts work (Not many places you can get a steak, chips, and a drink for $6.50 anymore!)
As this particular establishment, you have to select a table first (which has a number on it), and then you go to the register and place your order, after which the food is bought to your table.
The dining area was filling up (it was lunchtime), so my friend and I were very pleased when we found an unoccupied table by the window and placed our coats and bags on the chairs before going to the cashier to place our order (this is common practice). Certainly, there was no sign on the table indicating it was “Reserved”, or any reason for us to suspect the table was otherwise unavailable.
In the three minutes it took while were in the queue ordering our food, an old woman (early 60s, and the very definition of a Crazy Cat Woman) had taken a seat at our table and was starting to drink some kind of beverage.
“Excuse me” I said politely, “My colleague and I were sitting here- those are our bags and coats on the chairs.”
Now, given the way these boards can be, I should stress that this woman was in no way incapacitated as far as we could see- no crutches/zimmer frame, no wheelchair, nothing to indicate she was in any way incapacitated. If anything, she looked (physically) healthy and rather well fed- so it’s not like we were heartlessly kicking a frail, infirm old lady out of a seat or anything. Simply, we were there first, had indicated that the table was “Taken” by placing coats and jackets upon it, and thought perhaps this lady had missed that fact or thought the jackets belonged to friends of hers.
“NO YOU WEREN’T! THIS IS MY TABLE!” she says very, very loudly.
“Excuse me?” I ask.
“DIDN’T YOU SEE MY GLASS OF WATER ON THE TABLE???” she says in a unnecessarily belligerent tone, pointing at a half-full glass of water in which the ice has melted and for all intents and purposes would otherwise be considered “unattended” by bar and floor staff at most establishments.
“No, I can’t say that we did, but even so, it’s just a half-full glass of water that’s been left to stand for ages, and therefore doesn’t mean anything.”
This woman grabs one of the passing floor staff and starts haranguing her about how we’re “Stealing” her table and that the statement that a glass of water doesn’t mean anything was some sort of insult designed to upset her and so on.
The floor staff girl, seeing our bags and jackets on the chairs, realises what’s happened, but is still copping an earful from the Crazy Old Lady.
“Gentlemen, if you’ll just grab your coats and follow me, I’ll have you re-seated and make sure the kitchen knows where to send your order” the floor staff girl said, and managed to get us a table not far away. Of course, as we were leaving, Crazy Old Lady starts going on about how she “Always” sits in “Her” table and we should just magically, psychicly not only know this, but also which days she chooses to dine in the club, or even who she is (I’ve been a member there 6 years and I’ve never seen her before), and that trying to steal “her” table was obviously a calculated, personal affront.
As we were getting our things, Crazy Old Lady kept haranguing us about not knowing it was “her” table, so I said “Look, I’m sorry I’m not psychic. I’ve never seen you here before, and there was no ‘Reserved’ sign on the table. We’re moving anyway.”
Of course, that set her off about the glass of water again and how she “always” sat at that table, and she finally concluded with “How often do you come here, all of once a month?”.
I have to say I can be thoroughly unpleasant when I’m hungry, and that was the final straw.
“Yes, you cranky, senile old cow, that’s exactly how often I come here- because I have better things to do with my life than spend every day of my life sitting in a corner table of a services club and harassing people. What a truly sad and pathetic person you must be if that’s the best thing you can do to occupy your time.”
And with that, we left her, nearly apopleptic with rage, and were seated elsewhere. The food was good, as always, but my friend was thorougly pissed off by the incident- especially since it’s not the first time we’ve had elderly club members insisting that we’re taking “Their” table- and so after he started work, I went back to the club and asked to speak to the General Manager, and explained the incident to him, and that as a member I didn’t think it was especially appropriate behaviour on her part, and how it was making my friend and I feel unwelcome in the club- of which I had been a member for the past 6 years.
He apologised profusely and described the Crazy Old Lady to a T, asking if that was her- and when I said it was, he sighed and explained that she ate there every. single. day. and they’d had huge amounts of trouble with her doing that to other people as well, and he was going to have to have a word to her about pulling her head in, so to speak (He jokingly asked if I’d like him to throttle her while he was at it).
He was also concerned that some of the other elderly members were throwing us off “their” tables, and said “I guess it’s a bit like their perch at the bar”, but he sympathised, said it wasn’t acceptable, and he’d have a word to the staff and put something in the next mail-out reminding people that unless specifically reserved, the tables were on a “first in, best dressed” basis.
I did, however, take the chance to congratulate the staff- including the quick-thinking floor staff girl, and the bar girl who was all smiles although she was clearly covering for someone who’d phoned in sick and was also run off her feet- so hopefully some good will come of the situation.
So, in conclusion: Fuck You, You Cranky, Senile, Argumentative Old Cow!
You know what? That make me feel much better!