( written with fondness and a bit of humor! )
George is not really George. He is Jorge (pronounced Hor-Hay in Spanish). But everyone just calls him George. He’s the cook at the Palo Verde Cafe where I waitress (alas, for just another 2 weeks). He starts his workday in the restaurant kitchen at 8AM and leaves about 8PM. He speaks very little English or so would have me believe. Either way, I’ll never know.
His face speaks volumes. The expressions that George conjures up run from slightly annoyed to completely pissed off. I can just imagine the inner conversations this man has with us. Us being the seven waitresses he works with six blessed days a week from October thru March.
Sometimes he’ll speak. But to my ear, it’s incoherent or probably something I don’t want to hear anyway. I’m sure to him I am just another gringa waitress that he has to put up with for the season.
When I’m placing an order ticket up on the order carousel, he’ll eyeball the paper. A look so searing he could set it ablaze. If I don’t have all my prices right he throws the ticket out the pass-through to me. After I correct it, I pass it back to him. I always say Thank you, George!
There are those dreaded times when I’ll have to ask him a question. His responses run a veritable gamut of gestures. All of which I do my best to decipher. Here are a few I think I’ve figured out.
A forefinger twirling up into the air: What do I care?
His furrowed brow with eyes glaring at the order: What the hell?
His furrowed brow with eyes glaring directly at me: Crazy demon waitress!
Both eyes rolling toward heaven: Santa Madre De Dios! Why me?!
I have heard one discernible word form George. It’s when he addresses the boss. He calls her Jefa (pronounced Hefa) which means Boss. Otherwise, hand gestures, facial expressions, and body language are the order of the day. Oh, on rare occasions he’ll yell Ah-nee! To get my attention for one thing or another.
Does he just throw the order ticket back at me for only price mistakes? Oh, no! Every day there’s a different daily special. It can be meatloaf or salisbury steak. It doesn’t matter. I’m supposed to just write Special on my order ticket.
On Fridays the daily special is always Fish & Chips. Am I writing Special. Oh, yeah! Is George tossing my order ticket back at me. Oh, yeah! Because on Fridays I’m to write F&C; not Special. I don’t ever remember that from one week to the next. So every Friday, just once, my ticket gets tossed back at me to make the change.
There have been rare occasions when George has smiled. Mostly it’s when he scares me inadvertently as I round a corner either going up from or down to the basement. Just for a moment he looks almost human.
Then…..the moment passes!
Tin Can Annie