The life and times of a waitress in Cool Cape May… by Molly Stone
Like all Cape May servers, I dread August. I dread the exasperated parents, ready for their antsy kids to be out of the house and back in school. I dread the elderly folks whose morale has deteriorated after a summer of heat waves and faulty air conditioning. I dread the tourists who’ve finally grown sick of scouring trinket shops for a hermit crab with a personality. The collective Cape May attitude changes from something like: We’re going to have fun here, to something more like: We’re going to have fun here, damn it.
Every year in August, this calm and beautiful beach resort becomes instead a hostile island of testy, human grenades. Add to this tension of the full moon that lit up the ocean surface like a bad omen last night, and I should have seen it coming. And by “it,” of course, I mean the mano-a-mano fist-fight that nearly erupted in the classy, intimate dining room where I work.
A table of five, three grown adults and their parents, sat early in the evening. They commented on the lovely table as they scanned their menus. They ordered a bottle of wine, and then another. The white-haired father peered approvingly over his coke-bottle glasses at the scene before him. This was a family reunion, a time of celebration. With each swig of wine, his laugh grew more boisterous and the storytelling became more animated. The conversation bounced off the walls of the dining room in a foreign way – this is a restaurant of muted chit-chat and quiet jazz. It grew difficult to speak to my tables without screaming over this outspoken family.
Finally, the gentleman at the next table, a tall Jersey boy of the fist-pumping variety, couldn’t take it any longer. He beckoned his lady to follow him out of the dining room, but stopped to sarcastically thank the wrongdoer for ruining his evening.
“Congratulations,” he said. “On being a jerk.”
The elderly gentleman appeared stunned. Then he leapt from his chair (or, rather, stood up from his chair, slowly; he was in his late seventies, after all).
“Should we take this to the parking lot?” said the older man.
“Oh, I’ll take this to the parking lot,” said his aggressor.
Granted, this restaurant doesn’t have a parking lot. I assume they were referring to the proverbial parking lot, where men spit testosterone and wax masculine. Where even the most arthritic white knights can throw down, and meat-heads can defend the honor of their Snooki-like maidens.
Unfortunately, nothing happened. The chef came out from the kitchen to diffuse the situation. Too bad, because I was looking to get in on the action and release some pent-up aggression. After all, hell hath no fury like a bitter waitress…in Cape May…at the end of August.