She had a drawn, fishwife sort of face, even though she couldn't be more than twenty-one--all Irish and string beany, as though she could have filled in for Molly Ringwald at that point in time where Molly Ringworm still had a movie career and was making abysmal John Hughes movies.
"The dining room is full," she said, with a frown on her face. "But you can go into the bar if you want. It's all the same food."
I glanced into the dining room of the Rock Bottom, and saw that there were several empty spaces, then into the bar, with all it's tight little tables and loud conversations that would make it impossible to hear. "How long is the wait for the dining room?" I asked.
"Five minutes," she said. "But I can get you into the bar right now, if you want. It's all the same food."
What? "We'll wait for the dining room," I said.
Her frown grew, but we moved to the side of the wall. An older couple approached Molly. She smiled and nodded and handed them a beeper.
"They get a beeper?" Corb whispered to me.
"I don't get it," I replied.
The hostess moved over toward us, still impassive. "I've just been told that it's going to be more like a twenty-five minute wait. About sixty people came in at the same time, and they're busy cooking all their food, so..."
We weren't about to argue that that had nothing to do with getting a table. We just left. Still, the exchange left me grumpy and wondering why she acted the way that she did.
She pressed at the large red wine stain on her white oversized oxford and laughed at herself. The stain covered the entire left side of her shirt. "I had a little accident with one of the trays," she said, touching my shoulder. "I had too much piled up, and the wine sort of went."
"You should make that story more dramatic," I advised her. "Next time someone asks, tell them it involved a guy and a girl and a love spat."
She smiled and touched at her hair, which hung straight down the side of her face, in shades of brown and dirty blond. Her eyes were animated, and it felt as though she wanted to linger before taking our order. "You know, that's not a bad idea. I can say that everything seemed just fine, but suddenly the girl stood up and said, 'You bastid!' and tossed a glass of wine at him."
"Only you were there to catch it," said Corb.
"Well, at least, if you run out of wine tonight..."
The waitress laughed at me and grabbed at her shirt. "I can just squeeze some out, huh?" I thought of mother's milk, but decided not to say anything.
"Will McCormick and Schmick's pay you for another shirt?" I asked.
"Not really," she said, touching my shoulder again, and squeezing it. She grinned and looked over at Corb. "I'll just have to steal another one from my husband!"
Corb nodded. "They don't pay for uniforms."
She moved toward Corb, and squeezed his shoulder. "Have you ever worked in the business?"
He nodded. "Not here. But I used to bus at Legal Seafood when I was in high school."
She kept her hand on his shoulder. "Oh, then you've been through the worst! I used to work there, too. It was all sanitize sanitize sanitize! You couldn't even put your fingers near your eyes, or you'd have to go wash your hands."
We sat in the so-called Kennedy room, although I could only spot two reference two shots of JFK. Jackie in her pillbox, at the inaugural. Princess Grace looking regal and casually elegant walking down the stairs of the White House.
"She's complaining about Legal Seafood being too sanitary?" Corb whispered to me.
The best way to cap off a night walking on the town is with a piece of pie and a cup of coffee.
We didn't get the waitress with thick black glasses and straight black hair, with an arm full of tattoos, unfortunately. She always seemed the most interesting to me. Ours was the least dramatic of the waitresses in the diner, although all three looked as though they were hell on wheels.
I watched a homeless guy walk into the diner, with wild grey hair and a large overcoat. He sat at the counter, dug a mess of stuff out of his coat pocket, and started sorting through the collection, separating an indifferent collection of coins from gum wrappers and slugs. The tatooed waitress moved over to him. She spoke to him in familar tones.
I tapped at the camera, by my side, feeling itchy. "I want to take a picture."
"Don't," warned Corb.
"It's not right. You don't have their permission. They may not want you taking pictures of them."
I frowned. "Oh, please. Why should they care?
"No, seriously! Don't dismiss me like that."
"I just don't see why it's a problem."
"Why is it rude?" And I took a quick shot, just to tease him.
Corb frowned. He was already tired from having worked an overnight, and the search for an empty parking space close to the diner had stressed him out. "Ah, you get so obsessive!" he said. "You call me obsessive. But you, once you get something into your head, you just have to do it."
The waitress dropped off our pies. The coffee was good, but the pies weren't exactly out of Twin Peaks. We both left a few bites, paid our bill, and headed back to the car. On the way, Corb kept teasing me, pointing at everything. "Do you want to take a picture of this fire hydrant? Do you want to take a picture of this tree? How about this sign? How about this rock? How about this window? How about that magic shop?"
Actually, I liked the Magic! sign. I decided that he was on to something, and turned on my camera.