Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Waiter, There's a Fly Man in My Soup Room

I don't surprise easily - I'm always so keenly aware of my surroundings and all. Or at least I thought I was until the fall of '99.

Since the early 90's I've been an active member of a national professional organization - not because I had so much to offer, but because I had so much to learn. I talked about it in my Keepsake Moment post here. Every year I've gone to the annual meeting, and this particular year I was asked to speak, which coincided with the same year I was selected as a Fellow in the organization.

So one day I wake up and someone thinks I'm kind of a big deal. Huh?? I was so humbled, because other Fellows before me were the very same ones whose brains I had picked for years. I'm certain this was a product of 1) the element of time (I've been in this field a long time) and 2) inquiring minds (mine) want to know - and ask until they get answers.

Ron Burgundy wanted to come along for the trip and to see the presentation (a piece of paper), but I said no. It would be too expensive for him to fly out there, and frankly, I enjoyed the time with old friends and a few days away from him. (You all know that's normal - don't judge me!) Four days of lectures, meetings, and breakouts, juggling PowerPoints, flash drives, laptops, and taking notes. So why in the world would he want to go there? Just to see me get a certificate with a dozen other people? I had effectively discouraged him. Whew.

The new Fellows are honored at the banquet, which is the highlight of the week with 1500 in attendance. Really important and famous physicians, nurses, exercise physiologists, and researchers (in this professional circle) had other more prestigious awards bestowed upon them and my friends and I always sit toward the front so we can rub elbows with them. It's a nice formal dinner, with tuxed waiters and the whole nine yards. And it's a time when we Iowa folk need to be on our best city behavior for a change. But now and then we still throw food.

The waiter assigned to my side of the table was a disaster - and he really creeped me out. From the time I sat down, he would brush up against my back, tousle my hair, and even get real close behind me so I could feel his breath on my neck. He would touch my shoulder, sprinkle water from the pitcher on my back, and in general be way too touchy-feely. Ugh. I mentioned it to the friends on either side of me, and at one point after he breathed on my neck I made the comment to my friend Janie that I was "afraid this creep is going to be in my hotel room tonight." Early on, I made it a point to not make any eye contact with him. I certainly didn't want to egg him on. He was always behind me, which made me squirm even more.

About 30 minutes into the dinner,
the creepy dude not only slopped water on me again, but proceeded to trip and fall on his face behind me as he stumbled into me and my chair. Glancing at the legs and torso, sprawled on his belly, I just wanted to crawl in a hole. This guy was sick. I was feeling stalked and starting to get a little paranoid. I couldn't wait to call Ron Burgundy when I got back to my room and tell him of the experience.

The head waiter then approached me and said that my waiter was new, and if he was offending me or causing me any trouble he would ask him to leave and assign me a different one. Then I felt terrible. Here this guy's probably working for minimum wage and just got the job - how could I possibly have him kicked to the curb? I told him not to worry about it - it would be fine, and I would just continue to ignore his aggressive, inappropriate behavior. I could be civil about it without making a scene.

My entree arrives. There was some massive plate shuffling and I waited patiently as my waiter placed my plate in front of me, but the plate just sort of hovers in my face. I glanced up at him and....



Yep, there he was, Ron Burgundy, in the flesh.

My waiter.

My shock and awe could not be contained, as captured in the video below. He was obviously having the time of his life, constantly hamming it up for the camera like it was his job. Well, I guess in reality, it is his job.

This was a one hour video, condensed down to a couple of minutes so you can't see me pick the food out of my teeth, or snort uncontrollably at the jokes coming from across the table. Note the hysterical restrained laughter of my friends, who were all in on the prank, as were the other waiters. RB even went to a pre-dinner waiter meeting, got fitted for his waiter tux, and conspired with the head dude. Then he planted his video camera behind a fake fig tree and had it on autopilot whole time.

Note how gracefully surprised I am, and how inconspicuous I was in the room when I realized what was happening.

I was right, that "creepy waiter" ended up in my hotel room that night, then promptly flew back to Iowa the next morning. The lengths that silly boy won't go to in order to pull off a surprise.

To this day, when I attend the annual meeting, the first thing people say to me isn't "How is the sucking up lobbying going?" or "What's your committee up to?" People just point to me and say "You're the one whose husband dressed up as the waiter in Phoenix..."

Yes, I'm famous in that circle - famous for making a fool of myself in front 1500 of my esteemed colleagues.

But wasn't that the sweetest thing in the world? It is one of his proudest moments!

Tea today: Genmaicha


Liz (Loving Mom 2 Boys) said...

that is incredible!! Your husband is amazing, I can't believe how well he pulled that off!!!

Helen said...

Candy, you know what everyone really remembers? That you are loved.

Wendy said...

That RB's a funny guy! Of course, now I'm dying to know if you ever got him back...

And I just have to say I was a bit puzzled when the title "Waiter, There's a Fly Man in My Soup Room" came up on my blogroll. I've always wanted a soup room...

vanilla said...

Loving, caring and funny. That RB is a keeper, isn't he? And your reaction? Precious. Thanks for sharing.

sherri said...

Loved this! Your stoic reaction was hilarious when you kept getting touched by the waiter!

Ron Burgandy scored many points that evening. What a wonderful surprise.

Annie K said...

Holy mackerel, that was awesome and RB is my kind of guy. I'm gonna be on the lookout for him when we all get to Helen's house.

And yes, Sherri, RB scored (points) that evening. (snort!)

Alix said...

Oh my gosh, Candy, you totally drew me in on the waiter story. I was twitching in my seat! What a riot that Ron Burgundy was up to a few tricks. Sadly, I couldn't get the video to play, but I'll keep trying. I'm sure it's a scream.

-stephanie- said...

HA! boy, you two, get a room. :-D

oh yeah, you did. Great story and video.

Mylestones said...

Now THAT is bloggy fodder if ever I saw it! Great story!!

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