“Hiyuuuuuhhh! What can I get for yoooouuuuu????”

Now. Say that in a really high pitched up-talk tone. Like you’re Miss Barbara and this is Romper Room. 

Because that’s what our waitress sounded like the other night at when she addressed every family member – 7 years to 51 – during the entire experience, from drink order to check.

For my part, I tried to put up a front for the kids. As the resident Larry David of the family, my bullshit alarm goes off immediately.  I start getting annoyed right off the bat and will usually make some sort of snide comment when the wait person walks away because I’m classy like that. But this time I vowed to keep my trap shut in a strange sort of attempt to set a good example for my kids. Hey, everybody has their moments of clarity.

It didn’t take long before my 14 year old finally cracked. “Why is she talking to us like we’re in preschool? I mean God, what is up with this woman?”

That’s m’boy! The apple doesn’t crash to the ground far from this a-hole tree. Well done, ME! But it’s true. Look, it’s one thing if wait staff talks to Grandma or a 3 year old that way. Wait – no it isn’t. Grandma gets a pass, because as a mid-lifer, I know it’s coming.

But what’s up with the syrupy up-talky over politeness with the rest of us? Yes, yes, it’s nice to be nice, blah blah blah. But I live in New Jersey. I expect my waiter/waitress to saunter over to my table wearing an expression of slight annoyance and an air of exasperation in his/her voice as he/she begrudgingly takes my drink order. That’s how it’s done.  Let’s have some more of that half hearted Happy Birthday sung by rote by the entire wait staff as they golf clap their way to the finish line while you hide under the table.

“Is there anything else I can get yoooouuuuu???? Would you like some more iced teeeaaaa????” Ugh. I feel like answering in monosyllables. I know. I’m a crank. I know they’re just trying to be nice. But it’s weird. And when your kids think it’s weird, it’s weird.  We finally started mimicking her to the point where I pulled out my epic Shirley Temple impression. You know what happened? That night, probably as I was singing “On the Good Ship Lollipop” over my extreme loaded baked potato, Shirley Temple left this world.

Karma. But poor Shirley took one for the team instead of me. I’m sorry Shirley. Ever and ever so. I’m a cranky old bitch. Hey, maybe that’s why the waitress was talking to me like that. She confused my pint of HARP with AARP.  But she made me feel like a kid. And I’m a grown up. Weally, I am!

Miss, next time you come to the tabuw, would you pwease bwing me a Shiwley Tempewl? And can I have an extwa chewwy?

So here’s a tip for the waiter/waitress: Please just talk to us. You can still be nice without sounding like you’re hosting the Nickelodeon awards.

Check please! And don’t forget to bring me those little candies I like, okaaayyy?

Photo “where is that waitress?!?” by Sinead licensed by CC 2.0