How Do You Solve A Problem Like BC?
BC is possibly the most foul-mouthed person I know and takes offence - in a rather comical way - at the most absurd things. Her surliness over seemingly ordinary circumstances or people is what prompts me to claim that she harbours a dozen complexes (hence her pseudonym). A charge that she refutes with profanity that most certainly cannot be published here.
So the other day, KO called me to join her and her two German friends for dinner at this rather good Punjabi restaurant. BC said she would join us later. The four of us were guided to our table by a rather cheerful and friendly waiter named Alistair.
Now, I love cheery people. BC, for reasons best known to her, detests them. She even objects to the dozen smiley magnets on my fridge door. This would explain why she issues death threats if I so much as greet her in the morning. It is why our opinions of cheerful people differ so. While I completely “heart” them, she finds them “annoying”.
Anyhow, back to our waiter Alistair. The sincere fellow fussed around our table, ensuring we were comfortable and took our beverage orders. Then while we mulled over our food menus, he decided we must all be foreigners. As I listed each dish we wanted, he painstakingly described what it was, even going so far as to explain the meaning of “achaar”. Not wanting to offend him, I patiently heard him out and nodded understandingly as he completed each elaborate explanation.
I blamed his assumption on KO’s accent. KO blamed it on mine. The gospel truth is that only one of us has an actual “accent”. The other (me, me, me!) has what is universally called a “neutral accent” with an occasional inability to pronounce certain names. Capisce?
BC arrived a while after our food had been served. As she pulled a chair up to our table, Alistair appeared and beamed down at her. “You’re late!” he remarked as he helped her settle in. Now, here is where our perceptions differed. While the rest of us chuckled, BC was offended, thinking he had admonished her for her tardiness. “Oh, I wasn’t aware we had some kind of a set time”, she mumbled dryly.
Then Alistair “offended” her again. As she picked up her glass to drink, he asked, “Would you like a drink?” BC started, almost sloshing her drink onto me, before bemusedly pointing out that she already had a drink.
In an effort to make up for his faux pas, Alistair then served BC with some kebabs and added, "Madam, have some onions." The problem BC had with this? There were, in fact, no onions in the dish. She hissed, "But there are no onions in there!" He beamed down at her again and said, "No, do have some more onions." "This man has lost his onions," BC mumbled to me.
The last straw (to her - the rest of us were completely amused) came when he took it upon himself to explain to her what “gulaab jamuns” were. “Balls of dough fried in sugar sy--” he began before she cut him short. “I know what they are. I just don’t want those stuffed ones. You know, the ones with that c**p in it”, she said, gesturing wildly while the rest of us chuckled again.
As we left, seen off by the cheery Alistair, I remarked, “What a pleasant waiter. One of the nicest I’ve met.”
BC scowled at me. “Brilliant, go ahead and worship the man that crushes me with his venomous tongue”, she spat. “May his sugary dough balls turn to bitter ash."
And just like that, the cheery Alistair was a marked man.
Sigh. Did I mention complexes before?