May 31 2008

Waiter in Venice

Published by at 5:38 am under Scott's Adventures,Uncategorized

Observations of a waiter in Venice.

Italian waiters really are a breed apart. My hotel suggested a wonderful late night cafe a few turns from Piazza San Marco (Bistrot de Venise for reference). I’m greeted with a warm double-pawed handshake by an impeccably dressed man (in tails!) with a deep, Italian tinted, almost operatic ‘Buona Sera!’ He engages me in a few pleasantries before offering me a table with a casual view of the pedestrian traffic (no cars in Venice!). He offers up an aperitif and is back in a flash with a cool glass of prosecco. As I glance over the menu, he makes a quick round of the tables. If the table’s quiet, he offers a few choice comments, and quickly has them laughing, proficiently switching between French, Italian, English, Russian? is that Japanese!? At tables with lively chatter, he swiftly refills glasses and clears a bit. A tall blonde in what appears to be an Oktoberfest outfit stops by and he’s (from what my limited German makes out) comfortably chatting about how her studies are going; by the time she’s retiring to her apartment across the passage, he has her giggling like a schoolgirl.

He’s back to take my order, and soon has me talking about my past travels and future plans. He suggests a few ‘off menu’ specials, and has my table laid with a few pre-appetizer nibblies before I even notice. He’s soon back near the kitchen chatting with the cooks in an animated Italian style – his demeanor much more casual – he’s one of the them now, spinning on his heals with his hands fluttering in the air as he tells some tale for his small audience. Something catches the corner of his eye, and in a second he’s out front, grasping the hand of (quite clearly) a tourist he’s spotted passing by – must be a previous patron – they’re both laughing and smiling like old friends together after a long separation.

And so as the evening passes, he drifts between the tables, flowing effortlessly and expertly amoung languages and worlds (and as far as I can tell, always correctly), a chamelian at ease with any company that passes within his small domain, always smiling, the epidome of charm and sophistication, never laying a dish or foot wrong, and always leaving them laughing.

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