I write a lot of strips in restaurants. About a third of all PartiallyClips strips are written while dining alone. I don’t know what makes the setting so productive, but there’s something about the pacing, the atmosphere, the times I sit and chew and look at the blank template… It usually gets me through the process. Some restaurants are better than others. Some that should be awful (distracting, cramped, full of kids) are great, and some that should be great leave me with a big check and no strip, over and over again.
With this strip, I had one of those experiences, and something close to what is described here happened between me and the female server. It was a little less my fault than this. She really just forgot about me for a long time, left me with nothing to drink, needing a napkin, etc. This after she did one of those big fake friendly scripted things where she sat in the booth with me and tried to parlay a “have you had a hard day?” into “would you like something expensive and watered down from the bar?”
Things got really icy between us by the end of the meal. Somehow I couldn’t bring myself to tip her less than 15%, anyway. I failed to write the strip I was there to do, because all I could really think about was “Where the hell is she??” As I walked to the car, this vague thought about how the experience was like a bad relationship floated around my mind.
Flash forward two weeks. I am at a different restaurant, on my lunch break. I have a wonderful, genuinely friendly and skillful waitress named Claire. I have taken a notepad to write on, in the hopes that I will be able to write some kind of strip even without a blank template to work on. I start to write some notes about a half-remembered clip I had struggled with. Then, the setting reminded me about that parking lot thought, and I wrote this, as a script without a clip.
Fortunately I have some generic “people talking” clips and this was the best one for the script. I had to alter the guy on the left’s lines so he had something to say in each frame, but other than that, it worked.
The ironic part of this long and ultimately pointless story is, I had to keep hiding the script from Claire, so she didn’t think I was writing about her. I think she actually read the part about overtipping, too. Feeling vaguely guilty, I WAY overtipped her.