So there's this restaurant near my apartment that I've been going to pretty regularly (let's say, once or twice a month) for about a year now. It's a casual wine bar kind of place; they don't take reservations; you can get a small bowl of almonds for a few dollars, etc. A few months ago, I noticed that a new waiter had joined the stable who looked like a slightly more attractive Landry from "Friday Night Lights" (square jaw, cropped blond hair, thick glasses).
A few weeks ago, my friend and I were there for dinner and Landry was our waiter. He was polite but by no means chatty. (We asked him what his favorite sandwiches on the menu were and he answered with a series of what can only be described as shrugs.) After he cleared our entrees -- my friend and I in that "do we want that second glass of wine or not?" stage -- he returned to our table (keep it mind it was only like 8:45pm at this point) and announced, "I just wanted to let you guys know I have to leave the restaurant for the night. I'm going to give your table over to Joan... you'll be in good hands."
We both mumbled some variation of "Oh, okay, thanks" and looked at each other uncertainly.
About thirty minutes later (we had gone for that second glass), on my way back to our table from the bathroom, I bumped right into Landry in the back of the restaurant. He was carrying a few plates on his way into the kitchen.
"Oh.... um, you're still here?" I said.
"I thought you were leaving though...?" (The only explanation I have for my uncharacteristically
confrontational behavior here is that I guess I felt sort of offended/perplexed that he had apparently lied to us about leaving for the night.)
He looked at me for a few seconds -- and for a moment I thought he might slap me (I wish I knew why my brain works as it does) -- but instead he just sort of shrugged and said, "What can I say? I just can't get myself to leave this place!"
My friend and I spent the next ten minutes at our table deliberating possible explanations for the mid-meal ditch. Had he just not liked us (we had, somewhat annoyingly, made a production of asking him how to correctly pronounce the restaurant's name)? Had we not ordered enough to make waiting around for the tip worth his while? Had he been planning to meet some girl/dude for a date, only to have received a "can't make it" text on his way out, at which point he felt too awkward to then return to our table?
After we signed the check, I asked Joan, who had been perfectly adequate, what had happened to "our first waiter."
"If only I knew," she said. My friend and I both nodded familiarly, as if Landry were a relative who, despite everyone's whispered hopes, was just never able to get his act together.