Most businesses have a set closing period and will gladly let customers know when it's time to leave. Restaurants often don't, so knowing when to leave can be hard for people who think tabletop finger tapping is acceptable in public. If you ever find yourself to be the last table in a restaurant, be sure to remember three important things.
Seriously, the place is closed. Look around. What kind of blinding lack of self awareness do you possess? Everyone else got the idea, but you're drowning in Pepe Le Pew levels of delusion. There were once other people and food and noise and music, but now all that is gone, now it is just you sitting in a room alone. Your plates have been taken away, your glass hasn't been filled in an hour, and the lighting has switched to "medieval dungeon." These are clues. Do you know what they mean? No one wants you here. It is time to go.
The ability to separate Server from Indentured Servant can be difficult. Don't worry, you aren't alone. Tween children with dead eyes who drown their cats and murder their neighbor's infant also struggle to remember that humans are more than lifeless vessels. Without empathy or the ability to feel, remember this subtle difference between the illegal practice of indentured servitude and the dude that brings you biscuits: one is legally obliged through debt and contract to tend to your every need for years at a time and the other is banging his head against an ice machine in the back waiting for you to leave.
Still having some trouble? Cut out this handy cheat sheet and place it in your pocket to remind you what kind of person you are being:
Indentured Servant: You're an asshole in the 1600s using exploitive employment practices.
Server: You're an asshole in an empty Applebee's with a stomach full of alfredo sauce.
The guy was kind enough to tell you the daily feature even though you strolled in ten minutes after close. Maybe it's time for you to realize that he has a life, too, that he might have better plans for the evening than wait for you to begin the difficult process of left foot/right foot/left foot towards the door.
Imagine, for a moment, your job. Picture yourself finishing up your day, adjusting one last insurance claim or whatever, and now, as you begin packing up, a stranger sits down beside your desk and asks for you to file their claim while they suck on all the Werther's from your candy jar. Fine, whatever, you quickly finish the work and hand it to the stranger. You check your watch, it isn't too late and maybe you could catch the tail end of the evening. But the stranger pops another Werther's in his mouth. He decides to sit and "enjoy the atmosphere" of your cubicle.
Stop being the butterscotch munching jackass. Let the server go home. Waste your life, fine, but do it elsewhere. He's getting paid $3.75 an hour to watch you twiddle your thumbs. Hell, it isn't just him. There's a manager, a cook or two, a valet, and a dish tank dude, too. They all hate you. What they say about you is true.
Whoever you're with wants to go home. It's time to realize you aren't making dreams here. This ain't no eHarmony commercial. Closing the restaurant on a first date is like going to law school--you only do it if there are no better options. If the date was better, you'd be home already. If your date was worse, you'd be home already. You're stalling, hoping something will change, praying your date will randomly take their shirt off. It won't and they won't. You're in Date Purgatory and the poor soul on the other side of the table is only keeping conversation with you because they're unable to think of a good excuse to run away. Do them a favor. Go home. Or jam the stem of your wine glass into your temple. Either or, really.
Don't let the winter dryness destroy your sinuses.
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