Recognized Social Butterfly


Twice I had dinner without my wife, who had a touch of the flu. Both experiences were notable because of the huge difference in the personality of the servers.

At La Bella Vita restaurant in the Bar Harbor Regency Hotel, my immaculately dressed waitperson had a sophisticated foreign accent. As he seated me, he announced with dignified diction what the specials were that night, and he politely inquired about my preferences on and off the menu. When my meal arrived, he asked me (without being officious) if it was prepared to my satisfaction.  Whenever I nodded to him to refill my water glass or to retrieve some more lemon, or bring the check, he promptly did so.

I was so impressed with this young man that I complimented him on his efficiency and his near-perfect English intonation. He confidentially said that he had come to America from Serbia just two weeks ago and had never worked in a restaurant before. If that wasn’t an astounding revelation in its own right, he then apologized for not being fluent enough! I assured him that his English was flawless and that he was perfectly adept at his job. Such praise made him a little uncomfortable. But after I paid my bill, and he left me to wait on another customer, I thought I noticed a little bounce to his step.

At another restaurant in Bar Harbor, the Bar Harbor Beer Works, my young super casual waitperson dressed, spoke and acted much more informally than the scrupulous young server at the Inn. She unselfconsciously wore an oversized sloppy stained apron that semi rotated when she hurried about.  She had a common Down-East Maine unfiltered accent consisting of chewed words and a hearty guffaw or two.

But what stood out the most was her chattiness. At one point, she asked me where I was from. When I replied Hawaii, she effusively reported that one of the former waitresses at the Beer Works was now going to college in Honolulu. Then without warning she asked me what my name was, a strange request indeed. Not wanting to offend her, I complied. But I wasn’t prepared for her next move. She stuck out her hand and squeezed mine as she said it was good to meet me. Her unglamorous demeanor and forwardness would have made the waiter at the Regency cringe, but I found her quirky behavior down-home endearing.

What an odd couple these two waitpersons would make. Viva la difference!


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