Saturday, not long after midnight, July 2, 2016.
After being turned away from the convenience mart, I headed over to the supermarket to pick up a gallon of milk but before heading home I made a pit stop at the diner for a cup of coffee.
The one waitress working the late shift is carrying on a conversation with a customer as she goes about taking orders, delivering food, and bussing tables. The waitress is in her late 50s, the customer in her 40s. Both are having money and marriage problems and they’re commiserating with each other as they exchange the sad details of their lives. The waitress is trying to sound hopeful and good humored. The customer is trying to be funny about her troubles which are worse than the waitress’. Her divorce was bitter, she was apparently at fault, although it’s not clear to me how, and now she’s estranged from her now grown children. She seems to accept the blame and whatever happened it didn’t leave her thinking highly of herself. The waitress and her husband have patched things up but it’s still a touchy situation. But the point of sympathy between the two isn’t their marriages or money troubles. It’s their brothers. Each has a brother who is disabled.
The waitress has been trying to help her brother get on disability and find an accommodating place to live. The customer went through the same thing with her brother, successfully, and she’s full of advice, recommendations, and encouragement. It was easier for her and her brother because he’s a veteran, but she’s confident the waitress and her brother will get through it. She also offers practical help.
“If you need me to take him anywhere or fill out any papers, don't hesitate to call.”
The waitress melts. “Aww, you're a sweetie. Thank you.”
“That's ok,” the customer says cheerfully. “That's what I do. I don't do anything else well but I know how to do that.”