Doggie Bag 

Where waiters and diners tell tales.

In my youth, I supplemented my living with the occasional art commission. Once I was asked by a student named Paul to do an India-ink drawing of a coyote femur. The drawing would appear in his master's thesis.

I arranged to meet Paul at a coffeeshop called Piper's. This was before all such meetings were carried out in Starbucks, or, for the politically correct, Peet's. Piper's was a pleasantly dim place full of suits of fake armor and welcoming booths covered in red "leather." The waitstaff was almost entirely composed of battle-hardened, middle-aged women whose pancake makeup and turquoise eyeshadow appeared to have been applied by a road crew. You could imagine these ladies spending their leisure hours bench-pressing twelve large china plates of veal cutlets and Salisbury steaks.

Here I was, at Piper's, with Paul and his coyote femur. To my great surprise, a waiter appeared to serve us. He was a doe-eyed, willowy young man with a soft voice and polished demeanor. A new employee, he seemed anxious to prove himself a worthy addition to the troop of peroxide Valkyries. Paul and I ordered pie and coffee, and our waiter was wonderful. He was attentive but did not hover -- in all ways a pleasure to deal with.

The details of my commission were settled, and I obtained possession of the coyote femur, which I placed beside my plate. The waiter brought the check, eyed the bone lying before me and, without missing a beat, inquired if I would like a doggie bag. To honor his sangfroid, I accepted and left him a generous tip. I felt certain that he possessed sufficient steel within his velvet glove to carve out a niche at Piper's.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Bad Table

  • It's Organic

    Where waiters and diners tell tales.
    • Jul 13, 2005
  • Hold the Cheese

    Where waiters and diners tell tales.
    • Jul 6, 2005
  • Swept Away

    Where waiters and diners tell tales.
    • Jun 15, 2005
  • More »

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Holiday Guide 2016

A guide to this holiday season's gifts, outings, eats, and more.

Taste, Fall 2016

Everything you need to know about dining in and out in the East Bay.

Best of the East Bay

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation