Saturday, September 02, 2006

in the Outback

I decided to go on an Outback Steakhouse run this evening. I don't normally go on Saturdays because I know it's crowded, but I hadn't eaten all day and I had some cash to spend, thanks to various birthday-related cash infusions (not to mention that shocking financial gift from my former students). I waited until after 9pm to mosey on over, and found myself rather bizarrely in the spotlight.

The afternoon/evening manager was there again; I'd met him during my previous Outback excursion. He remembered my name; I'd failed to remember his, so he jokingly boomed, "Jari oepseoyo!" ("no seats") Later on, he came by with an Outback keyring as a peace offering. I now know his name: Jin. Like the drink, dammit!

The next encounter was with my cute and perky waitress-- a Smoo student who knew me. She'd never been in one of my classes, but she knew me by face and name. While I was happy that her personality was so bright and cheerful at that late hour, I was a bit dismayed to be served by someone who knew me.

Next to me, a man and woman were speaking in French. The woman was obviously a native speaker, though not from France, whereas the man was likely an American who spoke excellent French, but with a strong North American accent.

The final encounter was with a half-drunk Korean guy who'd been prodded over to my table by two women-- I assume they were his mother and sister, based on the way they'd been talking to him. Blowing alcohol into my face as he gabbled, the guy said he'd overheard that I was an English teacher, and that he was looking for private lessons because he worked in one of the Yongsan electronics marts and had to deal with foreign customers all the time. I told him I wasn't giving private lessons, so he changed tactics and started asking me my opinion of different language institutes. It took a while to get this gentleman off my back; perhaps the most annoying aspect of the conversation was that he was quite polite and apologetic the entire time, which reinforced my impression that he'd been pushed into this by his female companions. He went back to his seat in the corner, and conversation turned to the subject of yours truly-- as if I couldn't hear a word of what was being said.

I think I'll stick to hitting Outback at 3PM on weekdays. That's what I usually do; there aren't many people in the resto at that time, and no one's drunk.

ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention that my waitress, whose shift ended at 10pm (I stayed longer to order dessert), very kindly gave me a doggie bag with two loaves of Outback's brown bread, which I do enjoy. So despite the evening's weirdness, positive things did happen.


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