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rue-madame's Diaryland Diary

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I {heart} Chartier

Had lunch with Jacques today. He was ontime for once, and found parking right in front of Chartier. Hanging out with him is sometimes like hanging out with the MIS person from your work. He sits down, and out come all the gadgets: the mobile, the Palm, the laptop.

Today I got to ask the Chartier question thatís been bugging me since I was a kid, but before I launch into the question I should give you some background.

All the waiters at Chartier are ancient. They all wear black vests and long, white aprons. On their vest is a round white badge with a number on it. Today our waiter was Number 29. When you walk to the center of the restaurant, on your right is the kitchen and next to it is a cabine (that looks a little bit like a turn-of-the-century 1-person bank tellerís window.) Inside the cabine sits a woman whose job it is to inspect each of the dishes that comes out of the kitchen. She checks to make sure that the waiterís order and ticket correspond, and she writes down prices. When service is finished, the waiters purse has to match up with the womanís tally. Behind the woman is a wall with numbers that light up when the orders are readyóso today, if Iíd been sitting downstairs I would have been able to watch the 29 to see when our food was going to come out of the kitchen. Because the number on the wall, you see, corresponds to the waiterís number.

Ever since I was little, Iíve always thought that the number the waiters wear was linked to years of service or something like that, that the numbers were in some kind of chronological order that was related to the waitersí hire date. I came up with this theory because I once saw waiter number 1 and he seemed pretty old to me, and waiter number 11 seemed a teeny bit younger. Today I asked Number 29 if he was the 29th in order of seniority, and he said no. He said when he was hired, there were a bunch of numbers to pick from, and he chose 29.

There goes that mystique.

8:57 p.m. - 2001-09-01

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