June 2005


Cute Birds and Waiters

Today’s been a whirlwind of activity.

Well, not really-my afternoon was punctuated by a cute bird (a Grünspecht) flying into my window and then falling onto the ground looking like it was dead. I kind of panicked and went screaming off for help from the secretaries.

Call me a girl.

K picked up the phone and called somebody whilst I went into the hall hyperventilating. I was still feeling ill when in front of the secretaries the bird flew off of its own volition. Thinking about it still makes me feel a bit queasy. I hope never to hear the clunk of a bird flying into my window again.

Anyhow, the day actually started off a lot better than that. I stopped by Stilbruch, a café on Wagnergasse here in Jena. I needed breakfast and I wanted to keep reading Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification. The book is fascinating and has raised a lot of questions that have been floating in my head for the past week, and providing some answers.

(One of the questions concerns Neo-Nazis. It must be incredibly difficult to be a Neo-Nazi in Germany. The public reaction of 400 Neo-Nazis marching in Jena was 8,000 counter-protesters and a court-order to wear flip-flops instead of steel-toed boots, yet 400 people feel strongly enough to protest against Jews and other minorities (me!). The social pressures to change their opinions must be incredibly strong, yet they persist!)

Anyhow, I picked Stilbruch for a really, really, stupid reason: It had a hot waiter working.

Wearing a muscle shirt, cute tattoos on both his shoulders, and muscles that you could watch working persuaded me to sit down.

And endure poor service.

I’ve given up on receiving American style service in eastern Germany. I have gotten to the point where I am grateful if they hand me a menu within 15 minutes and take my order within half an hour of sitting.

Surprisingly not everybody has lowered their expectations to the same point I have, and I watched three or four tables seat themselves in front of Stilbruch and wait for menus, some even receiving them, before they stood up and left. Surprisingly, I thought the people were too impatient-five minutes just to see the waiter in eastern Germany seems pretty typical, getting something from them usually takes a lot longer.

(I doubt any of my friends in the States would have ever expected to hear me say that about service in a restaurant: I will never forget the soup spoon at the Upland in Bloomington where I chewed out a waitress because she forgot to bring me a spoon for my progressively cooler and cooler bowl of soup.)

Breakfast was tasty, and I managed to notice the waiter fast enough to order a second cup of coffee before he vanished to the great indoors.

I got a fair amount of reading accomplished. I also got a fair amount of waiter-watching done.

Sadly, this is the second time I’ve chosen Stilbruch because of the wait-staff’s attractiveness. They have another hot waiter who has a similar look, but with only one tattooed shoulder. That off-duty waiter came by the restaurant while I was there with his dog.

Cute waiters are an expensive habit.

2 comments to Cute Birds and Waiters

  • MT

    ah yes, I remember the Upland incident …

  • ChrisC

    I never go to Denny’s or IHOP anymore. Everytime I go in I get ignored. Those are the only two establishments I’ve ever walked out of.

    My feelings are that I can understand the place being busy, but when I’ve sat long enough waiting to be served and have seen people that came in behind me order and get their beverages, then it is time to leave.

    I even waited long enough one time that the folks that came in behind me ordered and got their food and I still had not been waited on. Sadly the table I was seated at had been generally cleared (most dishes gone) and so forth, but they had not cleared it to include the tip the previous customer left.

    I swiped the tip and got breakfast at McDonald’s instead.