We have a regular, a floppy-haired, mild-mannered guy, who comes around 8:30 or 9 pm, dressed in a suit coat and toting his hyper-active spawn. If you are a parent you understand the significance of this immediately: 9 pm should be time for bed, not for hanging out with dad at a fancy restaurant. Dad always has a 1/2 bottle of wine of something excessively expensive for the occasion, something French worth hundreds of dollars. Like our other "living room" regulars he does not pay corkage (Though at least he gives me a splash to try, and I can't really complain about a 20-40 dollar taste of wine.)
Usually, floppy hair's child passes out as soon as he eats. I'll catch him stretched out in a banquette or across a few chairs pushed together in the main dining room. It's late enough that there are not too many other people around to witness this less-than-stellar example of parenting. Dad continues his meal, contently messing with his tablet or watching TV, enjoying his fabulously expensive Bordeaux.
I didn't appreciate the method to this madness until floppy hair came in early one day. He was with the whole family‒wife, two older kids, and the little one‒coming in at 6 pm or so. The mini-member of the spawn was in full spaz. He couldn't sit still, messing with the table papers, getting into his dad's space, and I feared several times for his water glass. It was a special occasion, and the family was nicely dressed. Dad had brought in a half bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, a 1st growth Bordeaux which costs roughly 800-1500 for a full bottle, to enjoy with mom.
I poured the wine, eyeing the spastic minion distrustfully. Dad didn't seem to care, his method of dealing with the kid was "cope and ignore." My own small experience with children tells me I'd be a doormat of a parent as well, so I really can't judge; however, this child's lack of discipline came back to bite floppy hair. Towards the end of their meal, I walked past to see a stemmed glass down, with wine poured across an empty plate and surrounding table cloth.
A couple hundred dollars worth of wine was soaking into the table cloth, but floppy hair seemed unfazed. He simply stood up and took junior for a walk outside. Perhaps he was simply happy his tan suit had been spared.
I finally understood the 9 pm visits. The late hour plus rich food were a tranq dart for the minion, with our restaurant chairs serving as a containment unit. It's nice to know we can provide a service to our regulars beyond, you know, food and drink.
For anyone who is curious, is the Lafite Rothschild worth ten crisp hundred dollar bills? Not even close‒ I've tried a few different vintages now and I'm always impressed by its polish and elegance; It kind of reminds of Anne Hathaway: glamorous, wholesome, neatly put together. But quirky tends to catch my interest more than perfect, and there are too many beautiful, intriguing wines under 50 bucks to ever make me throw my hundreds at any single bottle.