Thurs 26 Feb 2015
“Hey, babe. Coffee.”
The waitress nodded and briskly walked towards the kitchen, returning moments later with the steaming, hot broth.
“Cheers, babe. You’re looking smart in that uniform. Let me fix the collar for you.”
Her young body froze with fright. Her collar didn’t need adjusting. Even so, it was for her to adjust and she was perfectly capable of fixing it herself. Instinct told her innocent mind that this was wrong. She cringed inside at the close proximity of the mature stranger and the touch of his hands on the back of her neck.
“Much better! Let’s order some breakfast, yeah?” He said, as he lowered his palms, along her skinny arms and onto her stomach, in order to adjust the bottom of her shirt, where a sliver of skin was visible and vulnerable to a quick feel.
She pulled out a notepad from her apron pocket and placed it on the table to begin writing. The smile that she would normally wear, to greet and serve clients, had faded into a wide-eyed look of worry and anxiety as she leaned over to jot down their order.
“I’ll have the English breakfast, babe. I like my eggs firm, like your skin. Hmm, smooth, too.”
The pig slid a fat hand across the table and began stroking her arm with a thick, sausage-like finger while she tried to concentrate on the breakfast order of his wife, sitting alongside him with their infant child in her arms.
Never had she experienced this kind of discomfort and fear. Why was this man, that she had never met, treating her with such disrespect? Couldn’t he see that he was hurting her? Or did he just not care? Even a polite request, for the guest to respect her personal space, may upset him and cause a scene. Upsetting a client means losing one’s job. A Thai waitress earns a dismal wage on a good day, but one cannot afford to eat without it.
The event in the restaurant, involving the western “gentleman” and tiny Thai woman, left quite an impression on both Maja and I. In fact, this town has made more of a dent, rather than impression in my mind about the behaviour of people. I use the word “people” very loosely. Many of the specimens that we have observed could be categorised, in the “Missing a Chromosome” column, along with Jacob Zuma, George Bush and members of ISIS.