Three minutes after I'd opened my own laptop, the scruffy man at the table next to me got up and sat down at my booth and unwound an irregular spheel about how 75 cents for bus fare would totally change his whole [expletive] life. After narrowly suppressing half a dozen responses ranging from verbal abuse to full-blown assault, I chose the option least likely to ruin the rest of my evening, and dug 75 cents out of my wallet and dropped the money into his palm. He vanished.
Around 2:30am the head waiter poked some buttons on the jukebox and then began walking around the half-circle of tables clapping his hands and shouting "C'mon, get up, let's dance!"
The whole wait-staff converged in the middle of the restaurant, followed by almost all of the customers. Someone ran into the back and fetched the spanish-speaking busboy, who was up to his elbows in dishes. On the way back he turned down the lights. From the middle of the crowd the really tall waiter yelled "Yeeeeeeah!" and waved his arms over his head.
Then, everyone boogied down. To "Get Jiggy With It". By Will Smith.
Five minutes later the song ended, the customers cheered, the busboy retreated to the kitchen, and someone turned the lights back on.
A guy I knew in passing showed up with his friend, and they both shook my hand over and over again. They sat down at the Pac-Man table and went for high scores, which didn't work so well on account of how inebriated they were. The late-30-something couple adjacent to me talked endlessly about rock bands, and getting drunk in the desert. The woman proclaimed that David Bowie was, "like, huge, like, at least as big as Shakespeare, you know?" and I had to restrain myself from laughing right out loud, and bite back a self-indulgent rant about how very far in life "being cool" had failed to take them in 35 years.
The customers thinned out to nothing. "The Thin Ice" by Pink Floyd came randomly onto the jukebox, and I got very close to busting out into song. I seriously considered putting money into the jukebox and selecting "Birdhouse In Your Soul" and going full-on opera to it, with a fork as a microphone, but someone shut off the jukebox. I've really been wanting to sing again lately, and I have this idea, see - it involves making industrial covers of old Ray Ellington shorts, all bombast and songbirds but with tearing metal in the background for a horn section. Today I took a serious look at audio equipment online for this purpose. But I digress.
As the restaurant was closing I had a talk with the head waiter. He introduced himself as Dan (that's four Dans I know, now!), and to my surprise, told me all about his past as a web monkey coding in Perl for a string of startups. He became a waiter because he was absolutely sick of corporate politics, and of managers who knew nothing and talked in buzzwords. I told him that if he was ever interested in getting back in "the biz", he should apply at Learning In Motion, just up the street.
On the way home I contemplated my Flash-embedded graphs in the testing system, and thought to myself, "There really is too much here for one person to do. I could use some help with this Flash and Perl stuff. ... Why the hell doesn't [CERTAIN UNNAMED TALL PERSON UP IN OREGON] come and work for us? Then he and me and Alex and Matt and Dan and Robin and Scott and Tavys will be close enough to make studio space."