The other day I was having lunch at a diner in Burbank. “Tallyrand” has been in business for a jillion years (57 actually) and I’ve been going there for at least 20. I wouldn’t say I’m a regular or anything, but I pop in from time to time, to enjoy the long-time staff and the pretty danged good diner fare. I know diner food isn’t for everyone, but I happen to love it. (Mister would definitely not agree on this one, by the way.)
So I was there at the Tally, having a fabulous burger, when I realized I could identify many servers by name. I’m not sure how that happened, as not one of them knows me by name. And believe me, they know a lot of their customers. I heard one guy at the counter saying he’d see them tomorrow. Tomorrow, people! That guy eats lunch there multiple days in a row. It’s good and all, but come on. Variety, you know?
Anyhoo – I felt rather anonymous, sitting at the counter. And I was good with that. The burger was aces, but too big for one sitting, so I boxed up half and took my leave. As I was stepping down from my stool, one of the long-term servers – Marti – said, “It was good seeing you again, Lady. Take care.” I smiled and assumed she was either just being nice or had mistaken me for someone else.
In the parking lot, as I approached my old car, I saw the manager looking her over. He smiled as I unlocked the door, asked me a few questions about the Volvo, and turned to go back inside. Then he stopped, faced me and said, “Victor said it’s been a long time since you’ve been here. Where have you been?” I told him I’d forgotten just how good the burgers are, but now that I’d been reminded, I’d be back. He smiled and wished me a good day then went back in to work. As I drove away, it occurred to me that maybe they did recognize me after all these years. Maybe I’m not as anonymous as I thought. And then I had a final thought: who the hell is Victor?