Escapade I

Last quarter, Alfred and I would sometimes go out to eat on the weekends. We ended up at Chef Liu’s on Castro a few times. I noticed that there was an attractive waitress working there, and mentioned it in passing to Alfred. So when Henry heard about this one time, he wanted us to take him there, which we did. During dinner, he insisted on asking the girl’s name for me, and I declined, since I was rather embarrassed. This girl’s gotta be in her mid-twenties or something, and I wasn’t really interested in her. Well Henry persisted, and tried to drag Alfred into putting me on the spot. Thank goodness Alfred was a nice roommate and didn’t do it, though he did scare me a couple times with, “It wouldn’t matter since you don’t even know her.” Anyway, that night Henry didn’t embarrass me, but I felt kind of unsatisfied after that. How can I build up my confidence and work off the shyness if I didn’t try something a little crazy every now and then?

That was last quarter. So last night, we went out to eat. At first, Alfred suggested going to Su Hong’s Chinese restaurant. I remembered clearly how I chickened out last quarter, and wanted to prove that I wasn’t a coward, so I said quietly, “I wonder what her name is.” As I had calculated, Henry pounced on the opportunity, and made straight for Chef Liu’s again.

We parked and walked toward the restaurant. I said, “Fine, you can ask, but don’t mention my name.” He suggested to Alfred, “Let’s alternate. I’ll ask, ‘My friend here,’ while nodding at Xuan, ‘would like to know your name. And you can ask her another question when she comes around, and nod at Xuan, ’My friend here…’”

At the restaurant, while waiting to order, Henry was discussing how to pull this off. After a while, the waitress that I had thought was cute came. Henry asked for some water, and she went to get some. I was surprised that he didn’t say anything, so I called him a “chicken.” Well she came with the food again and then Henry said, “This is my friend Xuan. He would like to know your name.” I looked up, surprised that he used my name, and smiled weakly at the girl, discerning a confusion and awkwardness as she looked at me. Henry asked for her name again, and she stammered, “Br- Brenda.” And then she left quickly.

She didn’t step near us during the rest of the dinner. I’m certain she was too embarrassed by Henry. I was a bit upset that Henry used my name, and put me on the spot, since I thought that he was going to ask her and point at me discretely. Henry thought I was interested, while I merely wanted to show that I wasn’t scared, and we got into a big debate about my feelings after that. Well, the deed was done, and I felt kind of bad for the girl, so I took Henry’s pen and wrote a note on a napkin and put it under the tray where we left the tip. I wrote:

Brenda,
I apologize for
my friend’s behavior.
I hope he hasn’t
embarrassed you
too much.
—Xuan

Then while I was too embarrassed to stay any longer but not so much so as to destroy the napkin, I got up and walked out, looking back behind me to see a waiter pick up the tray and the plates. I’m curious if she ever got the message. I’m not sure if I want to go back again.

Henry, Alfred, and I got into a discussion about the meaning of the word “rude” afterwards. (We always start debating about stuff when we’re together.) College only happens once. Gotta do some crazy stuff sometime.