Finally, the last day of Valentines. The day itself. 

It pans out pretty much as expected.

Around 8 tables don't show up or call to cancel. Standard. We get walk-ins, on a Sunday night (we never open Sundays), people who pretend not to know that it's Valentines or Sunday and argue the set menu pricing before finally walking out again. I don't give them good odds for getting lucky later...

And we get the walk-ins that pretend to have a reservation, they don't, or we can't find, but we find them room...

...And then they complain that they weren't informed of the set-menu pricing, argue, and I can believe one, that we didn't record the reservation, but 2, well, that's a stretch. If you booked for Valentines Day we told you. If you tried to book for Sunday we told you we're closed or - that it was Valentines Day - and there was a set menu. Bollocks to this, the bullshit people will try. One mistake, for sure we could have made it, but this combination of no-reservation, no-knowledge of Valentines Day Set Menu, well, it's bullshit. Fuck off.

They stay and eat, drink hot water and lemon, tip $5.00 on 4 courses and a $200.00 bill. Not surprising, but if they could have ordered off the menu they would have spent $50.00 and tipped $5.00...

The couples, what you would expect, if you knew hospitality, a few couples, happy, celebrating the occasion, in love, not your own quality of love, not what you'd want by a long shot, but they each have what they were looking for, they're happy, and you're happy too...

A few, not so happy, this formal acknowledgement, it's the chance to air grievances, make inappropriate disclosures...one couple, the last to come in, both well dressed, he, a swart, burly young man, around 30 or so, her, late twenties perhaps, taller, (than him), lithe, angular features, possibly a paid date (we've already had a few of those, there are always those this time of year...and paid, what, really, is the difference between the payment over an evening or the payments over a lifetime that so many of our regulars find so much more socially acceptable...?). But they're talking and it's obvious they know one another...She's attractive, for sure, in a generic sort of way, but the nephew, he's astonished that she's out with him, can't figure it out...

By the second of their 4 courses they're the only table left in the restaurant. It's 10 PM on a Sunday night, I've sent everyone but myself home, just me and T*** and his girlfriend, we're talking, and this table, dawdling over their soups and salads...

And she's divulging, in cautious increments, about how their shared friend X doesn't know that they're dating, because it's on a need to know basis, and ...

This I overhear, I'm not eavesdropping, but you hear things dropping off food, pouring wine, water...and he's in trouble...predictably the conversation - and their tempers - take a turn for the worse...

Been there, done that, he's in big trouble, heading for a fall...reminds you of all the chumps that propose on Valentine's, and get declined, and at first you think the girl must be a heartless bitch, but if he's so misunderstood the relationship that he's convinced she'll say yes, if he's sooo conventional that he thinks a restaurant crowded with strangers all up to the same mischief is the high-mark of romance, well, then, probably he deserves it...

I talk with T***, a good regular, although he always stays later than you'd like, and we catch up. Turns out he'd worked for J***, one of our respectable businessmen customers, and had saved his ass with a few sexual harassment lawsuits...always good to know...By the time the "table" finishes dessert it's 12:00, and the message she was trying to send, so discreetly, has been received, he pays for the food and first bottle of wine, she pays for the second, dutch of sorts, and she's hurrying to get into her jacket, she's been on dates every night this long, long weekend you suspect, and probably they've all worked out pretty much the same...

We hear later rumor of a complaint, someone calling and demanding to speak to "the owner" at 8:30 AM on Monday, he merely hung up, Valentines, it's the perfect chance for the dissociated individual to realize that something's missing, vaguely wonder at the lack of connection with their partner, and find fault, not with their relationship or lover, but with the restaurant, the pricing, the ambiance, the service...

Now, Valentines over, the last predictable shitshow, should be clear sailing to summer...