Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Bathroom Attendant At Chickie And Pete's

My mother-in-law stayed with us for a few days this week. She had never been to Philly before, so we took her to as many unique Philly attractions as possible. Last night, our dinner took us to Chickie and Pete's. (The one in South Philly, not either of their two NE Philly locations.)

Chickie and Pete's is a divey sports bar/restaurant focusing on crab fries, crabs and mussels. It's the type of place where they give you water in a plastic cup and you have to ask your server for utensils which are, naturally, plastic. I thoroughly enjoy the Chickie and Pete's experience -- any restaurant that sells a T-Shirt that reads "Got Crabs?" or sells giant 6-foot towers of domestic beer is fine by me.

Before we left, I had to go to the bathroom. I walked into the bathroom and a man in the Chickie and Pete's "Got Crabs" T-Shirt was resting against the sink. We made eye contact and he gave me a head nod. This was awful enough when I looked around the bathroom and saw near the sink bottles of Listerine, breath mints, and other acoutrements.

This is when it hit me.

He is a bathroom attendant.

At Chickie and Pete's.

I was thinking about this man's job as I started to urinate. How many times in a given evening does he hear the urine stream of a stranger? What are his mornings like? How does he answer the question "What do you do for a living?" He probably answers "I work at Chickie and Pete's." But then how does he respond to "Oh, are you a waiter?" Does he then clarify that he hangs out in the bathroom all night?

I was done urinating and I washed my hands. (Something that is required when a man is staring at you.)

"Hey man, what does Shalo mean? On your shirt?"

I was wearing a goofy T-Shirt I bought at a comic book convention a few years ago featuring the image of "Shalomman," an Israeli anti-Palestinian superhero.

"Oh, it's Shalom. It's Hebrew."

"Oh, aight. I feel you."

He then handed me a paper towel.

I only had a $10 bill. It didn't look like he had any change, so I didn't tip him.


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