Somewhere in Los Angeles is a post-apocalyptic diner set in an urban no man’s land. Outside are painted images of a pink pig and the child and teenage versions of a mysterious girl. Inside sits a cornucopia of cops, blue collar workers, and tattooed hipsters.
As intriguing as that is, the real color here emanates from the mouth of one of its waitresses, whose potty mouth is legendary and defies the boundaries of cordiality to the elderly, the religious, or the innocent ears of children.
This is the great beauty of a back woods or back alley diner: There is always an eccentric waitress with a name like Bubbles or Serena talking smack; sprinkled within her hilariously feigned abusive banter is a tidbit of truth, a nugget of knowledge, a loud lesson to be learned.
When my son and I recently took our customary bike ride to Nick’s for breakfast, our favorite waitress was multitasking — cursing while storytelling — when she noticed that my son was not downing his mammoth order of pancakes. His surprising loss of appetite brought forth a flurry of strangely accented expletives. She cocked her head and shouted to half the diner, “Oh my god. He’s in love!” She then tried to steal his phone to see who might be the Juliet to his Romeo. My son’s color went from suntanned to heirloom tomato within five seconds.
While he maintained control of his phone and his possible secrets, it occurred to me that a stranger had seen something that I had not.
The icon of Diner Waitress should be included in the Tarot or the book of Jungian archetypes, dishing out fine food alongside the raw and brutal truth.
“You handsome!” she said as we left. Smiling, we began looking for our bikes outside (which she insisted were stolen).
Wisdom is everywhere and doesn’t have to come from a prototypical “wise man” or even a man, for that matter. It can be dished out by women, children, and even your enemies.
Tags: American, cell phone, Diner, juliet, love, mother, Nick's, Nick's Cafe, philosphy, romeo, son, waitress, wisdom, wise, wiseman