Recently I had cause to recall a visit I made to New York city some years ago. On the day in question, I had visited a diner to get a bite to eat and had just sat down when I was approached by a fresh-faced, pleasantly attractive waitress.
The exchange went as follows:
– Waitress – Hi!
– Me – Hello! I’m starved and I’d like to order, please.
– Waitress – Oh my God! Are you Irish? (in a very chirpy, cheerful US accent)
– Me – Aye, I am.
– Waitress – Oh my God! My friend Seán is from Ireland! Do you know him?
– Me – Seán! Of course I know him! I haven’t seen him in a while though. How’s he doing?
– Waitress – He’s great! I think he misses Ireland though.
– Me – Well I know his family miss him, especially his mother, she talks about him a lot.
– Waitress – Awww! I’ll tell him you said that. Are you living here now?
– Me – No, just visiting my friend Becky for a while.
– Waitress – Oh my God! No fricking way! My friend’s called Becky!
– Me – I’m gonna tell her that I was speaking to you.
–Waitress – Really? Awww! That’s so nice of you!
There followed a short but uncomfortable silence
– Me – Could I have some food please?
– Waitress – Oh my God! I’m so sorry! Duh!
Waitress walks off.
30 seconds later, Waitress returns, her cheeks slightly red.
– Waitress – I’m sorry, I forgot to take your order!
– Me – It’s o.k.
– Waitress – The apple pie and coffee are very good!
– Me – Hmmm, I’m really in the mood for something more substantial. Could I have a Mex burger, fries and a large glass of milk, please?
– Waitress – You sure can! Won’t be long!
Waitress leaves with my order and a smile.
5 minutes later, Waitress returns and places apple pie with ice cream and a cup of coffee on the table before me. She leaves with yet another very sweet smile.
I decide to eat the apple pie as I don’t have the heart to tell the Waitress about her mistake, and I am very hungry.
Upon finishing I ask for the bill, which the Waitress swiftly places on the table, again with a sweet smile. The bill is for a Mex burger, fries and a large glass of milk.
I pay the bill anyway, and leave a sizable tip because I feel really bad for the poor Waitress.
As I leave the diner, I accidentally overhear the Waitress conversing with customers at another table. The Waitress is now speaking comfortably in a genuine Irish accent.
The Waitress is Irish.
– – – – – – –
This short tale centres upon the popular misconception in Ireland that there are many people in the US who believe that Ireland is so small, everyone must know one another.
Whilst it is the case, where some USian’s do know very little about the world outside their nation’s borders, and whilst it is also fair to say that there are those US citizens who are intellectually challenged (such individuals exist within every nation), it is unfair to judge every citizen of the 50 states by the lowest common denominator.
Irish people enjoy employing irony and sarcasm, and quite often find ourselves the victims of both, even at our own hands. ‘New York Diner Dope’ is an exercise in the psychological confusion and piss-taking that occurs regularly in Ireland, where encounters result in complete confusion as no one understands whether the the other is serious or merely messing around. We might all be mental.