Tim Key: 'There's a magic about my waitress. Or is she just on to me?'

 

Share

I've come to my local café for an hour or so in order to catch up on my emails, read the sports section of The Guardian and knock out my column for The Independent Magazine. But all that's had to be put on hold temporarily because I've just been charmed to pieces by the waitress.

Five foot four and chestnut-haired, she has just sashayed over to me, laid down my coffee, and said, in the most pleasant manner, "Enjoy your moment".

"Enjoy your moment."

I've never heard that before. With a trace of a Turkish accent, and accompanied with a smile so sweet I would have been forgiven for biting a chunk out of it. "Enjoy your moment." I'm jelly.

I'm watching her now, floating about the place, collecting cake plates and mugs and brushing past other columnists and builders. I'm beaming from ear to ear, too, turning over her phrase again and again in my head. "Enjoy your moment." I wonder whether she knows what she's done. I'm torn. Maybe her English is poor and that's the best she could cook up as she handed over the goods. But it didn't seem like that. There was a magic about her. I wouldn't put it past her to invent a phrase like that. She seemed almost to be winking as she said it. I think she's just not an "Enjoy your mocha" kind of a person. She likes to shake things up.

I've long been a fan of idiosyncratic droplets of English, issuing out of foreigners' mouths. I once lived above a convenience store run by a very positive Arabic man in Limehouse. Like this dolt, he used to spin me round with his mildly broken English. His bread and butter was to wave you away with the phrase "Have a nice time". At first glance, that doesn't seem at all bad. But it was definitely less solid than the more popular "Have a nice day" or "Have a nice evening". To be fair to the guy, it sometimes more or less made sense. If I was popping in to buy a four-pack of Grolsch and some Worcester Sauce-flavoured Wheat Crunchies, "Have a nice time" worked a treat. "Thank you," I would say. If it was 1am and I was picking up a bottle of washing-up liquid and some plasters, "Have a nice time" didn't work quite so well. "Thank you," I would say, but after more of a pause.

I peek over my mocha's rim. My waitress is making some pineapple juice for an old man now.

I worry I'm doing her a disservice. Maybe her grasp of English is perfect. Maybe "Enjoy your moment" is exactly what she wanted to express. Maybe I even imagined the Turkish lilt. Perhaps it's not a charming foreign accident, it's more a case of a native English girl being astute. "Enjoy your moment." Maybe she recognised me. That's it. She's come across my live work, she's seen bits of pieces of me on television and she reads my column. She feels I've topped out. It can't last. They're on to me. I should make hay while the sun shines. Now she's looking across at me as she squeezes chunks of fruit down towards the blades. "Enjoy your moment, son," she's thinking, "this time next year you'll be on the scrap heap".

Well I don't care. Either way I'm grateful to the girl. I like her phrase and I think I'll take it on. Phrases like "Have a nice day" are asking a bit much, if you think about it. "Enjoy your moment" is more manageable. And by and large, I have. I'm sat here with a moustache of mocha and I've bashed out my column, so I'm happy enough.

She floats over to the old man, places a doily on to his table and then plonks the pineapple juice on to that. She bends a knee and smiles at him. "Enjoy your moment." He succumbs, his eyes awash with joy. She drifts back to the counter. He taps his hearing aid, smiles wistfully, and clamps his lips round his straw.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Communications Manager

£25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 6-month part-time contract (24 hours a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Broker

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Trainee Vehicle Broker is req...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Data Capture / Telesales

£12000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: the Labour leadership election hasn’t yet got to grips with why the party lost

John Rentoul
Kennedy campaign for the Lib Dems earlier this year in Bearsden  

Charles Kennedy: A brilliant man whose talents were badly needed

Baroness Williams
Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific