Kenny Eating House is always crowded in the late afternoons right up to midnight. As you approach it, you will see many people standing around the tables that are already packed with hungry customers who are busily gulping down food. These people who are standing around will be on the alert for a table most likely to be vacated. Once there is even the slightest indication that the patrons are leaving their table, you will see a few people swooping down on it. The victor will stand at the table triumphantly waving his relatives or friends over, while the losers will curse foully under their breath.
But having found a place to sit is not the end of the wait. You next have to get the attention of the busy waiters rushing about to attend to the customers. You will usually hear the words `hot water’ being shouted out as they pass, even if they are not holding any such thing! This is in fact their ingenious way of clearing the way. In between trying to catch the attention of the waiters and looking through the menu, you will hear customers grumbling about the slow service. But strangely, they fall silent suddenly whenever a waiter comes by.
Once the waiter comes to take your orders, he is brusque and impatient. It would do well for customers to plan their orders in advance instead of asking him too many questions. Sometimes, these waiters would just walk away from indecisive customers and the latter would have to work hard at getting some attention again. Usually, fast and furious orders are bandied around loudly, as the waiters shout the orders out to the cooks, even though the latter are located deep in the kitchen and out of sight. But such shouting certainly adds to the ambiance of the place as a busy eating place!
Whenever the crowd gets too thick, the waiters will resort to asking customers to share their tables with those standing so that the eating house will not become so congested that it is impassable to human traffic. When the tables are shared by two different groups of people, the cacophony becomes incredibly deafening. Amid the din of plates clanking and people talking loudly, you need to shout to be heard. This becomes terribly unpleasant as having dinner becomes an extremely chaotic and tense affair.
Only when the hands of the clock approach midnight do the crowd begin to thin and the noise dies down. The flustered waiters can finally sit down for a chat or puff at their cigarettes. The activity at the eating place winds down, ready to recuperate before the next day of madness arrives.
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