Gut busting with chicken chow mein, nursing a fried rice hangover, your frenzied hour of pillaging the steam trays quickly dissolves into a table full of sticky-smeared plates, bloated bellies, and quiet groaning.
Folks, if you’re like me this scene is called The End of The Buffet, a dimly-lit freeze-frame featuring you and your friends lazily sliding in chairs with slack jaws and heavy eyelids.
And it gets worse, too.
The chipper waitress drops off the bill and everybody just eyes each other suspiciously. Who owes who money? Who ordered drinks and who didn’t? Is anyone riding a fat paycheck high and feeling generous? Since I am an extremely cheap person, I generally choose this exact moment to skedaddle to the bathroom in the hopes that everyone else will overpay and allow me to just drop a fiver on the stack before heading out.
Of course, it never works out that way.
Instead, I return to an untouched bill and generally get pegged as Math Guy, also known as The Job Nobody Wants After Dinner. See, my friends start chatting about what movie to see and I’m suddenly stuck with my head down, brows furrowed, figuring out tips, collecting cash, and trying to follow the paper trails of who paid what.
If you’re hanging out with me and my friends then Math Guy is a doubly terrible job because we’re always forty bucks short. People shrug, eye contact is avoided, and there are some phantom wallet reaches, until we figure out that two people didn’t add tax and tip and one guy still needs to get cash from the bank machine.
Holla if you been there.
Math Guys and Math Girls of the world, we feel each other’s pain. It’s tough asking people to put more money in and sometimes we just reach into our own wallets to get the job done. Twenties are broken, coins are counted, and there is constant checking and rechecking that it all adds up right.
Yes, if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, then you know that moment of quiet satisfaction when you finally close that sticky, vinyl, duck-sauce smeared billfold over a stack of crumpled bills and sliding coins.
Because at that exact moment the shackles of Math Guy are finally busted.
And you’re free.