“You don’t mind if we sit here, do you?”
Gloria and I glanced at the two women and the entourage of spa employees that accompanied them. We both shrugged. Gloria closed her eyes and I went back to reading my book. We were lying in the sun by the pool at our favorite spa, and we had been the only two people around. It was a gorgeous Sunday in March, the weather in Atlanta was heavenly, and we were feeling thoroughly pampered.
“These chairs need to be turned around so we’re not looking into the sun.” The cute young pool attendant hurried to turn the pool lounge chairs just so.
The elegantly dressed wine steward from the upstairs restaurant who was carrying a bottle of red wine and two glasses patiently waited for the women to be comfortably seated.
“I’m going to need another towel,” one of the women announced. The pool attendant dashed the five feet to the neatly rolled stash of towels and grabbed two, just in case one wasn’t enough. “I only need one,” the woman protested, leaving the young man holding the other towel. It was only when he had reached the pile of towels to return the other one that she added, “Oh, I guess I’ll take that one, too. Bring it back.”
Gloria sat up, looking annoyed. I didn’t bother to hide the fact that the drama surrounding these two women was more interesting than my book. Probably in her late thirties, the one in the red bikini and blonde hair that I’m sure was her natural color – not – smiled at Gloria. “So what are your names? Are you sisters? We’re sisters.”
“I’m Gloria, this is Vicki. We’re friends.” As far as Gloria was concerned, that was the end of the conversation. She closed her eyes with a nearly audible click, and pushed her sunglasses back up her nose.
“Where did you meet?” the black and white one-piece sister asked.
Gloria sighed and opened her eyes. “China.”
“I bet that’s a story,” the woman answered.
“Yes, it is.” Gloria replied. Luckily she was spared having to tell it.
“Those aren’t wine glasses. Those are plastic. That’s completely unacceptable,” bikini sister complained loudly and shrilly, startling the geese that had been resting peacefully on the lawn into honking back at her. “We can’t drink wine out of those.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am,” the steward explained. “We’re not allowed to serve glass containers in the pool area.”
Her sister reached out and grabbed the offending plastic drink cups. “I’m more concerned about the fact that you did not bring an ice cooler for the wine bottle,” she snapped disdainfully. “We certainly can’t drink wine that hasn’t been properly chilled.”
“I’ll bring a wine chiller immediately, ma’am,” the steward said, bowing as he headed for the steps. He looked incredibly relieved to be leaving. He didn’t even bother to mention that red wine is usually served at room temperature. Smart man.
The young pool attendant politely asked if he could do anything else for them, and then spent a few minutes moving the just-turned chairs back in the direction they had originally been facing. When finished, he vanished into the spa, presumably to check out help-wanted postings on the internet.
The wine steward came with the wine chiller and ceremoniously placed the bottle of wine in a sterling silver ice bath. He was waved away unceremoniously by bikini sister. “If he thinks I’m tipping for that lousy service, he needs to think again,” she muttered to her sister. “Plastic cups and unchilled wine, for heaven’s sake.”
I thought for a moment that the drama was over. I was incorrect. Red bikini sister lit up a cigarette.
It was obvious the moment the burning smell reached Gloria’s nose. She sat up, grabbed her robe and sandals, and was standing at the spa door waiting for me before the blonde had time to say, “You don’t mind if I smoke, do you?”
“Of course not,” I answered sweetly. “We were just leaving anyway.”
Gloria pulled me into the room and the door shut behind us. “How did we end up in an episode of ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’?”
“Those two certainly thought they were entitled to whatever they wanted,” I replied. “I never did hear a ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ leave their lips.”
Gloria snorted in disgust. “Well, what do you want to do now?”
We looked at each other in silence for a moment. “Wine.” As one, we moved toward the restaurant.
“I have to warn you, though, that if my red wine comes unchilled in a plastic glass I’m planning on throwing a fit. A big, fat, hissy fit.”
Gloria laughed at me. “I’d pay money to see that!”
“And I won’t leave a tip, either.”
“Sorry, sweetie, you just can’t pull it off. The only words you know how to say in 5 different languages are ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. Your idea of ‘not leaving a tip’ (she put air quotes around the words) is to only leave 15% instead of your usual 20%.”
“I’m never going to be one of ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’, am I?”
Gloria shrugged. “Why would you want to be?”