I was looking for Monica Lewinsky's receipt for this post, but it must have lost its importance over the years and wound up in the trash bin. It was 1999 when she walked into the little neighborhood Santa Monica restaurant where I was waitressing. President Clinton was impeached a few months prior, then acquitted soon after that, and we were all trying to forget that any of it ever happened.
Plenty of celebrities dined at our restaurant. When a star walked in a few people would usually turn their head, lean into their lunch mate and say, "That's _____________." The other person would respond with something like, "Oh I loved her in that one movie," and then both would return to their business. But when Miss Lewinsky walked in, there was a collective hush and rubbernecking. I think people had to force themselves to look back at their burgers.
She and her girlfriend asked for a booth but since there were only three, and she didn't want to wait, she was given a small two-top in the middle of the floor. Lucky for me, it was my section. Honestly, she fascinated me. I was mesmerized by the entire political disaster, and beyond curious to see the girl who ruined a president I adored.
They ordered Diet Cokes and salads. They ate with a sense of urgency and conversed quietly. I was attentive but didn't hover. And when my other tables wanted to know how it was going with this strange kind of "it" girl, I felt protective of her privacy.
Overall, it was extremely uneventful. I delivered the bill, they paid cash, thanked me, and rushed out. But then there's the tip part. If most people thought of you as the whore who brought down the white house, as the "victim" who happened to be adeptly skilled in the sexual use of cigars, wouldn't you want to redeem yourself? Wouldn't you want to draw less attention to your poor decision making? The bill was $25 and she left me two bucks. That's less than 10%. And I was really nice!
I put the money in my pocket and returned to my other tables, happy to take questions about Miss Monica. I'm not a kiss-and-tell kinda girl, but she was. Maybe that's what happens when things don't go your way.