The French Bulldog’s Bowls

As promised in my last vacation post, here’s the story of the most hilarious breakfast ever. I used this as material for my writing class, and since we’re working on point of view I tried writing it from the waiter’s perspective. Let me know what you think! 


“Could you bring a bowl for the dog, please?” the woman in the purple jacket asked in an unidentifiable European accent as I set a water glass in front of her.

I returned a moment later with a water bowl for the French Bulldog, and scratched his dark silky ears before crossing the cafe to the only other customer.

I saw her arrive at the hotel the day before with her parents, who’d been down to breakfast hours before. She was dressed to go running and shivering slightly against the grey, damp morning, but stayed by the open windows despite the choice of warmer tables.

“Actually, not this kind of bowl, sorry,” called the woman in the purple jacket. “He needs a shallow water bowl.”

I ducked behind the counter to find a shallow bowl, glancing at the runner I was neglecting.

“How about this one?” I called, showing the woman in the purple jacket a black, shallow bowl.

“Oh that’s perfect!”

I set the new water bowl on the floor in front of the dog and brought a glass to the runner, too. As I was taking her order, we were both distracted by the arrival of the woman in the purple jacket’s husband, who immediately began fussing over the dog. 

“He needs his food! Did you bring his food?” The woman in the purple jacket pulled a stack of Tupperware containers from her bag.

“Excuse me, can we have a bowl for the dog? That yellow one on the counter?” The heavily accented man gestured to the original water bowl, but perhaps the dog’s food bowl could be deeper than its water bowl, so I poured out the water, dried it, and presented it to the man.

“No no no,” said the woman, “that bowl is much too deep. Do you have a wider bowl?”

“For his fruit, for his fruit,” the man said, “not the kibble.” The dog was having multiple courses this morning.

“Oh, sure then” replied the woman in the purple jacket.

I took this pause in the dog’s bowl drama to bring the runner her coffee and yogurt.

“Could we have a bowl like that for the dry food?” called the woman in the purple jacket. “The big one, not the small one,” she gestured toward the generously sized coffee mug.

The runner froze, mug halfway to her lips, and held the bowl for the moment as if it were on display, so that we could all agree that it was the appropriate size for kibble. She smiled again to herself, clearly entertained by the breakfast theater.

“Could we also have a paper towel? Maybe two?” chimed in her husband. He followed me to the counter and leaned over to see what other bowls might be available.

How many bowls could this dog possibly need? If the dog’s bowl needs are so exact, why didn’t they bring their own bowls? How does the Frenchie eat so much and stay so lean? Why not pack it in bowls of appropriate width and depth, rather than the multicolored Tupperware? What are the mechanical differences in eating fruit and kibble that necessitate different bowls? How did they determine the optimal bowl size for each course? Is the dog really that persnickety, or are the woman in the purple jacket and her husband imparting their own neuroses on their dog’s eating habits? When their own food came they didn’t ask for alternate plates, thankfully, so how can their dog be picker than they are?

I set aside my questions and checked on the runner. She’d been watching the bowl saga unfold and mouthed “what the hell?” at me and I just shrugged. The hotel gets all kinds. Glancing over my shoulder I saw the Frenchie and his owners were all eating, thankfully.

“Where’s the best place to run around here?” she asked, and we got to chatting about the island. I gave her directions to stay along the beach for a while wrap around the island to get a good view of the multi-million dollar homes with billion dollar views on the other side. Their owners would start arriving for the weekend that afternoon, and the restaurant would be busy – a far cry from the nearly abandoned feeling during the week.

The runner set off along the path I suggested, and I braced myself as I heard the woman in the purple jacket call “excuse me…”

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