It was 8:58 p.m. on a Sunday night. We closed in two minutes. I had class at American River Community College early the following morning and wanted to go home and sleep. As I cleared off the bistro's tables and watched the seconds tick away, my worst nightmare came true: A couple of customers entered the restaurant seconds before the doors locked.
As they pored over the menu, I politely answered questions and held out a glimmer of hope that they would order something with a quick cooking time like soups or salad. Instead, they opted for a ribeye steak cooked medium-well and the mushroom risotto. After slowly savoring slabs of rubberized beef and time-consuming risotto, the affluent and oblivious couple lingered over their creme brulee dessert and swirled wine in their glasses.