Sunday, November 8, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake! (off the floor!)

Tonight Manager assigned me to help Colleague with his party. There were approximately 25 people celebrating a birthday. The birthday girl, actually a grown woman, was the one in the tiara with the balloons tied to her chair.

Everyone was drinking either water, tea or Coke, so that was easy enough. A few people had margaritas. I went around refilling everyone's drinks, took a few orders, took out a few salads and a couple plates of tilapia and shrimp, went back and forth getting extra honey mustard or napkins as demanded requested.

I kept asking Colleague what he needed, trying to be a good helper. Near the end of the event, Colleague instructed me to retrieve the guests' cake from the cooler, take off the plastic top, and present it to the party. Dutifully, I went back to the cooler and found the cake. It was one of those grocery store get-ups with the fancy-ish icing decoration, dedicated in swoopy pink lettering to the another-year-older. I picked up the cake and, holding it in one hand, attempted to take off the lid before taking it out to the guests.

You can imagine what happens next, can't you? I mean, really - what do you know of me so far from this blog? (For extra help: Go down to the bottom and note the tag for this post.)

Yes, indeed. Splat. Cake tipped over and all over the floor. It did one loop-dee-loop - just sort of sighed and flung itself haphazardly. It was as if it knew who had come to get it. I was horrified, affirmed and humored all in one.

Now I had to go out and tell someone.

I went up to the manager, tugged on his sleeve. I was going to try to get his attention, then advise him inconspicuously of the emergency. He was otherwise involved, but I was sure that my event superceded all others - unless someone somewhere in the restaurant had collapsed - so I started shouting,

"I dropped the cake! I dropped the cake!"

Manager informed me that I had not dropped the cake, and I kindly informed him back that yes, I had.

A little train formed on the way to the cooler: Assistant Manager, Manager, Colleague, Random Other Colleague (I think she was going simply for spectator purposes) and myself as the caboose. For me, it was like a death march.

We got back there, and the cake was where I had left it, that is to say, on the floor.

There was a pause, a silence. There was a very absurd discussion of possibly trying to repair the cake. That hope was abandoned, barely, when I iterated that the cake itself had indeed touched the floor.

In much the manner of describing a car accident, I recounted how the cake flipped over (one and a half revolutions), hit the floor face down, then somehow tilted back to land in the upright position in which it currently presented itself.

The managers felt that they could heal the situation by offering brownies.

Still horrified and embarrassed, I ran out of the cooler, clocked out, ran to my car and drove as fast as I could to the nearest grocery store, about a mile or so away. I hit every red light on the way there.

I ran into the store, accosted the manager, who flung his arm in the direction of the deli. I came upon the cakes, eyeballing resurrection, and approached the woman behind the counter for help.

This woman was not interested in helping me. She informed me that the deli had in fact closed a previous two minutes ago. Sorry.

I went over to the manager and begged him to help. I laid it all out on the line, exactly what had happened, as was evident by the pink icing all over the front of my shirt. He went over to the deli and forced the woman to help me.

She was not thrilled. While she was making out the cake, I noted a tattoo on her arm. I'm sorry, it looked like she had gotten it in prison.

Anyway, she gave me the cake, I paid for it and ran out of the store until I envisioned myself dropping yet another cake, at which point I walked at a more conservative pace.

I drove back to the restaurant, again catching all the reds, walked into the bar, presented the cake to my manager, who took the cake into the party, who had already received brownies and were just as pleased as punch - they had thought it was funny that I had dropped the cake.

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