Friday, October 15, 2010


Here is the conversation my body had with itself at the end of my shift today:

Stomach:  "I'm hungry."

Bladder: "Oh hell no you don't, I've got to be emptied.  Now."

Feet: "Look - whichever involves sitting down the fastest, I'm all for it."

Lower Back:  "I think I need to be taken to the hospital."

Today we had five servers on the floor and a shit load of guests streaming in.  Very busy, but didn't seem as hectic as it could have because at least there weren't a bunch of us in the kitchen bumping in to each other and fighting for the rolls/the ice/the tea/the etc.  I had a party of 11 that turned into a party of 13 (lucky! woot!).  They had ever so graciously called thirty minutes in advance to let us know they were coming.  With two other reserved (as in greater that 24 hours' notice) parties, this extra party's little heads up was like a mother-in-law calling from your drive-way to say that she was stopping by for a visit. 

All the other tables are a blur to me now, but the party I do remember because I generally remember spontaneous, large groups of people that I have to serve.  It was some sort of celebration, at first I thought a birthday because a gentleman brought flowers, which he tucked under the table, but not far enough under the table because I stepped on them with my weapons-of-mass-destruction bam-bam feet, but later I overheard some of the conversation and realized that they were celebrating a job promotion. 

We interrupt this program to bring you just a couple, wee little rules for not making your server's shift miserably difficult, if you care:

1) If you spontaneously arrive in a group of 13 people, try to get everyone to keep the drink orders basic and homogeneous, for example sweet tea and water, NOT: sweet tea, water, sweet tea with lemon, water without lemon, Arnold Palmer (sweet tea mixed with lemonade), Sprite, Coke, Diet Coke, Diet Coke with lemon, etc..

2) If you spontaneously arrive in a group of 13 people, don't ask for 13 different, separate checks.  Period.  At all.  I see that you are all, each of you, unique individuals, as shown by your tastes, choices and preferences in your different drinks, but pool your damn money, do what you have to do, I don't care, just don't do the separate check thing - separate as in 13 individual checks - with that many people. 

Okay, back to the program.

Actually, the party went off without a hitch.  It went very smoothly - no food returned to the kitchen to be redone, no arguing over the prices when the bills came - except for the part where one of the women announced very loudly, and repeatedly, that there was a fly in the restaurant.  She announced this as if she were heralding the arrival of Armageddon's chariots in the distance.  She swatted at it and kept repeating that there was a fly.  She pointed at it, her finger moving rather rapidly in a left-to-right motion, I guess hoping that I would see it and, I don't know, open my mouth and swallow it for her so she wouldn't have to deal with it.  I don't know what these people expect.  I am, despite appearances, not a goddess who can perform outrageous feats of strength and beauty.  At least not all the time.  Especially not when I'm dressed as a waitress. 

Still, I do my best, which for the past week apparently hasn't been good enough because tips have been shit.  I'm talking about I can't break the 15% glass ceiling here.  I'm talking often less than 10%.  The Christmas season is approaching and people are saving up to buy the latest gadget for the Wii-god by royally screwing me up the ass because I'm just their waitress, not their screaming, puke-gut spawn.

Let me tell you something: 10% is NOT adequate compensation for my pleasant, pains-taking service to you and your family/business partner/mistress. Furthermore, "You're a sweetheart," is not an acceptable alternative to adequate compensation for my pleasant, pains-taking service to you and your family/business partner/mistress.  Thank you.

Right now I am absolutely pooped, still in my work clothes.  I haven't had the energy to take them off, not even my shoes.  I realized a couple hours ago that I've missed my medicine for the past two days, which is concerning.  I can definitely feel it with the palpitations.  I don't know if I should take it now and mess up my dosing schedule or wait until tomorrow.

I'm still a little bit floating on the energy from actually finishing my story and sending it off to the Indiana Review 2010 Fiction Contest this morning - today was the postmark deadline.  I was up until nearly 1:00am finishing it, and I was nearly delirious for the last bit of writing, but we'll see!  I used the contest as motivation; I don't expect to win.  I've met my goal, at this point, just by entering.

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