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Friday, June 10, 2011

It's Too Darn Hot

Here in New York City the weather has seemingly skipped right over spring and we have moved directly into summer. Since spring is the only decent weather we ever have here, it really sucks. Spring 2011, was about two days long. I feel bad about all those cans of Aqua-Net I went through in college (don't ask) because I know that I somehow contributed to the hole in the ozone layer and the resulting global warming. I worked last night and the air conditioning was a futile puff of chilled air that quickly dissipated within inches of leaving the vent. The restaurant was really more of a sauna last night. With the humidity from outdoors and the heat from the open kitchen, it made for a night of sweat and apathy. All I could think about was a shower.

The first thing that has to be done when opening the restaurant is sweeping the whole place and then mopping it. By the time that was done, I was a big sweaty mess who looked like I had just taken a dip in a pool of perspiration and dried off with a wet paper towel. The ceiling fans whizzed overhead but all they did was move the stuffy air around. I was miserable and I had only been at work for twenty minutes. This was going to be a long night. The walk-in cooler was the go to destination of the evening. Normally I only need one trip there where I get lemons, limes, ketchup and butter. Last night, I turned it into many trips. After the fourth visit, I really didn't have a reason to go back once I left, so I checked my email and tweeted on Twitter for a while in the cool air. I seriously considered re-organizing the meat shelf but came to senses. Sure it was hot outside the cooler, but I'm not gonna go crazy and do something that I wasn't even asked to do. I stepped out of the fridge and back into the balmy discomfort.

With 95ยบ+ temperatures and then a huge thunderstorm, you can imagine how many people came into the restaurant. The first table didn't show up until 45 minutes after we opened. She wanted soup which we didn't have. Personally, soup is the last thing on my mind when the humidity level is 100%. "Gee, it's sweltering today. I want shrimp gumbo or maybe a big bowl of chili!" She ordered a glass of wine and left ten minutes later. The next table came in a full hour later. The night plodded along like that with me looking at my watch every 10 minutes and each time being surprised that more time hadn't passed.

We closed at 11:00 and I walked out at 11:20 with $21 in my pocket. My credit card tips were a paltry $33. For an eight-hour shift I made $54. Not a good night at work. Between my melted face and the lack of cash, probably my worst day at work in a long time. When I got home I pulled the twenty-dollar bill out of my pocket. It had gotten damp with sweat on the five minute walk home. (Yeah, I work right down the street from my house.) I smoothed it out on the dresser and looked at the picture of Andrew Jackson. He looked hot and uncomfortable, but not as hot and uncomfortable as me. The shower rinsed off the sweat and disappointment. By the time I got out, even Andrew Jackson looked a little better. I put him in my wallet and promised him that he will be be spent on something refreshing like Tasti-D-lite, a bag of ice or a frozen pina colada.



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11 comments:

Heather (aka Sugar Free) said...

I wish we could get some of that heat here in Seattle. I had to turn my goddamn heat on for a bit 2nights ago!!!

KB said...

Once again, I laugh. Once again, I am impressed by your writing. I was feeling it even while it's a cool where I'm sitting. Good stuff, Mr. Waiter.

The Empress said...

Thank goodness for walk-in coolers and showers. Hopefully your next shift will be filled with lots of "Benjami's" to make up for the one paltry Mr. Jackson you received last night.

The Ranter's Box

Anonymous said...

I love that you write a post almost every single day!

Frank the Angry Lobster said...

Count your blessings, BW. I know it can get hot in New York, but Mississippi heat is the stuff of legends. It was 97 degrees before June even came around, plus it's almost always >70% humidity. I imagine Texas is a bit better...at least it's a bit drier.

Anonymous said...

At work I step into the walk-in and rub ice cubes on the back of my neck

At home...we have a kiddie-pool, an endless supply of freeze-pops and lots of fans. I generally live in a bikini at home, plopping into the kiddie pool with a freeze-pop and sunglasses and pretending i'm somewhere tropical...

Anonymous said...

I work in an outdoor restaurant on a bay in Miami. NO air-conditioning. Waiters faint time to time.

fmcgmccllc said...

Damn, is there anything more exciting than watching mildew form?

Noelle said...

My team set up a tent on a golf course breaded and gave away onion rings all day last Sunday in 90 degree heat. At least our stupid excuse was we were outside with a bunch of sweaty golfers. It really sucks when your indoors and sweat broken shirts aren't the style.

We have a fancy restaurant in a hundred year old building when you only had primitive heat and no air. Anyway some spots are cooler than others and one table is just drafty in the heat or the cool. I walk by that table yesterday and a woman is complaining about being cold and has a napkin tucked in around her neck. That is when you do a little pretend adjusting.

theAngler said...

Once I did something when it was really hot out too! It was really , really hard. The humidity was so epic and just thank god there are also cold things to do after being hot. but now I'm unhappy and alone.

Maria said...

Not only is is dead all day, but the one table an hour we get at work will always be the shittiest tippers. 5 to 10% all day long.

Summers suck at restaurants.