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Friday, September 7, 2012

The Server's Nightmare

To sleep, perchance to dream- ay, there's the rub. All servers have them: those horrible dreams where you are the only waiter in a giant restaurant. Your station goes as far as the eye can see and there is a revolving door of customers pouring into the restaurant who all need to order right away. It's like one of those awful fever-induced dreams where nothing makes sense and you wake up in a pool of cold sweat. Jolted from your dream, you find yourself sitting upright in your bed and then when you lay back down again, your sheets are damp with perspiration. I hate those waiter dreams. I have been told by former servers that they still have them even though they haven't waited tables in decades. Does this mean that I can look forward to those dreams for the rest of my life? Probably.

I had a server dream last night, but it was little bit different than usual. In it, I was not at work as the sole waitron. I was simply eating dinner in a warm pub-like restaurant with some friends. When I got up to go to the bathroom, someone at a table motioned for me to come to them. I was wearing all black, so I must have looked like a waiter. They asked me for something and rather than tell them I didn't work there, I just went to get it. The dream is slipping back into my subconscious so I don't remember what it was. I think it was like they wanted water and since I could see a pitcher nearby, I just got it for them. No biggie. When I returned from the bathroom, another table told me they were ready to order. Again, I just went with it and asked them what they wanted. "Can I get a medium plain pizza with a small salad?" they asked me. I told them it was no problem and went to find someone who worked there to pass it on. I went up to a waitress and asked who had the second booth. "Tina," she said and pointed towards a girl on the other side of the restaurant. I went to Tina and told her that table two had ordered and she thanked me and put the order into the computer. I went back to my table and continued my meal.

So what the fuck? So now even in my dreams I can't enjoy going out to dinner? Isn't it enough that when I go out to eat I constantly have to observe the servers and watch the interactions with their co-workers? I scan the sidestation to see how it's organized. I watch the hostess to make sure the seating rotation is even. I can't just sit back and be a customer and I hate it. And now even in my dreams I am unable to sit at a table and let someone serve me. I have to get up and take some fucking orders? If this is what the future of my dreams are, I'd rather not have anymore, thank you.

I had a dream. I dreamed it for you, baby.
And it wasn't that I would take Tina's goddamn pizza order.

I dreamed a dream of time gone by. And it was of a time when my dreams were about good things like amusement parks that I owned and and not working in a fucking restaurant.

I dreamed the impossible dream. And it was of me having a life that did not revolve around burger temperatures.

Once upon a dream. And then I woke up in a puddle of sad and salty sweat and tears.

Why can't I just dream of Jeannie?



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15 comments:

Elizabeth Seiber said...

Good God those dreams are the absolute worst! Almost every single one I have ends in me telling a table and/or a manager to go fuck themselves, me yelling that I quit while crying hysterically, and then my coworkers chasing me out to my car and begging me to go back...and I always do. Ugh. Its an endless, vicious cycle. Maybe if I could quit in my dreams they would go away?

Marc said...

I hate those fucking dreams. The worst is when you work a double, have the waiter dream and then work a double again the next day. Pure fucking hell.

Peace said...

BW, yourr gay, jeannie isn't who you dream off!! Lol! All I can say is sorry you get no rest, even in your dreams.

Nita said...

Oy, I've been out of the biz for years and I still have those dreams. Usually, I'm back in Utah waiting on a table and realizing, oh, shit! I'm going to be late for my other job in the next state over!Then I start freaking out about the 6-8 hour drive I will have to make every day to get between the two.

Survivor's guilt, perhaps?

Jordan B said...

Those dreams are what I believe Hell would be. Forever in the weeds, taking order after order, and the customers just keep pouring in. *shudders*

Anonymous said...

I've actually woken my husband up in the middle of the night asking him what he'd like to order. Wtf.

danae said...

I thought I was the only one! Pure server hell.

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Rogue Wino said...

My nightmare is exactly that huge restaurant with a never-ending stream of customers- except for some reason, I'll always be transported outside the restaurant in my dream. I'll be walking down a road somewhere trying to get something for a table, while on my phone trying to tell the manager what my other tables need, and that I'll be right back. F that! I never have fun dreams anymore!

California Girl said...

Flourish in Progress, another blog I read, wants to conduct interviews with a number of folks and asked for suggestions. I've suggested you. http://www.flourishinprogress.com/2012/09/monday-dare-giveaway-you-cant-be-half.html#comment-643573462

She was a speaker at this year's BlogHer convention, she occasionally contributes to HuffPost and she's as irreverent as you. It would make a fascinating interview between two bloggers who drop the "F bomb" in writing as often as I do when speaking.

Katherine Lato said...

I've had dreams where I'm filling in a spreadsheet, tedious line by tedious line. (I used to work in training at a corporation.) At least with a request for water or pizza, you have the opportunity for a bit of drama. There's not any drama in filling in spreadsheets or carefully verifying that a series of links are all correct. And it took even longer to do it in my dreams than in real life.

Mary A. said...


I still rent cars in my sleep. Crazy.

Alanna said...

When I was bartending I would dream that all of my regulars were in my room and around my bed waiting for me to wake up and get them drinks. Now that I'm back to serving, I dream that I am outside the restaurant, calm and relaxed and suddenly realize I still have tables. The worst.

Anonymous said...

Haven't slung a cocktail in 25 years, those damn dreams still haunt me in the wee hours. 30 tickets in the rack and some asshole table orders "Eight brandy freezes, extra thick - we're in a hurry." I'm thinking they are all dead now, so there's that.

kat said...

ugh those dreams, just happy to know I'm not alone! but it sucks when you have work the next day, feels like you didn't have any time off when you had a dream about it, lol