Thursday, November 15, 2012
A Light at the End of the Clusterfuck
It all starts when I arrive at work and see all the tables completely stripped down of table tents, candles and bev naps. They are naked with their regular accoutrements in various piles around the room.
"What the fuck happened here?" I ask. "Why are the tables not set and why are so many of them dirty?"
The host who had been at the club all day eagerly explains. "You know that TV show Smash? They're shooting across the street and they used our club today for a table read and then they had lunch here! I saw Anjelica Huston and Katherine McPhee and Debra Messing and that blond chick-"
"Megan Hilty," I say.
"Right! Her and the whole cast were here all day! Isn't that cool?"
I look around the disaster of a room and say, "It would have been cooler if they would have reset the fucking tables and swept up a little bit after themselves. What are they, animals? The floor is trashed."
The night goes downhill from there. I head downstairs to find way too much closing sidework from the night before that had now turned into opening sidework for me. Dirty silverware, bus tubs and glasses are strewn about the dish area just waiting for me to get my hands on them to be cleaned. The night before must have been really busy and late for someone to leave that much sidework uncompleted. It happens sometimes, I get it. I just didn't want it to be this night.
The show begins on time and I am listening to the performer with her perfectly clipped Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins accent. Having taken a whole semester of dialect class in 1985, I notice that her accent sounds muddled and somewhat uncertain; maybe a bit Brummie with a hint of Yorshire and a dash of Manchester.
"I was born on Long Island," she says "so you may be wondering where my British accent comes from. Well, I went to the Royal Academy of Performing Arts when I was 19 and the accent stuck."
Okay, this lady is clearly in her late 50's and she's saying that from her two years in London about 30 years ago, she still has an accent? Please, lady, I lost my Texas twang two weeks after leaving The Lone Star State, you pretentious bag of Earl Gray Tea.
Okay, her accent has nothing to do with my cluster fuck of an evening, but it still annoyed the hell out of me.
About two-thirds of the way through her show, our computer system decides to take a cat nap and freeze the hell up. We are twenty minutes away from handing out thirty checks and everything is locked down. We are told to begin hand-writing all the checks and getting the calculator to add the tax, but since we use highly sophisticated iPads to take our orders and we don't waste time with antiquated pen and paper, we have no back up of what people ordered. Our only choice is to go by memory or shuffle through the enormous pile of dupes that have been stabbed to see what people had. As for prices, who the fuck knows? Beer and martini prices are listed in the menu but I have no idea how much a Grey Goose and soda is. None of us do. The prices are in the iPads which are still in hibernation. My co-worker is a trooper, writing out all of her checks within minutes, guessing at prices and hoping for the best. I, on the other hand, decide the situation will be best handled by throwing my apron onto the ground and going sit downstairs for five minutes to breathe deeply. The Julie Andrews wannabe is now on her last song and I have only written up two checks and still have not added the tax yet. I am fucked. Suddenly, the iPad makes a beeping noise and it has decided to join the living again. Frantically, I print out the check and rush to get them to my tables hoping that the credit cards will not be an issue. Although slow, the iPads are back up again but we are behind for the next show that will start in fifteen minutes. As one audience leaves and the next one arrives, I scan the room for any leftover wine that might make me feel better. There is none.
The second show starts and I go to a table of three women to take their order. Lady number one wants a Cabernet, lady number two wants a Virgin Mary and lady number three needs some more time. I return with the first two drinks and lady number three is now ready to order.
"I don't drink, so can I have a virgin strawberry daiquiri?" she asks.
"I'm sorry," I tell her. "We don't have a blender because it makes too much noise during the show. Is there something else I can get for you?"
Her disappointment is real. "Okay, well then how about a whiskey sour but with no whiskey? Yes, a virgin whiskey sour."
"A virgin whiskey sour?" I ask.
"A virgin whiskey sour would be a glass of sour mix, you know that right?"
"Oh it would? Okay, I'll have that. It sounds good."
"One virgin whiskey sour coming right up," I tell her.
Suddenly, I am in a good mood. This lady has just asked me for the dumbest thing I have ever served and unbeknowest to her, she has lifted my spirits.
"Blog post!" I think.
I make my way to the bar. "This dumb bitch wants a virgin whiskey sour, so can I please have a rocks glass of sour mix? And throw a fucking cherry in it with an orange wedge."
I return to the table with the $5.95 glass of sour mix that came from the soda gun.
"Here you are ma'am. One virgin whiskey sour. Enjoy!"
The rest of the night goes pretty smooth once I convince the bartender to let me have my shift drink before the end of my shift. The virgin whiskey sour made me realize that even in the darkest of shifts, there is always something that can make you smile and in this case it was the sweet little lady who ordered a fucking virgin whiskey sour since she couldn't have a virgin strawberry daiquiri. It's the little things that get us through our shifts.
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