I am working at the club and the show has a pretty healthy audience. With it being winter and all, and people having this overwhelming need to stay warm, there are big black coats hanging on the back of every chair, making my confined space to walk even more confined. The words "complimentary coat check" are as meaningless to people as "please tip your server based on the amount before your Groupon." Between the coats, the purses, the bags, the small space, the dim lights and the glass of Chardonnay I had earlier, it is near impossible to serve with ease.
My mood is already pretty miserable seeing that it is the night before Thanksgiving and all I want to be doing is sitting on my sofa having a wine tasting. I get to work at 5:15 in preparation for the 7:00 show and by 6:50 it seems that no one is coming. There are four people in the audience when it is decided at 7:15 that it will be canceled meaning I set up everything for absolutely no reason. The four people who did bother to drag their asses out to the club have their drinks comped and not one of them leaves me anything. Girl at table 23, you were prepared to pay a $10 cover charge and then you ordered a $14.95 martini knowing you would still have to buy a second drink requirement and you still can't even leave me a fucking dollar when we apologize and buy your drink for you? Get the fuck out, cheap bitch. It's not my fault that some dumb ass producer thought it was a good idea to book a show on the night before Thanksgiving. And her friend who was performing in the show? He didn't even show up. I now have two hours to kill where I am making no tips and only making $5.00 an hour. Grumpy? Yeah, that's me. There is an 11:30 show this night as well because you know that everyone wants to go see a show at 11:30 PM on Thanksgiving Eve. "Brine the turkey? Fuck that, I'm gonna go see a show!" There are precisely zero reservations on the books but we are not allowed to cancel on the off chance that they have twenty or thirty walk-ins.
The 9:30 show begins without a hitch other than the multitude of black coats impeding my walking path. I trip on a black bag that is sitting in front of booth one and the lady moves it over about six inches. She doesn't move it in the direction that it will actually make any difference, say like under the booth, but she moves it so that I am still likely to trip on it, it will just happen six inches later than before she moved it. "That was close," I think.
Ten minutes later, I am inching towards table 26 which is practically on the stage. I try very hard to be indiscreet so as not to bother the performer. I squat down with my tray of drinks and reach over to hand a martini to my customer. The vodka is safe. I remove an empty beer bottle from the table and place it on my tray. I then move my hand towards the glass of seltzer water as I also move closer to the customer. It is then that I feel under my feet the coat that will be my downfall. My foot catches on its sleeve knocking the beer bottle over and thus unbalancing my tray. The glass of seltzer tips over and spills on a purse. You know how quickly your brain works when something like this happens?
Oh my god, I think I'm gonna fall over, no I'm not gonna fall over but the beer bottle is gonna fall over, oh my god it's gonna knock over the glass and it's gonna spill, oh my god it's spilling all into this really tacky cheap looking purse that looks like it came from Mervyns, oh my god, she's gonna be so pissed, oh my god, did I remember to set my DVR to catch Project Runway, oh my god, that purse is so wet and so ugly, oh my god at least it wasn't a martini or juice because juice would be messy and vodka would be wasteful, oh my god, maybe she won't notice, oh my god she noticed, oh my god maybe I shouldn't have had that glass of wine, oh my god, what am I saying, of course I should have had that wine, oh fuck.
"I'm so sorry," I say. "Thankfully, it was just water. I will be right back with something to clean that up."
I return with some napkins and blot up the spill and the show goes on. The woman is very understanding. If it would have been a screwdriver, maybe not so much, but seeing that it was just seltzer, she was alright with it. Let's face it, her and I both knew that her purse needed to be hosed down with something, if not gasoline or soap and water, then at the very least, some seltzer.
At the end of the show, I again apologize and tell her that after three years (seems like ninety) this is the first time I have spilled anything. She seems unimpressed. I am very careful to not let her smell the Chardonnay on my breath as I tell her good night. Her tip is a good one because she probably realized that her purse is white again and not dishwater grey like it was when she arrived. The 11:30 show is canceled and I get to go home early after my shift drink of vodka, Campari and grapefruit juice. My no-spill record is no longer intact, but thankfully my buzz is.
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