Back in the 80's, I remember being fascinated by something called biorhythms. Biorhythm is an attempt to predict various aspects of a person's life through simple mathematical cycles. Most scientists believe that the idea has no more predictive power than raw chance. (Thanks, Wikipedia.) Since in the 80's there was no such thing as an "app for that," the only way to keep track of such important information was to buy a little paperback book that was about a dollar and was always at the grocery store checkout lane right next to the gum and tabloids. That is also where I bought my monthly horoscope and a book on lucid dreaming so I could learn how to make myself fly in my dreams. I never really got the hang of lucid dreaming which is probably for the best because if I did, I would just stay in bed all day and dream of bitch slapping customers. Anyhoo, some days, the book told me that my biorhythms were off which would account for the bad decisions or clumsy behavior. Curiously, the same thing could be said of tequila and/or vodka. If I were to still believe in the power of biorhythms, I would say that a few days ago, mine were most certainly off.
I have to work tonight so I am spending the day doing errands and updating Facebook and Twitter statuses. Stati? All was well and good until I go to my kitchen to clean it. In my attempt to move a brand new bottle of olive oil, it tips over and slams against the cold hard quartz counter top and shatters. Have you ever tried to clean up a whole bottle of spilled olive oil? It's not easy. It goes everywhere slowly expanding like a light green puddle of hatred. It gets into every crack and crevice and underneath the coffee pot, blender and salt and pepper shakers. It takes almost a whole roll of paper towels to clean. "Clumsy me," I think.
Later on at work, I am serving a round of drinks; a Kettel One on the rocks with a twist, a Chivas on the rocks in a wine glass, two Pinot Noirs and a glass of water. I remove each glass carefully sliding my hand underneath the tray to maintain the balance. There are two glasses of wine left on the tray and as I take one off, my tray begins to tip over. Because my reflexes are incredibly fast and I have not had my shift drink yet, I catch the last glass of wine before it falls onto the guest, losing only a couple of drops that land on the tray. One person at the table notices it.
"Good save," he commends me.
"Thanks," I say, rather embarrassed.
"Clumsy me, " I think.
As I walk away, I hear a lady say, "Did I almost wear a glass of red wine?"
An hour later, a customer asks for a cappuccino. I usually let the food prep guy make it but I am in a hurry so I run downstairs to do it myself. As I am coming back up, cappuccino in hand, I lose my footing on the steps. Slow motion goes into effect.
My right hand extends as I begin to fall onto my right knee. My left foot is farther behind me than it should be and my knee slams into the step as I try to catch myself with my left hand. I worry that I am about to suffer first degree burns on my hand and arms all because the lady at table 42 wants a cappuccino. It begins to spill at the same time that my knee reacts to the sensation of slamming against the stairs. I outreach my hand to keep the hot foamy milk as far away from the rest of my body as possible. I moan or grunt or make some other embarrassing sound so that my coworkers upstairs will know that there is a server down.
"Call 911! Get a doctor! I am injured! Clumsy me!" I think, but all that comes out of my mouth is, "umphgrggg!"
I am still, lying on the staircase, when I see Liz, the hostess, peer from around the door at the top of the stairs.
"Oh my God, are you alright?"
"I fell," I say as if my position is not evidence enough. "I think I'm fine."
"Hold on," she says and she disappears out of sight for a few seconds. I assume she is going to get a towel to wipe up the cappuccino or ask one of the other servers to lift my banged up body from the stairwell. She reappears with her cell phone.
"I don't think you need to call 911, Liz, I'll be alright."
"Stay right there'" she tells me. "Don't move!"
She squats down looking intently at her phone. My arm is reaching towards her, my legs splayed in a most unnatural position, and the sleeve of my shirt is dripping with a coffee beverage.
She extends her phone in front of her and I hear a click. She looks at the screen and says, "Too dark, hold on, lemme try again." Click. "Fuck, it's too dark. Bummer." She stands up and wanders out of sight.
I haul myself up the stairs and inspect the damage. My knee already is beginning to bruise and the possible burns are nothing to worry about because I made such a crappy cappuccino that it is barely lukewarm. I am okay. Embarrassed and sore, but okay.
I slowly go back downstairs to make another cappuccino and walk up the stairs like I just had two hip replacements. When I finally make it back to table 42, I apologize for the delay and explain what had happened. She is understandably concerned about my well-being and thanks me for the cappuccino. (She does not take a picture of me, Liz.)
The lady leaves me a big tip which I can attribute partly to my wonderful service but mostly to the pity that she felt for me.
So were my biorhythms off this day or am I just getting clumsy in my middle-age? If only I had my little paperback book from the grocery store to know if I should have been more careful that day. I blame it on my biorhythms or the fact that gravity was extra strong that day.
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