Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hero Waiter in Wisconsin

A 18 year-old waiter in Wisconsin saved a life this week when a customer started choking. He pulled the Heimlich maneuver out of his back pocket and dislodged a piece of chicken she was choking on. (And speaking of Choking Chicken...) Way to go, Adam Knowles (half-brother to Beyonce). Basil Restaurant in the village of Weston, Wisconsin has a hero in their midst.

I once saw someone choking at the Black-Eyed Pea in Houston once (read about it here) and just a few months ago there was another hero waiter who saved a life in his restaurant. I guess when we constantly work around people stuffing over-sized bites of food into their pie holes all day, it's only a matter of time before someone lets it go "down the wrong pipe" as the choking victim claimed. Adam proved that he was a true angel of food service when afterwards he held her hand to make sure she was okay. The woman eventually finished her meal because you know she wasn't gonna let that $9.00 grilled chicken wrap go to waste. And seeing that it was in Wisconsin, I can only assume that it had some cheddar cheese on it too. After the incident, Adam was quoted as saying that she "wasn't the best tipper." Hold the phone, what? This lady had her life saved by her waiter and she still left a less than decent tip? I expect 15% if I get the order correct and everything is served in an efficient and professional manner. If I go above and beyond the minimum by doing something like acknowledging the existence of your children, I expect 25%. If I save your life you best be coughing up some cash right after you cough up that dry ass piece of chicken that I dislodged from your esophagus. The nerve.

If I ever again see someone choking in my station, before I perform the Heimlich, I suppose I will be forced to get their credit card and go swipe it really quick so they can fill in the tip line. That way I will know how much effort I should put into this whole "life saving" thing. The credit card machine is really slow sometimes, so hopefully the choker has some cold hard cash they can pull out immediately. When someone is choking, it's not good to wait for the credit card machine to dial and process. Valuable time can be wasted. After their card has been authorized, I will then give them a form to fill out that makes them promise that they will not sue me if I happen to break a rib or two in the process of saving their life. The form will also state that in the event their life is not saved despite my heroic efforts, the next of kin will be responsible for tipping me on what turned out to be the last supper. Providing the credit card is approved and the forms are submitted properly, I will then begin to perform the Heimlich to the best of my ability. I learned it in the seventh grade and I am pretty sure that I can still recall how to do it properly. If not, no biggie.

So way to go, Adam Knowles for doing what every waiter should do in that situation. You are a hero! You can't pay the bills with hero status though, so if you see her coming back into the restaurant, I would pass her over to another server. And suggest a grilled chicken wrap smoothie next time.

Have you ever had to perform the Heimlich?

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Separate Checks, Continued

The post about separate checks really touched a nerve judging by all the comments. It seems that most servers don't mind doing them as long as we know up front and can prepare them in advance. With the computers that most restaurants use today, it's not that difficult to do. Where I work, our computers are so old that it's still a pain in the ass. Our machines are one step up from taking the order with a chisel and stone tablet or writing it on a cave wall with the blood of a woolly mammoth. The last post was all about separate checks from the perspective of the server, but this post is from the customer's point of view.

When I eat out with a large group of people, I too like separate checks. It just lets me know that I am tipping what I want to tip. If it's just a big pile of cash and I add a 25% tip for my portion of the food, someone is always going to take that as an opportunity to only leave a 10% tip for their portion. No one likes to be the one who handles all the money at the end either because invariably it is short and you either have to add extra dollars yourself or call out some cheap ass friend in front of everybody. Either way, it's awkward.

It reminds me of this guy in college. Whenever we would do a show, we would all go out afterwards and celebrate. I'm sure that the waitress at Racine's loved seeing a group of ten college kids show up and order frozen drinks and french fries. God we were obnoxious. We'd leave our stage makeup on so everyone would know that we were actors and totally cool. Embarrassing to even think about that now. Well, we never got separate checks. We would all just figure it out and pay cash. All of us except for one guy. He always put it on his credit card and kept the cash so he wouldn't have to go to the bank that week to get money. I was never sure about what kind of tip he was leaving and it was before I was a waiter so I probably didn't care that much anyway. It happened all the time. "Oh, let me put it on my credit card and you can pay me cash." We were all young and it was a time that most twenty-year olds didn't have credit cards.

Months later, when I was having a conversation with Mr. Fancy Credit Card, he let slip some vital information. He mentioned that the credit card he always had with him was actually his father's card and it was his dad who paid the bill. Wait, what? It all clicked. Every time we went out with him, we were just giving this guy our money and he knew that his dad was going to pay for everything. It was quite the nice income I imagine. Basically, he could convince a group of people to go to dinner with him and he could pocket a hundred extra bucks. What an asshole. I quit falling for it. From then on, I insisted that we all pay with checks or on our own tabs. He surely felt the cut in his income seeing that his friends were no longer giving him his spending money. Other than that, he was a nice guy. Sneaky, cheap, dishonest and he looked like a lizard, but nice.

In conclusion, separate checks are a good thing. The customers are all paying for what they got and tipping what they want. The server is not going to get screwed by someone who decided there was too much money in the pile and he pockets it himself. The only time that separate checks are absolutely pointless is when two women (yes, it's always two women) order two Diet Cokes and two house salads and their bill is exactly the same and they still demand separate checks. And then they give you twenty dollars apiece and say keep the change. What the fuck is the point of that?

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Separate Checks, Please

I am not perfect. ("No shit, Sherlock," says Anonymous and that guy from Tortilla Flats). Usually, I am calm under pressure. Challenges roll off my back like water on a duck. People don't get my goat because my goat is chill. I am cool as a cucumber. But then came table 28 who got all under my skin and on my last nerve. Seriously, I had one nerve left that night and they fucking found it and rode it like a pony. I lost my cool and I am ashamed. Allow me to explain.

If someone makes a reservation for ten people and then all show up together as a group, I am going to assume that they all know each other. Consequently, I am going to put them all on one check. Sorry, it's just the way it goes. I approached my ten-top to get drink orders and when I got to the last lady, she asked for a separate check. Okay, fine. I'd rather know now than later when ten people are throwing money at me and telling me they just want to pay for their two Bloody Mary's. When she asked for the separate check, I stopped and wondered if all the other folks would want their own checks too. "Would it be easier if everyone had a separate check?" I asked to the table who all ignored me. I asked again. One man answered on behalf of the table.

"We're all friends. We can settle it ourselves. One check is fine." Famous last words.

At the end of the night when I placed the bill at table 28, the lady who had her own check handed me cash and said "Thank you. Keep the change." Another lady flashed a twenty dollar bill at me and said, "How much is mine?" And so it began.

"Miss, you are included in the bill with your friends." Suddenly everyone is paying attention to me for the first time all night. "What? We're all on one bill? Oh my God! That's not good. Oh my God! The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Everyone wanted separate checks. I glared at the man who assured me one check was fine. At this point, I had twelve other tables to deal with and now they wanted me to split a nine-top? Deep breaths, calming thoughts. I explained to them that I would do it, but I was going to have to deal with my other tables first since this was going to take some time. They were not having it. At all. They yelled at me and got pissed off and had mini conniptions. Brows were furrowed. Veins were throbbing. Friendships were falling apart before my very eyes. I picked up the check and began the ordeal of splitting it nine times. But they were all in a hurry, of course and the next thing I knew several of them were surrounding me at the computer and throwing credit cards and money at me.

I gave a newly separated check to the host so she could run it out to one woman who was especially irritated. All of a sudden Especially Irritated Woman was standing right next to me. "I need my check right now or I'm just going to leave."

"Oh, the host just took it to your table, ma'am."

"Well, I'm here now. Go get it," she said.

"It's at your table and I am trying to divide up these other checks."

"Well, you better go get it because I'm leaving."

Resisting the urge to strangle her, I said, "Okay, let me stop what I am doing so I can go get your check which is at your table where I told you I would bring it to you." I went to get her goddamn fucking check and came back to the bar and put it next to her. "Here you are, I will be right back." I went downstairs and sat down for five minutes with my head in my hands. I needed to collect myself. If I didn't do it, I was going to say something I regretted and then she would go home and write a blog about me and get my ass fired. When I came back up stairs, she had left cash. Why didn't she just leave cash in the first place? In fact, six out of the ten people left cash and didn't want change. They could have done that when it was all on one bill.

The man who assured me one check was fine came up to pay. "I'm really sorry for all my friends. I've never seen them act that way, I'm so embarrassed. "

"Well, I don't like getting yelled at by people when I didn't do anything wrong. I asked if separate checks was better and you specifically told me that one check was fine. This was not my fault."

"I'm really sorry. Here, just take this. Take all of it." He pressed forty dollars into my hand and sheepishly walked out. I looked down at the two wrinkled twenty dollar bills and then looked at his check. It was for $40.29. Not only did he stiff me, he shorted me twenty-nine fucking cents.

Separate checks are fine, people. Just don't wait until the the bill comes and then tell me. Tell me at the beginning so I don't hyper-ventilate and possibly lose my cool in the process. I try to keep the bitchiness in tow while I'm at work and save it all for the blog. But don't push this Bilbo Baggins bitchy ass waiter. I don't want to lose it, but I just might.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Come and Knock on Our Door

Tuesday, March 15, 1977

Dear Diary,

Tonight was so slow at work. I have got to get a new job. It's bad enough that no one ever comes into the bar, but that uniform they make me wear is ridiculous. The stupid red skirt that's way too short and the puffy sleeves with my tits hanging out? C'mon. And then I have to wear that dumb ass vest and apron and floppy hat? I look like I'm about to go milk Betsy Ross's cow. Oh well, maybe I'll be discovered some day. It is Hollywood after all. Okay, Santa Monica, but it's close enough.

Pretty much the only people who came in tonight were those losers from the apartment complex down the street-those two girls and that guy who all live together. But they all came in at different times and then they sat in three different tables. First, the stupid blond came in with a date. He must have been a doctor because he was wearing his scrubs. Color me unimpressed. He seemed like a total lech who kept trying to make out with her even though she kept saying no. Well, a few minutes later the dark haired roommate showed up. I think she works at that broke down flower shop up the street that always only has carnations and baby's breath in it. So she showed up, but she was in a trench coat and a hat, like she didn't want anyone to know who she was. Hello? You come in here very night, I recognize you, dumb ass. She sat down at the next booth from Dumb Blond and started spying on them. Whatever. She ordered a water. Wow, thanks for coming in. A few minutes later the guy roommate comes in and he was wearing a trench coat too. He was trying to be all sneaky but the first thing he did when he walked in was bump into that big potted plant we have by the door and he knocked it over. He fell down and rolled halfway across the bar and then jumped up like nothing happened and sat down at a table. What an idiot. He was wearing sunglasses. Uh, maybe that's why you didn't see the big fucking plant, dumb ass. He ordered a water too. What a great night this was turning out to be.

So the two trench coat people just watched their friend have a date. I don't get it. Meanwhile, the doctor/guy-who-bought-scrubs-at-the-mall was getting really fresh with Dumb Blond. I dunno why she didn't just get up and leave, but he ordered her another wine spritzer and tried to get her to drink it really fast.

A few minutes later that old creepy married couple came in. His name is Stanley. I only know that because his wife says it over and over again. I don't know what her name is. I just call her Lady Who Wears Ugly Moo Moos. She ordered a piña colada and I had to tell her we don't have them. Again. She orders it every fucking time she comes in. Stanley ordered a beer. They sat at the bar and she was hanging all over him practically begging for some attention. He just ignored her even though it was clear she wanted to get laid. They're gross. She eventually gave up and played darts by herself.

Meanwhile, Dr. McGrabby was taking it too far with Dumb Blond. He was basically humping her in the booth. That's when the two trench-coated losers got up to help their friend. And then they saw each other for the first time. They were all, "What are you doing here?" even though there was nobody fucking else in the whole goddamn bar. They were arguing about how they were each there to protect Dumb Blond (Chrissy, they said) and then they got mad at each other because I guess they had both promised Chrissy they wouldn't watch over her and they had both broken their promise. Honestly, I didn't get it. The next thing I know, Chrissy has dumped a pitcher of water on her date and telling him to get out. So great. Now I get to mop up a pitcher of water. The "doctor" scurried out and then Chrissy saw her roommates. She was all, "What are you doing here?" and that's when I stopped giving a shit. Suddenly, they're all hugging and saying what great friends they are and laughing. I think they're on drugs or something. And then they see the older couple all of a sudden and it turns out they know them too. How they they didn't see then earlier, I'll never know. Again, let me remind you, they were the only people in the bar tonight.

And then they all started to leave together. I had to grab them to pay their bills. Three wine spritzers for Chrissy and one beer for Stanley. The each left me a dollar. Fucking assholes. Working at the Regal Beagle sucks.


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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Bitchy Waiter Can Now be a Bitchy Bridegroom

Same-sex marriage has become legal in New York State, making it the most populous state in the country to come to its fucking senses about love and marriage. Earlier this year, I wrote a post about "gay" marriage. Six months later, it's a reality. I truly believe that in ten years from now, most people will be saying "Yeah, what the fuck was the big deal, anyway?" Allow me to repost what I wrote in January because even though it was only six months ago, it is a world away. If and when I get married, we will be registering at this place.

From January 5, 2011:

Forgive me if this post is not about waiting tables, but I must respond to a comment left on this post about Chick-Fil-A. The post was basically about Chick-Fil-A supporting a pro-marriage group that is strictly for heterosexual couples. I understand that they have the right to support whatever they please. My issue is with the dumb ass comment that Anonymous wrote:
Anoymous said... Ithink I'll go there tomorrow & eat.I will be more than happy to go a support a company that stand up for family morals. GOD BLESS THEM!
(I left the poor grammar and lack of space bar intervention to illustrate their point fully.)

Okay. If you are going to go eat at Chick-Fil-A, then by all means do it. But do it because you love their fried chicken patties. Do it because you think their soft serve ice cream tastes like it was squeezed from the teet of an angel. Or do it because their waffle fries make your panties wet. But don't just do it because they "stand up for family morals." Seeing that the original post was about gay marriage, I get the impression, Anonymous, that you think family morals can only happen in a family with a man, woman, 2.5 kids and dog named Rover. Wake up and smell the regular coffee that I told you was decaf because I didn't want to make a whole 'nother pot. For your information, lots of non-traditional families have plenty of family morals. A kid with two dads does not grow up to be a social degenerate any more than a kid who has a mother and a father. I am so fucking sick of stupid ass bitches, cunts and assholes coming down on same sex marriage and my patience is running thin. Here in New York state, it is only a matter of time before gay marriage is legal. Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it a priority. That's right, within a year you may have to hear about two men getting married. That will disgust you more than hearing about a man who left his wife and kids after 15 years of marriage since they are straight and must have the monopoly on family morals. If marriage is so fucking important, I think Anonymous should start a campaign to make it illegal for anyone to get divorced. That way, we can be certain that family morals will be held intact by those who know it best: heterosexual couples. The decline in family morals has nothing to do with gay rights, you know that right? Heterosexual couples have been fucking that shit up for decades. The gays haven't had a chance yet.

Yes, I have been with the same man for twenty goddamn years. In fact, I don't know anyone my age who has been with their husband or wife for longer than that. (Strike that. Shout out to David and Eden!) Believe it or not, we consider ourselves a family. Our little family of three (we have a dog) is just as important as someone who happened to marry someone of the opposite sex and push out some children.

I need to breathe.

Okay, my point is that family morals don't come from one place. They can come from Chick-Fil-A but they can also come from a tiny gay owned business like the The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Family morals do not only reside in Christian homes in the the United States. So sure, ask God to bless Chick-Fil-A, but I read the Bible plenty and I am pretty sure that it says that God loves a lot of people. To quote Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol, "God bless us, everyone!" And to that, I add this: fuck you, bitch.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

An Open Letter to Jabba the Hutt

Dear Loser Who Comes Into the Restaurant and Stays Way Past Closing Time:

None of us like you. I'm sorry you don't have any friends, family or any kind of social life but please don't think that we are a substitution for that. At least twice a week you show up and plop your gelatinous ass onto a bar stool and then talk. And talk. And talk. When you know we close at 10:30, why do you think it's cool to arrive at 10:00 and begin your feast? Two martinis, an appetizer, an entree and dessert is a lot of food and I'm fine with that. What I am not okay with is that at 10:20 you order yourself a bottle of wine. You only do that so you have a reason to stay, right? Because you know we won't let you order another martini after closing time, but if you order a bottle of wine, you can stay for an extra hour and drink it, is that it? Really? I kinda hate you. And you seem like a nice guy, but I still have to hate you.
When you are the only one in the restaurant and you see me blowing out candles, sweeping the floor and carrying trash out, it might be a clue to you that we are closed. When you see the cooks climbing up on top of the stove to wipe down the walls, it might be a clue that we are closed. When you see me and the bartender standing at the other end of the bar checking our watches, twiddling our thumbs and yawning, it might be a clue that we are closed. Go home.

Now I understand that people can come into a restaurant any time before we are closed and expect service, but you really push that rule, don't you? I don't want to be there a whole extra hour just so you can nurse your bottle of wine and blab on and on about things that only you care about. "But you seem interested," you might say. We're not. We only feign interest because our boss won't let us say, "Get the fuck out, asshole." And if you leave a ten dollar tip for the extra hour I am there, after it gets pooled, I receive $3.33 so it's really not worth it to me for you to come in. Sure the restaurant owner gets to sell you all kinds of food and drink, but I'd rather just go home an hour early.

I get it. You must be lonely and you have somehow convinced yourself that we are your friends. Well, guess what. This ain't
Cheers and even though everybody knows your name, none of us call you that. Remember when Norm would walk in to Cheers, they would all yell out his name? Well, what we do when you come in is groan and say "Oh fuck, that asshole just got here." Maybe the next time you come in, you could offer to pay your check at 10:30 so we can move on to our next step in leaving where we have to count the drawer and tally up credit card receipts. But when you don't close your check until an hour after we close, we then have another fifteen minutes of paperwork to do. It's annoying since we just spent the previous forty-five minutes watching you make love to your wine glass.

Maybe instead of coming into the restaurant you can do what other people who have no friends do; sleep, have a tea party with your Beanie Babies, watch porn and masturbate, read National Geographic, call the Home Shopping Network, feed your cats, talk to your plants or simply sit in the dark and wonder what wrong path you took that made you think your only friends in the world are the people who work at the
restaurant down the street from your apartment. If you decide that you absolutely must come into he restaurant, then please be aware of our closing time. And don't fool yourself into thinking "Well, they have to be here anyway, so I may as well stay." The only reason we are there is because you don't want to go home. It sucks for us.


The Bitchy Waiter

p.s. If I ever see you in real life outside the restaurant, I won't be nice to you. The only reason I even tolerate you at work is because I have to. If I see you on the subway some night after I've had a couple of margaritas, it won't be pretty. Just sayin'. BW

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Toe of the Camel

Of all the sights that have caught my eye, there's one I truly know that gives me frights and makes me cry: the dreaded camel toe.

Why oh why do women not bother to look in the mirror sometimes? Especially when that woman is about to get up on a stage in front of 60 people and have spotlights shining upon her? Wouldn't she want to make sure that every thing is as good as it can be? Her hair and make up spot on? Her outfit freshly pressed? Her black Lycra® pants not being sucked up into her vagina?

There was a performer at my job last month who although extremely talented, was upstaged by her guest star, Camel Toe. Camel Toe came up on stage with her and then it never left. It liked the attention and it was not going anywhere. We have a full length mirror in the dressing room, for Christ's sake. Use it. You know in those cartoons when someone is really bad on stage and a giant hook comes from offstage and pulls them off? How I wished for a giant pair of pliers to show up and pull those pants out of her pooch. Or you know how on Showtime at the Apollo Sandman Sims would come out and tap dance someone off the stage when they sucked? I needed Sandman to rise from the grave and tippy tap that twat away. Maybe the singer liked her Camel Toe. Maybe it gave her comfort in the same way that Linus from The Peanuts takes comfort from his blanket. After all, she did wear a black top with a line of sequins that went right down the front of her body ending at Camel Toe. Was this a way to draw attention to it? And in almost every song, she swayed her hips back and forth and to and fro making Camel Toe more prominent with every move. By the time the show was over she had almost graduated from Camel Toe to full on Moose Knuckle. It was distracting to me and I usually am not in the habit of looking at that particular part of the female anatomy.

I kept waiting for her to sing Midnight at the Oasis so she could utter the perfect lyrics, "Send your camel to bed" and if not to bed then to the Bronx fucking Zoo. Anywhere but my place of employment, please. At one point she sang a song about the Sahara Desert and I couldn't help but wonder if it was a shout out to her friend Camel Toe. Every time she took a sip of water, I questioned if the water was for her or Camel Toe. Was her Camel Toe one-humped or two? (It was two.)

After her last song, she ran off stage to where I was hanging out by the bar and she waited to return for the obligatory encore. I tried not to look at Camel Toe, but it was staring at me. "Hey there, Bitchy Waiter, down here! Look at me! I'm hot and sweaty, but happy as a clam. For I am Camel Toe! I'm thirsty."

"Ummm, good show," I muttered.

"Oh thanks, sweetie. I guess I'll go do one more song." She readied herself to return to the stage. She shook her hair out and took a big sip of water. And then she hiked her pants up so high that her Urethra Franklin cried out for some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. She closed her act and then came out and chatted with us as we cleaned up for the night. She gave me a kiss on the cheek and thanked me for everything. After she left, I told my boss, "She was really nice. It's gonna be difficult to write a blog about her camel toe." You know what though? It really wasn't that difficult at all.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Was Stiffed by a French Bank

What is it with foreigners and tipping? We all know that the tipping culture in the United States is vastly different than in Europe. I agree that the amount of tipping in this country is overwhelming. Really? The kid at Tasti D-Lite expects me to tip him? And so does the girl at the grocery store? But I would think that every guide book that is sold in Europe has a section on tipping in restaurants, yet so many tourists play dumb when it comes down to paying a few extra bucks. Observe the $181.76 credit care receipt that I was given a few weeks ago and see the big fat nothing left in the tip line. And no, there was no cash tip. And no bus boy took it. She was French. But what gets me is that she has lived here in New York City for who knows how fucking long and she is still trying to use that tired old "I'm not from around here" excuse.

When the lady handed me her Black American Express card, I knew she was rich. The requirements for those cards are staggering: a $2,500 annual fee, $5,000 initiation fee and then you have to spend a minimum of $250,000 a year on it and there is no limit. This lady could go buy a jet, an island and if she knew the right phone number to call she could even purchase a small child who will do most excellent work in bathroom cleaning and laundry. I swiped the big heavy metallic card and took the receipts back to her table. I few minutes later when she got up to leave, I walked by the table to pick up the merchant copy. On the table was her copy, my copy and the original receipt. There was no signature. And no tip. I found her in the lobby.

"Excuse me, ma'am. I think you forgot to sign your credit card copy."

She spun around and hissed at me. "No I deed not. I signed zee copy."

"I don't think so," I said as I held two blank credit card receipts.

"Well, I signed somezing, I deed."

"No, I don't think so. There's no signature on either one of these receipts."

"Yes, I deed sign."

I looked at the itemized receipt that had a scribble on it. "Is that your signature?" I asked pointing to the chicken scratch that I thought was just that doodle that we all do to get the pen to start writing.

"Yes! See? I deed sign somezing."

"Oh, I see. Well, I need your signature on the credit card receipt."


Why? Does this bitch expect me to think that she has a fucking Black American Express card and she doesn't understand that she has to fucking sign the receipt when she uses it? I inhaled. "Well, I need the signature on the receipt that has your total and your credit card information on it. So if you could just sign this one-"

She interrupted me. "Well, what are you going to do wiz zee one zat I already signed??"

In my head I said, "Bitch I don't care what you do with the fucking itemized receipt that you scrawled your chicken scratch ass signature on, it's yours. Just sign the fucking credit card receipt and put a goddamn tip on it." In actuality I said, "You can keep that one for your records, ma'am."

She grabbed the pen out of my hand and signed her $181.67 credit card receipt and skipped right over the line for a tip. She put it into my hand. "Is zat okay??"

I looked at the empty line where it should have said $36.00 and said, "I guess so. Good night."

She spun back around completely fine with stiffing me even though I gave them perfectly fine service and never an ounce of attitude. Well, not until the very end anyway when it became clear that she was a royal French rich bitch who had no intention of tipping me in the first place. According to the name on the credit card she used, she's a bank. I guess the rich stay rich by saving 20% every time they go out to a place that has servers. Just think. If she goes out every night and stiffs a server on a check for $181, she can save $13,140 a year. Hopefully she uses that money for something good like the annual dues on her black fucking Am Ex card.

I sucked it up and accepted that i made no money from her rich ass. And no, I did not just add a tip. I may hate being a waiter but you know what I hate even more? Getting fired and then arrested for credit card theft and having my ass sent to prison where there are mean people who make The Bitchy Waiter seem like a sweet old lady. Plus, I don't know if there is Internet in prison and that would totally suck.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's day

Today is Father's Day so I am taking the day off from writing to sit on the couch and drink beer while watching a game. I'm not really sure what season it is, but I will find a game to watch. And I will smoke a cigar. I will bar b-q and then go watch a boxing match all the while scratching my balls. I will be enjoying the company of my kids who each made me a homemade card that I will read once and then put away somewhere to save forever so no one will know that I am an old sentimental softie. At the end of the day I will fall asleep on the couch with my hand down my pants. Happy Father's Day.

In the meantime, you can read this old tired summer repeat:

We had a really busy night the other night. I think we had about eighty-something people there and only two of us serving. The difference with this place as opposed to a restaurant is that everyone comes in at once, orders at once and then leaves at once. If the show is at 7:30, at 7:15 we are taking orders for every single person and then when the show is done all of them want the check right that second. It gets a little hairy and sometimes people have to wait. Most people are okay with it. Some are not.

The show had ended and I had collected most of my checks. I was setting the room for the next show when this bat out of hell rushes up to me looking like she is having a stroke. She was so angry. She couldn't even keep her eyes open because they were squished together in petulance. I hadn't noticed her before because she was not in my section. "I am so upset. I am so upset. Why is it taking so long to get my check? Why am I the last one? I mean, I wasn't the last one to arrive so why am I the last one now? I am so upset. This is crazy!" The lady was about to cry. Her hands were balled up into fists and she was shaking them up and down. Her face was completely wrinkled and and her brow was furrowed to the nth degree. She also had really frizzy hair that was obviously dyed black and wasn't age appropriate. That has nothing to do with her behavior, but it should be duly noted.

I reached my hand out to her and gently touched her forearm. "Hi there. Is everything okay?" I asked.

"I don't know where my waiter is and why he is taking so long," she screeched at me.

Pulling my hand away from her for fear that it would get sucked into the vacuum that was her bitchiness, I told her I was certain that her waiter was taking care of her check and would be right back.

She screams at me. "But I am so upset that it is taking so long, I just don't understand it!"

I paused for a moment and said, "I'm sorry but did I do something that upset you?"

She looked at me like I had just asked her what the square root of bitch was. "No," she said like it was the most ridiculous question I could have asked.

"Then why are you yelling at me?" Pause. Pause. Staring at her all the while. After sufficient awkwardness on her part, off I go to finish my sidework as she stood there with her mouth open. Grumpy bitch. Didn't she learn in kindergarten that someone has to be last? Jesus, someone just has to be last. It may as well be the woman in the room who has the worst dye job ever.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

Recently I heard someone talking about how few people there are who remember what they wanted to be when they grew up. I have always wanted to be the same thing so it's an easy question for me, but for a lot of people, it's surprisingly difficult to answer. Maybe you wanted to be a fireman or an astronaut or a teacher and maybe some of you lucky bitches got to grow up and be just that. (Like there's really an astronaut reading this lame ass blog.) But for a lot of us, we are either still striving for it or we simply don't recall. I asked my mom what she wanted to be when she grew up and she had no idea. “Oh, I don't remember. Maybe a secretary or something.” How could she not know what it was she wanted to grow up to be? I have wanted to be an actor my whole life and never stopped wanting it. Over the years I've gotten lazier about making it happen, but I never stopped knowing that is what I want to be. There were some other brief career aspirations; commercial artist, sign maker, teacher, writer, but actor was always the one that persevered. One career I never dreamed about having was waiter, but look what the fuck has happened. Or maybe I did want to be one somewhere deep in my subconscious.

When I was about 13 years old, my parent felt I was mature enough to stay at home for a few hours at a time and babysit my two younger brothers. It was a real big deal. One summer, the three of us were all at home and I was responsible for making lunch. I spent the whole morning creating menus so we could play restaurant. I pulled out my calligraphy set and some fancy paper and crafted two menus for my brothers. What kind of kid was I that I had a fucking calligraphy set and fancy paper? I was the same kid who had pencil sets and stationary, that's who. When it was time for lunch, I called my brothers into the kitchen and asked them to sit at the bar. They were presented with menus and they got to choose what they wanted for lunch. The menu consisted of Kraft macaroni and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and Steak-umms®. For beverages, their options were water, milk, or Kool-Aid and for dessert I probably offered Chips Ahoy or Popsicles. This was some fine dining shit. With my mom's apron wrapped around my waist, I tried to take their orders. They were not having it.

"This is stupid. What are you doing?"

"We're playing restaurant and I'm your waiter. What can I get for you?"

"Whatever. This is dumb," said Chad who never had any problem telling me that something I was doing was a stupid waste of time or as dumb as fuck. He was ten years old but he could cut me to the quick like nobody's business. Of course they didn't want to let me take their order and then have to sit there and "play restaurant" while I was making their Steak-umms® and Kool-Aid. They just told me what they wanted and got up to go play knowing full-well that I would call them when lunch was ready.

"But wait, you're supposed to sit and let me serve you," I cried out as they ran off to play Atari or with their Matchbox cars. "I made calligraphy menus," I screamed, putting the final nail in the coffin of my restaurant game. Chad laughed at me and then the younger one laughed too because he did whatever Chad did. I was alone in the kitchen. The menus were left on the bar and I felt stupid for even spending time making them in the first place. They went into the trash can and I took off the apron. I was just the older brother again making lunch for two unappreciative brats who just made fun of me. But lunch was made, they ate it, and I cleaned it all up. It was the first time I ever served food to someone who was mean to me and then didn't leave a tip. But God knows it wasn't the last time.

Did I ever say, "I want to be a waiter when I grow up?" No, I definitely did not. But it happened anyway. Sometimes we just end up being something even though we never planned on it. Did the lady at the DMV plan that when she was ten years old? Doubtful. Did the postman check that box on career day? Probably not. Did I go to school to be a waiter? Nope. But here I am. And here you are. Is what you are doing for a job what you expected to be doing when you were a kid? I wanna know.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Dear Diary, It's Me Marcia Brady

Dear Diary,

Today at work was totally groovy. I absolutely love working for Mr. Haskell at the ice cream hut. I'm not supposed to eat any ice cream without paying for it but sometimes I can't resist a tiny taste of the Rocky Road! I'd better watch how much I eat though because I don't want to get fat like that cow of a sister of mine, Jan. She's so jealous of me. Anyway, today was much better than yesterday when my old boyfriend Doug came in and I poured a hot fudge sundae on his head. I don't care about Doug anymore. Today a new boy started working with me and he is totally dreamy. He has the cutest dimples and the curliest hair in the whole wide world. When I see him, I feel like I'm dancing on a rainbow and The Monkeees are playing "Daydream Believer" in my heart. When he first showed up for work, the first thing I did was run to the bathroom to apply a new coat of Precious Pouty Pink lip gloss and then I practiced my smile in the mirror. Too bad I was wearing my uniform of ugly blue pants today! Why couldn't he first see me in my terrific plaid mini skirt with my favorite ruffle shirt? Oh well. I went out and introduced myself to him. He said "hey" and I practically melted faster than the ice cream does when Mr. Haskell won't turn on the air conditioning. He seems like a great worker but I did notice that every time Mr. Haskell went to his office the first thing he did was eat a scoop of ice cream and make a call on the pay phone. He wouldn't tell me his name either, but I think it just adds to his mysteriousness. He told me to call him Bitchy Waiter. Sigh. Mrs. Marcia Bitchy Waiter. Mrs. Marcia Bitchy Waiter! I think I love him! He must be really shy because he never responded to any of my best moves. I tossed my hair, I giggled, I asked for help carrying a heavy box and I even asked him if he would walk me home from school one day but nothing seems to be working. At least I know he doesn't like Jan either because she came into to look at the schedule and all he did when he saw her was compliment her shoes. (Which used to be mine because Jan is the middle child and all she gets are hand me downs. Oh Jan. Poor Jan.) Towards the end of the shift, Greg came in to buy some ice cream for Alice to serve as dessert. At first, I thought Bitchy Waiter must know Greg because as soon as he came in, he went right up to him and told him hello. Bitchy Waiter couldn't stop staring at Greg the whole time he was there. He must have been admiring Greg's letter jacket or something. After Greg left Bitchy Waiter asked me all these questions about him and wanted to know if he had a girlfriend and what his hobbies were and what size shoe he wore. Finally, he was talking to me!! He does like me! I invited him over for dinner tonight since Alice was making her world famous meatloaf. At first he said he couldn't make it but then he asked if Greg would be there. Once I told him I was sure he would be, he decided to come! He asked me to call him if I find out that Greg won't be there though. Oh, Dear Diary, I think I am in love. He should be here for dinner any minute. I will keep you posted. (And Cindy, if you are reading this, stop it!)


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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Corn on the Cob? Nope, On my Toe.

I have a corn on my right foot. It's on the pinky toe. I call it Joan Crawford because it's hard and hurtful just like she was. But it also has a soft side, much like Joan did. Joan's soft side showed up in her yearly Christmas cards. My corn's soft side shows up after I soak it in Epsom salt and hot water. I know what it's from. It's from wearing less than ideal shoes at work and cramming my wide ass foot into a narrow ass shoe and then standing for eight hours at a time. I saw it coming yet I did nothing about it. It's an old friend, this corn. Corns are like herpes. Once you get one, it never really goes away. It gets worse and then it gets better, but it's always there. Sure you can buy some corn pads and some Dr. Scholl's but maybe the only real way to get it taken care of is to either go to a podiatrist or start wearing flip flops twenty-four hours a day. In my latest dealings with my corn, I have opted for medicated pads. I don't know what the hell is on these pads. I tried to read the package once, but quite honestly, the print was too small. Between the long words and me being too lazy to go get my reading glasses which were all the way in the bedroom, I have no idea what it is I am smearing on my toe every forty-eight hours. But it seems to be working.

Corns are a hazard of the job. We servers are on our feet for hours at a time, much like a Wal-Mart greeter. I can only assume that those Wal-Mart greeters have corns all over their feet but then again most of the greeters are old so their feet are past their prime anyway. Since they work at Wal-Mart though, they can just hop, skip and limp over to aisle seven and get all the help they need. Wal-Mart has insoles, extra cushioned socks, corn pads, medicine and they even have a do-it-yourself appendage amputation kit. If the corn is really bad they can just cut the foot off and then go over to aisle two and buy a new foot using their 25% off employee discount card. We don't have that in the restaurant business. We are forced to pay full price for our corn remedies or you can do some poor white trash option like fold up a bev nap and stick it between your toes. Don't laugh. I've done it. One time at work, my cuticles were ripping every time I reached into my pocket to make change. After about ten times and the first appearance of blood, I put a piece of Scotch tape over my finger and it saved my life. Necessity is the mother of invention, they say. Or poverty is the reason I use Scotch tape and bev naps for Band-Aids. (FYI, in the winter when your hands are dry, a pat of butter from the bread station does wonders.)

Why am I writing about corns? It's because it is another thing that we servers deal with. Bad tips, snotty attitudes, messy babies, asshole managers, long hours, no benefits, slimy ice machines, sticky sugar caddies, dirty ketchup bottles, wobbly tables, incompetent co-workers, and corns. Corns. In the words of Carol Channing overheard from a stall in the bathroom, "When did I have corn?"

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A Comment on Comments

And now for a brief comment on comments. In regards to this post about a man who was freezing his nuts off, Anonymous said:
You are a tool that likes the sound of his own voice. grow up!
Dear Anonymous,

I think what you meant to say was,"you are a tool WHO likes the sound of his own voice." And this is the written word. So my voice is not actually heard. Tool.

The Bitchy Waiter

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Your Nuts are My Pleasure

You know I work in a totally classy establishment, right? I know it's classy because we have candles on every table and our martinis cost $15 each. We also wear all black uniforms. Class-A, indeed. Last week when a gentleman called me over to his table during the performance, I assumed he needed another glass of our top-notch pinot noir or maybe he wanted an order of our Poisson d'or des Biscottes* that are a steal at $6.50. I leaned in to learn his request and he whispered into my ear something that was decidedly un-classy. "Can you turn down the air conditioning? I'm freezing my nuts off." I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you! How did this older gentleman in a nice suit with his distinguished grey hair feel it was alright to assault my virgin ears with such a horrific expression? Never mind the fact that it was about 90º outside and we needed that air conditioning on. Never mind that we do not use language like that in my work place. Never mind that he was in the company of a lady friend who would have been disgusted by such disturbing vernacular. What I found most shocking was that this old man even knew that his testicles were still there. They probably hung so low that one of them was tucked into his sock. They were probably covered in so much gray that a whole vat of Grecian Formula would surrender at the challenge. They probably only produce sawdust and sadness. But nevertheless, he was worried that his nuts would get so cold, they would shrivel up, fall off and roll away under booth six never to be seen again until I sweep there. (So never.) Since I have all the care and concern in the world for this man's nuts, I rushed to the thermostat and raised the temperature. I did not want to be held responsible for a man losing is precious nuts. Be they acorn, betel, pecan or walnut, cashew, almond, filbert or beech, I do not need that responsibility.

About ten minutes later I went to check on the temperature of his testicles. "Sir, is everything better now? How are they hangin'?" He assured me that all was fine down below. I shook off the mental image and removed his empty wine glass and asked if he'd like another. He did. I brought it. We were good.

As he left, he thanked me again for adjusting the A/C. He left me a good tip but I got more from him than just 20%. I learned something. Thanks to Mr. Icy Nuts, I know now that even though I work at a place that is as classy as all get out, that even the riff raff will sometimes sneak in. Underneath their fine Italian suits and rigid demeanor, we sometimes have a guy who has no problem talking to me about his balls. I may as well work at a gay bar.

*Goldfish Crackers

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pregnant and Drinking? Bring it On!

I am never one to judge. Ever. Not the slightest bit. So when a women ordered a glass of wine from me last week, I wondered why she first sort of asked permission from the two people she was with who it turned out were her husband and her mother. "Do you guys think it's alright if I have a glass of red wine with dinner?" I assumed she was considering that it was a weeknight and only 5:30 PM. In my book, 5:30 is the perfect time for a glass of red wine if you bump it up to 2:30 and make it a margarita instead. I instantly fell in love with her mother when she replied, "Sweetheart, you're talking to two alcoholics, of course it's alright." She followed that statement with a throaty laugh that was proudly brought to us by a fifth of Jack Daniels and a pack of Marlboro Reds. I brought her a glass of Malbec and then they were ready to order dinner. The wine drinker ordered a steak and said she needed it medium well. "Ordinarily, I would like it medium rare, but since I'm pregnant, I'm supposed to have it a little more cooked than I am used to." I looked down and saw that she had a baby brewing in her belly. Then she took a swig of wine.

I had always heard that drinking the occasional glass of red wine during a pregnancy was at least good for the blood flow if not good for copping a buzz to help you deal with the ever-increasing waistline. I had just never seen a woman feel comfortable enough to do it in public. Surely there are lots of pregnant wine drinking ladies who are in the closet because they don't want to see the eyes of judgement gazing down upon them if they choose to imbibe at a restaurant. But here was a lady who was like, "Fuck y'all bitches. Dr. Oz said there was a study that said it might be alright so I'm goin' for it." In truth, Dr. Oz said he didn't really recommend it, but some say if you have it in your second or third trimester, it's not so bad. It's not like this lady was doing Jello shots and beer bongs. It was simple glass of Malbec that she had with three glasses of water and a huge steak. Her mother approved of it and she seemed like the type that drank heavily so I imagine that she had a bourbon and Coke with her in the delivery room when she birthed her daughter and she seemed fine. Then again, I didn't really know how the pregnant lady's brain cells were. Maybe they were damaged and I just couldn't tell. Whatever. As long as she could figure out a 20% tip, I'm good. And who am I to decide, anyway?

It reminded me of this girl I went to elementary school with named Veronica. She was really mean, always getting into fights and did poorly on her report card. She was very short and chubby with stubby fingers and fat legs. She was only in the fifth grade, but she had the body of a 40-year old women who had already popped out three kids and never got her pre-baby body back. I remember that someone told me once that Veronica was like she was because her mom had smoked cigarettes and drank while she was pregnant. As a fourth grader, I took that for the God's honest truth. The only reason Veronica was mean, fat and stupid must be because her mom smoked and drank. Thinking back I guess Veronica could have been fat because she always had a red mustache like she drank Kool-Aid for breakfast and she ate three corn dogs everyday for lunch. And she could have been mean because she was fat. And she could have been stupid because she was always picking on people instead of picking up books. And why would some other fourth-grader even know what Veronica's mom was doing when she was pregnant? Man, I was as stupid as Veronica was.

The pregnant lady finished her glass of wine and then downed another glass of water. She was about 28 weeks pregnant, and my vast prenatal knowledge tells me that at 28 weeks her baby's brain was continuing to develop and is now forming the folds and grooves of a fully developed brain. Fine and dandy. The amount of tissues within the brain also continues to increase in large amounts and it is now deciding if it likes Malbec or Pinot Noir better. The hair that covers the baby's scalp is also getting longer and it is considering getting a Brazilian blowout if it is able to get an appointment before the due date. I applaud this women for having her sensible glass of red wine in station. Best of luck to her. And hopefully she doesn't end up with a Veronica. That bitch was mean.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Grabby McGrab Grab Baby

It's no new news in this old court that babies are not my favorite things. Sure, they're cute and people say they smell good but who hasn't seen at least one baby that was clearly hit in the head with an ugly stick? As my seventh grade teacher Mr. Trowbridge would say when encountering a less than attractive bundle of joy, "Now, that's a baby!" And speaking as one who took care of a baby for a full year, there are plenty of times when they most assuredly and most definitely do not smell anywhere close to good. If "good" was in one neighborhood, you would need to take the G train and two buses to get to the neighborhood she smelled like after a lunch of chicken nuggets and kimchi. Don't get me wrong though. I loved that baby I took care of. Still do. But sometimes she was stanky. There was a baby in my station last night. And before you say that I should hate the parents and not the baby, I know that already. It's just much more fun to say "I hate babies."

The first indication that this baby and I would be having issues was when the highchair went at the end of the table and now the baby was right in front of the side stand. Anytime I needed to get a spoon, I would have to reach right behind the baby. What was wrong with this baby? Didn't it know it was in my way there? Why are babies so unaware of their spatial relationship to other people and things? Man, babies are so clueless. Every time I approached the table, it reached out to touch my hair. Granted, my hair is amazing and the baby wasn't the only one in the restaurant who wanted to touch it last night. I let the lady at booth seven touch my hair because she complimented me so highly and I liked her Louisiana accent. I also figured it would help the tip. The baby however had no accent at all and its hands were probably sticky with jelly, lollipop or poop. And babies are notoriously bad tippers. It's like they can't figure out 15% of their check. Man, babies can't do anything.

Halfway through the meal, the baby knocked over a glass of water. It spilled all over the table and onto the mom and then the floor. Why did I bother giving the baby a plastic cup with a lid if it was determined to use a full sized glass of water anyway? Man, babies have shitty motor skills and coordination. The mom never even got up even though she had just had water poured all over her lap. She didn't even flinch. She must be used to her baby always spilling crap all over her. As I was trying to clean it up, she didn't budge an inch. I got down on my hands and knees with some paper towels and soaked up as much as I could since she was too unconcerned to even move her chair over two inches. Meanwhile, baby got a handful of my locks and wouldn't let go. "Oh, look, she likes your hair," said Lazy Mom. I smiled and thought about how everyone likes my hair. It doesn't make your baby a child genius or anything. Get over it. When it became clear that this water was as cleaned up as it was going to get, I gave up. I would let the hardwood floors do the rest of the work for me. Soak it up, hardwood. I did not take them another glass of water because that greedy baby would probably just grab at it and toss it to the floor in another attempt to get at my precious follicles. Not gonna fall for that, baby.

They gave me a good tip and the baby waved at me as they left the restaurant. On second glance, the baby was kinda cute with her little stubby fingers and her hair pulled into a barely-there ponytail. On the table was a red crayon that had rolled underneath the plate. I picked it up and ran out to the sidewalk to catch them. "You left something on your table your baby might want." The baby reached out to grab at the crayon and the mother told me thank you. "Bye-bye, baby," I said. "Have a good night." She cooed out something that I couldn't understand. I rolled my eyes. Man, babies have terrible verbal skills.

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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Beware: Disgusting Drops of Water

There are a lot of disgusting things that servers have to deal with. Crusty ketchup bottles and crusty old ladies just being the tip of the crusty iceberg. There was a time when smoking was allowed in restaurants and many times I had to scrape cigarette butts off of a dessert plate. Disgusting. Cleaning up vomit? Disgusting. Serving an old man with a cold sore so big that it needs its own table? Disgusting. But there is one thing that we deal with every day that makes my skin crawl and it's surprising that it has never made it into the blog before. It's that bus tub full of water that we throw the silverware into after we clear a table. It's like a murky soup of every item on the menu mixed with a tablespoon of soap. On occasion, when tossing some forks into that tub of putrid disgust, a splash happens that sends some of that water right back onto my arm and every time it happens I want to throw up. You know how the Wicked Witch of the West melted when Dorothy threw that water on her ass? It's sorta like that, except I don't melt. I just recoil in terror as my gag reflex goes into hyper-overdrive and I imagine all the bacteria that is slowly dripping down my arm. Last week, a few of those drops of water took square aim at my face:

Hey everybody, look! There's that bitchy ass waiter! Why don't we all gang up on him and go land on his face, you want to? Especially you, leftover tilapia mixed with chocolate syrup! Get over here, you crazy piece of smegma, you. And can someone go to the bottom of the bus tub and get a piece of braised kale? That shit is nasty and it needs to be on his face. Whadda ya say, gang? As soon as he throws a fork at us, we all go for it, alright? Get ready, here it comes!! GO!

The drops of water splashed right onto my face, some of it landing on my lip. I tried hard not to think about everything that was in that water but all I could picture was the man at table six who was busy coughing up internal organs all night. I wanted to ask him if he needed anything. Water? A napkin? An iron lung, perhaps? Now I probably had his germs all up in my mouth and within moments I would have a rip-roaring case of the emphysema. And then I remembered the lady at table eleven who was sneezing all night and said it was just allergies but it was probably some rare case of yellow fever that I was now going to contract. The water dripped down my cheek and onto my shirt. I ran to the bathroom to wash my face with industrial soap and lukewarm water.

No disease or illness has befallen me since, so the cleansing must have been sufficient. But it still grosses me out. From now on, I will no longer casually toss the silverware into the bus tub. It will forever be lovingly placed ever so gently into the water. I can't risk that disgusting happening being repeated. Fucking nasty ass water.

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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 95º+ 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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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

De Plane! De Plane!

I have a tattoo on my arm and I'm not talking about the Herve Villechaize kind. I got it about a year ago after one of my best friends died of some fucked up cancer shit that took him way too soon. He was diagnosed and given about six months to live and then 17 days later he was gone. It was and probably will always be one of the hardest things I have ever dealt with. Although he has been gone for over two years, I still wonder why I haven't talked to him in so long and why he never returned the poke I gave him on Facebook. I have tried to poke him again and it just says "Van has not received your last poke yet. He'll get it the next time he logs in." I swear to God it makes me cry every time I see that fucking message. I guess that feeling will never go away. I got the arrow on my arm for him because he was one of my biggest supporters in whatever I chose to do. "Don't give up, you can do it. Just keep going for it. Don't look back. Press forward." These are all things that he told me on a regular basis whether it was about auditioning, writing, substitute teaching at a high school, or anything else I had decided to throw myself into. I love the tattoo. It reminds me to keep pressing forward and it makes me happy to look at it. However, when I got it, it didn't occur to me how prevalent it would be at my job. My other tattoos are much more inconspicuous, but this one is right there for every table to look at whenever I hand them something. Just about every day, someone asks me what the arrow means. Depending on my mood or how much time I have, I either give them the long version about the death of my friend or the short version, which is "keep going forward."

More than once though, I have had people ask me about the tattoo and they think they know why I got it. "Did you get that because you're a waiter and the arrow tells you where the food goes?" Seriously? Do people think that I love waiting tables so much that I got a permanent marking on my body to always remind me where the fucking plate goes? That would be like an IT guy getting a tattoo that says "Control, alt, delete." Or maybe an English teacher getting the alphabet tattooed on her arm. Or a porn star getting an arrow pointing to her coochie saying "insert here." (Okay, that last one is totally a good idea.) So, no, I did not get the arrow on my arm because I am a waiter and "that's where the food goes." Whenever someone assumes that's the reason, I always say, "No, it's to remind you where the tip goes."

I dunno why I wanted to write about this today. A few nights ago someone asked me about the arrow and I told them the full story. People always love the full story because it's real. And meaningful. And sincere. It's not trite. The tattoo gives me comfort. Every time I feel down or worried or confused, all I have to do is look down to my right arm and feel the presence of my good friend Van who could always make me feel better no matter the circumstances. So if you see a waiter with an arrow on his right arm, you will know two things: one is that this waiter had a great friend who was taken too soon.The second thing you will know is that you are being waited on by The Bitchy Waiter and you'll find that he's not all that bitchy.

I miss you, Van. I really do.

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