Monday, October 31, 2011

Annie, the Later Years

Little Orphan Annie thought everything was going to be fine once she ended up in Daddy Warbuck's mansion. What she didn't know was that Daddy Warbucks often had a whim where he devoted all of his attention to a new project only to quickly lose interest shortly thereafter. His plan to adopt an orphan was purely for publicity and to focus attention away from his shady financial dealings and his close relationship with the president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. When Annie first learned that she was to move in with the millionaire and live in his house staffed with butlers, cooks, maids and his lovely personal secretary, Miss Grace Farrell, she thought her troubles were over. They were just beginning.

Oh sure, the first few weeks were a dream. She has tennis lessons with Don Budge and an indoor swimming pool. Her dog Sandy was fed roast beef and the two of them slept in a feather bed with velvet pillows. Daddy Warbucks would shower her with gifts and the two of them would dance and laugh but after about four months, the attention started to wane. The staff that at first seemed so excited to meet Annie soon grew tired of her incessant cheerfulness and began to resent all the extra work that came with having a child and a dog added to the household. Of course Mr. Warbucks didn't increase their salary even though the workload had certainly increased. At the beginning, the cook, Mrs. Pugh, made Annie's favorite things for dinner but when she noticed that her boss didn't seem to care what Annie ate anymore, Annie's meals turned into sandwiches and leftovers. Drake the butler no longer delivered her food to her room and instead Annie had to eat in the kitchen if she could persuade someone to open a can of soup for her. Even Miss Farrell's attention faded. She hated kids even more than Miss Hannigan did and the only reason she was ever nice to Annie was because she was in love with Mr. Warbucks and she wanted to please him. Once Miss Farrell discovered that he was banging one of the maids, Cecil, who picked out all of Annie's clothes, she let her hatred for Annie shine through. Many times, Miss Farrell would stick Annie with a safety pin making her cry out in pain and disturb Mr. Warbucks when he tried to read the paper.

One year after Annie had arrived at the mansion, Mr. Warbucks needed some new good press so he went back to the orphanage and picked out a new orphan. This time he picked out that little cry baby bitch, Molly. Of course it made all the papers and people suddenly forgot what a dirty millionaire businessman Mr. Warbucks was and all they saw was a wonderful man who loved orphans. "What a crock of shit," said Annie as she sat in the corner and watched the staff give Molly the same old song and dance she had gotten only twelve months before. It was then that Annie decided to run away.

But where could she go? She couldn't go back to the orphanage. She hated that place and she couldn't face the idea of sleeping in her old bed that had more bed bugs than bed springs. The orphanage was run now by Lily St. Regis who had copped a plea deal and sent Miss Hannigan and Rooster to prison. Annie could never forgive Lily for pretending to be her real mother and knew if she ever saw her again, she would cut that bitch's face. Annie heard on the street that her old nemesis, Pepper, had started a tent city under a bridge on the Lower East Side. She took Sandy and headed downtown to face Pepper and ask her is she could stay with her until she got her feet on the ground. Of course Pepper was happy to see that Annie had come crawling back. "I knew you'd never make it any place other than the street, "Pepper said. "You're trash. Always have been and always will be." Annie held back the tears, but inside she knew Pepper was right. Her parents were dead and gone and she was foolish to have ever thought they were coming back for her and even more foolish to think they collected things like ashtrays and art. The only thing Annie's parents collected was dust as they lay rotting in Potter's Field.

"Please, Pepper. I'm sorry I was so mean to you. Can I just stay here for a few weeks until I find a job? Bet your bottom dollar you won't even know I'm here, I promise," begged Annie.

Pepper crossed her arms and smiled. She had Annie right where she wanted her. "Yeah, you can stay here, but if you aren't bringing money into Peppertown within one week, your ass is outta here. And once you do get a job, I get 50% of whatever you make." She reached out to shake Annie's hand and as soon as Annie lifted her hand to return the shake, Pepper pulled away from her. "Dumb ugly ginger bitch. Go sleep on that pile of newspapers and shut the hell up. And if that stupid mutt of yours makes one sound, I swear to God I will skin it and make a coat out of him."

Annie sat on the newspapers and wiped the tears from her eyes. "The sun'll come out tomorrow," she said to Sandy. "I just know it."

The next day Annie hit the pavement looking for a job. She was only 13 years old, but she had developed early and could easily pass for a 16 year old. She saw a restaurant called Bottom Dollar Diner and went inside. The special of the day was sunny side up eggs and hash. It seemed like the perfect place to work. "I'm looking for a job," said Annie to the fat balding man with the greasy face who was sitting at the cash register and reading a newspaper that had a picture of Molly and Daddy Warbucks on the front page.

"Ain't got no jobs," answered the cashier/owner without even looking up.

"But I can clean anything you need. I can cook or wash dishes or bus tables. And I can sing songs too! Listen: the sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that-"

"We don't need no singers here or any dishwashers either. Go away."

"But I'll do anything," Annie pleaded. "Anything at all!"

"Anything?" The man looked up from the newspaper revealing crooked yellow teeth and a cold sore. "Whatdaya mean, 'anything'?" He put down the newspaper and walked towards Annie.

"Anything at all, mister! Smile darn ya smile! Anything at all!"

The man led Annie to his office where he told her he would find a job for her to do. Ten minutes later, Annie was the new waitress and the man was buckling his pants and smoking a cigarette. It wasn't the ideal way to get a job, but Annie was proud that she had found a way to earn her keep at Peppertown. Her knees were dirty and her jaw was sore, but she had a job!

She stayed at Peppertown for two months and eventually was able to afford her own room in a boarding house. By the time she was 17 years old, she practically ran the Bottom Dollar Diner. She dreamed of the day that Fat Sam, the owner, would sell her the restaurant and move away. She had faith that sooner or later it would happen and she saved every penny she earned so that when the time came, she would be ready. In the meantime, she waited tables seven days a week. One time she saw Molly on the sidewalk outside the restaurant selling apples. "It's a hard knock life, Molly," she thought. She went outside and bought three apples from the little street urchin. Molly didn't recognize her which was fine with Annie. She took the apples inside and began to make them into a pie that would be the special the next day. "The sun'll come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there'll be sun," she sang softly as she peeled the apples.

"Arf," said Sandy.

"Good boy, Sandy, that's a good boy!" said Annie. She petted her loyal companion on the head. "Some day, we'll own the Bottom Dollar Diner and you and I will live happily ever after, I just know it. The sun will come out tomorrow, I just know it!"

This post was brought to you by my Halloween costume. Happy Halloween!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

My Photographic Memory

Any server who is worth his salt is also a good photographer. We have to be because so often, we are called upon to be the one who snaps the photo of the special event that is happening in our section. Great Grandma Betty's 110th birthday? "Waiter, can you take our picture?" Girls' night out and seeing Mama Mia! for the tenth time? "Waiter, can you take our picture?" Finally passed that kidney stone after drinking three five dollar pints at happy hour? "Waiter, can you take our picture?" We do it all the time. Back in the olden days before we had fancy computer machines and horseless carriages, we used to take pictures with something called "film." After the 12, 24 or 36 shots were taken, that roll of film was then carried down to the H.E.B., Kroger's or Walgreen's where that film was "developed." It took about four days unless you wanted to pay extra for next day service or if you were rich you could go to the one-hour photo place at the mall. It wasn't until you picked up your envelope of pictures that you discovered what your photos looked like. It's not like today where you snap a shot and then everyone looks at it right away to give photo approval and then seconds later that photo is on Facebook, Flickr and Manhunt. No, in days of yore we had to wait days on end to see our prized photography and on occasion the store would lose your roll of film.

One time when I was in the fourth grade, my class took a field trip to Port Lavavca, Texas to see a replica of one of Christopher Columbus' boats. I don't recall if it was the Nina, the Pinot Grigio or The Santa Margherita, but it was huge deal in my nine year old life. I used my allowance to buy a roll of 36 exposure film and used the whole roll for one day which was a real extravagance. The next day, my mom took me to Albertson's to drop off the film and four days later, I went to see what my pictures looked like. All the envelopes of developed pictures were alphabetized in a big drawer and customers would go through them to find their envelope and then carry it to the register to pay for it. Mine wasn't there. My little slip of paper confirmed it should be back that day, but it wasn't. I went to the counter where I was told, "Sometimes it comes a day later. Check back tomorrow." The next day, I begged my mom to drive me back to check again. I simply could not wait to see what photographic works of art were awaiting me. Again, it was not there. I went through the whole drawer and it was nowhere to be found. This went on for a week until finally I was told something that crushed my nine year old heart. "Sometimes it gets lost. We'll just refund you another roll of film."

What? How does this happen? I just get another roll of film? But what about the pictures I took of all my friends on the school bus? How will I ever see the Nina, the Pinot Grigio and/or The Santa Margherita again? They didn't understand that I had taken pictures of a once-in-a lifetime trip and it could never be replaced by an empty roll of film. I was heartbroken, I really was. Tears happened and anguish and wailing cries of "Why me?" My mom consoled me with the "sometimes life isn't fair" speech and it was the first time I ever understood that sometimes things just don't turn out right through no fault of our own. It was an eye-opening experience and a gentle nudge into the real world. It seems so trivial now, but then it was a really big life lesson for me. It took me weeks to get over that I would never get to see that picture of Felicia in the galley of the boat or of Machon next to the man dressed like a Christopher Columbus. It really affected me. For weeks and weeks every time we would go to Albertson's I would steal away to the film counter and thumb through all the envelopes just in case my pictures had been found. They never were. Life was not fair. Felicia showed me her pictures and let me have a couple of them but it wasn't the same. I was thankful for the two pictures I had, but I still wanted to see the 36 that I had taken all on my own.

This is what I was thinking about last night when table 16 handed me their cameras and asked me to document the birthday of Mom who was visiting from Florida. I took a picture and handed them the camera so they could all see if they approved. They all liked it. "You're really good," they said. "You should be a professional photographer!"

"Well, I take a lot of pictures. I guess after a while you get really good at it," I joked. I took another picture with someone else's camera. On the screen, I saw a happy mom with her husband, son and daughter-in law. "Say cheese," I said. The photo turned out great. They were all happy and it was perfectly composed and focused. I handed them the camera for approval and again they liked what they saw. So yeah, I took some good pictures last night but I'd give anything in the world to see what the pictures I took in 1977 in Port Lavaca looked like.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Remember the Alamo and Meat Cleavers

We've all had those days where things get to be too much and we find ourselves at the end of our proverbial rope. Granted, our job can be a stressful one when we are dealing with people who think that their ham and cheese panini is the be-all end-all most important sandwich on the face of the planet and if they don't get it right this minute they are going to go bat-ass crazy. Or maybe you have a boss who wants to cut your shifts in half and doesn't care that you have bills to pay and cocktails to order and now you'll have to start putting that shit on your Visa card. There are any number of ways to deal with these stressful moments. Personally, I find that going into the walk-in for a couple of minutes where it is nice, cool and quiet does wonders for my peace of mind, especially when I go in there with a coffee cup of champagne that I can down in three seconds. Or sometimes going into the bathroom and splashing cool water on my face helps me feel better, especially when I go in there with a coffee cup of champagne that I can down in three seconds. The point is, there are lots of different ways to deal with stress. One way I do not recommend is throwing a meat cleaver at someone. But hey, if that's what it takes to calm you down, who am I to say anything? I say potato, you say meat cleaver.

This month, a waitress named Maria Benavidez in San Antonio, Texas was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after she done lost her temper and threw a meat cleaver at her boss hitting him in the head so hard that he needed six stitches to sew that shit up. Her bail was set at $30,000. Damn. If she makes $75 a shift, she has to pick up 400 extra ones just to pay for that. According to the news report, she was upset that her boss was cutting her hours. She was also upset because she opened an envelope containing a paycheck belonging to the victim's stepson, who also works there. I'm not quite sure what that means. Why was she opening that? Maybe to see how much he was getting paid? And then when she saw how much money he had she was like, "Oh I am so mad I am going to throw a meat cleaver at somebody!" I dunno. The story says she was asked to leave by the boss and when she didn't the police were called and that's when kitchen utensils started flying.

I can understand Maria's feelings. Sometimes we need to take out our frustrations somehow and she obviously didn't have access to some champagne. Once again, we see the dangers of not having a steady supply of bubbly on hand for emergencies just like this. It could have been so different:

Boss: Uh, Maria, are you opening my step-kid's paycheck?
Maria: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought it was mine. Oops! How silly of me. I don't know what I was thinking.
Boss: Well, stop it. And by the way, I am going to take away one of your shifts. Starting tomorrow, you only work twelve shifts a week and not thirteen. I am giving my step-kid your Monday lunch shift. Sorry.
Maria: What the hell? Are you kidding me? My Monday lunch shift pays for my weekly supply of Rose's Lime juice, asshole. How am I supposed to make that money up?
Boss: Well, maybe you can get a part-time job down the street at The Alamo. I hear they need tour guides and they pay you in cash and corn tortillas.
Maria: Oh no you din't. What, you just think because my last name is of Hispanic origin that I want to be paid in corn tortillas?
Boss: No, I was just kidding. Chill out. Haven't you ever seen the Pee Wee Herman movie where he goes on the tour of the Alamo? Pedro and Inez? C'mon, Maria. It was a joke. And plus The Bitchy Waiter was desperate to fit that scene into this blog post simply because this is happening in San Antonio.
Maria: That is not funny. I am so freakin' pissed off right now that I could throw a goddamn meat cleaver at your head!
Boss: Well, how about I give you some champagne in a coffee cup and we call it a day?
Maria: Really? Okay, that sounds swell. Thanks!

You see? Champagne always saves the day. Hopefully things will work out for Maria. Davy Crockett would not approve of using meat cleavers to solve our work problems. Sam Houston would want you to drink champagne and work things out. Santa Anna would totally want you to throw a meat cleaver at your boss's head. I guess we all have to do what is right for us. And a personal thanks to my seventh grade Texas History teacher, Mr. Moses for teaching me who the hell the main players were in the fight for Texas Independence. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a coffee cup of champagne that has my name on it. Remember the Alamo, bitches.

(By the way, go here and tell them that they need to have the Bitchy Waiter on their television show. Thanks.)

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CBS Needs Some Bitchy Waiter

It has been brought to my attention that CBS Sunday Morning is looking for waiter stories and you know my attention-whore ass wants to get a piece of that spotlight so I need your help. They have a Facebook page where you can submit suggestions so you can always go here and say, "Oooh, girl, you'd better call The Bitchy Waiter 'cause he has the best stories ever. And his hair is all curly and shit and would look great on the television." My plan of gripe for this proposed television appearance is to discuss the people who don't know what the hell a menu is for. You know how freakin' annoying it is when someone sits in your station and doesn't bother to open the menu and says, "Can I get some cheese sticks right away? I'm starving." We don't have cheese sticks, Bertha Mae Mae.

They also have an email address where you can drop them a line about someone you think would be good for the show. So you could always click this link and say something like, "My stars, have you heard about The Bitchy Waiter? Well, I do declare he would be just perfect for your segment on waiters and their pet peeves. He's such a nice young man too. Such a dear."

It seems like only yesterday that I was doing the Dr. Phil show and basking in the spotlight of mid to low level fame and I want more of it. I hope you can take a second out of your busy day of playing Farmville and reading D-Listed and either go to their
Facebook page or email them on my behalf.

I thank you.

The Bitchy Waiter

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Story of the Sad Man at Table 16

On my first day back to waiting tables after three weeks of no apron, I was welcomed back to work by one of my regulars. It was a family of four; mom, dad and two horribly misbehaving children who are holy terrors of evil. Seriously, they were my first table. What a way to start my foray back into the land of serving. When they come into the restaurant, it's like a hurricane made love to a tornado and then birthed an earthquake that came popping out of a volcano followed by a mudslide placenta. It's a disaster. As they scan the restaurant for a table, any customers sitting next to empty ones cower in fear that they will be the ones forced to finish their meal next to the band of brats. The family chose a booth. In my station. And so it began.

As soon as they sat down, mom and dad grabbed all the electric candles from surrounding tables so the kids had something to play with. I've discussed it before, but I think it's really poor parental judgement to let children play with electric candles. Their immature and mushy brains may not recognize the difference the next time they go to a restaurant that has real candles with flames. It is a recipe for disaster if you ask me, but nobody asked me and I am certainly not one to give unsolicited advice. But I'm right, right? How is a three year old supposed to know that some candles are for playing with and some candles aren't? Anyhoo, the kids were throwing the candles around, banging their cups on the table, screaming like howler monkeys in heat trying to cough up hairballs, dropping crap on the floor, and in general being a public nuisance and a big fat pain in my little ass. And then I caught a look of the father's eyes. They were glazed over with saddness. His second cup of coffee had done nothing to make him more alert and the situation seemed to be a desperate one for him. For me, this was going to last thirty minutes tops, but Dad was looking at the next 18 years of his life and it was depressing the hell out of him. I took a class in mind reading at the Learning Annex a few years ago. Madame Buluga taught me a few things so I delved into his thoughts and this is what I read:

Damn, this night sucks. I wonder if anyone would notice if I said I was going to the bathroom and instead just got on the 7 train to Grand Central and hopped a train and never came back. I have about $1200 worth of credit on my Master Card and I could get as far away as possible. Maybe change my name and get a haircut and grow a beard so no one will recognize me. I could get a nice simple job as a stocker on the overnight shift at a Wal-Mart in Topeka and live happily ever after. These kids are crazy. Why don't they behave? Oh, wait I know why; because all I do is ignore them and they have no concept of how to behave in public, that's why. And look at my wife. She looks just as pissed off as I am. Maybe she'd like to come with me to Topeka? Naah, then who'd take care of the kids? I'll leave her too, whatever. God dammit, why didn't I wear a condom three years ago? I had them. I was just too caught up in the moment to get it from the night stand. She was even telling me to put one on and I was all, "It's okay girl, I love you. Let's make a baby together." Famous last words, that's for sure. And then again two years later. She was telling me to put a goddamn rubber on and I was all, 'It's okay, baby. I love you so much. Let's give Jr. a little brother or sister. Lemme just do that for you. I wanna make another baby, baby." God, what a load of shit. If I don't get on the 7 train tonight and escape this hell, I will go get a fucking vasectomy right after we leave this restaurant. I will pay the check and go over to Snips R Us and get that shit taken care of. No more kids. And even then, I will never not wear a condom again. Ever. These kids are awful. "Hate" is a really strong word but "despise" might work. I despise my kids. Hey look at our waiter. Didn't I see him on Dr. Phil? Look at how friendly he is to his tables and so professional. His hair is amazing too. I wish I was him, not a care in the world I bet. His life is perfect. Mine sucks. You know who is hot? That chick from The View, what's her name? The red head? Joy Behar, I think. She's hot. Man, I'd love to show up at her place with some Fig Newtons and-

I lost the train of thought when he was hit on the side of his head by a coloring book that his daughter threw at him but it was just as well because I really didn't want to see where he was going with that Joy Behar thought. I gave them the check and they rounded up the kids and headed home. Hopefully he followed through on his plan to get his old boys dried out. It would be a service to himself, his wife, the restaurant industry and the world if he could assure us that he will bring no more screeching howler monkeys into existence. They come to the restaurant once a week and I'm almost willing to chip in for it. I really don't like them. They give me a headache, which is what the wife should say the next time he wants to make a baby with her.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

An Order of Milk With a Side of Boob

Recently at the restaurant I had a lovely young mother come in with her adorable son. It was just the two of them on a "date night" and they were both very sweet. She specifically asked to sit out of the way of everyone which I assumed was because she had a rather large stroller as new moms are apt to have. I gave her a two-top at the front of the restaurant and handed her a menu. "I'll give you a chance to settle in and be back in a minute to get you whatever you'd like," I said. At this point the baby was just waking up in his stroller and she said, "Better give me a few minutes. Somebody just woke up and he's gonna be hungry." "No problem," I told her.

About five minutes later she called me over. She was now holding the baby in her arms and ready to place the order. The little boy was less than a year old. He had sleepy little eyes and full head of bushy brown hair and cute little hands that were grasping at whatever they could find. "I'll have the mac and cheese and then the salmon," Mom ordered. "And water is fine." She didn't seem to notice that the the little boy's hands were creeping into her blouse but it was obvious to me. This kid was feeling up his own motherright in front of me. That baby totally got to second base while I was taking an order. I smiled and went on my way.

When the mac and cheese was ready, I placed it on a tray and headed over to table 5. I was not prepared for what I saw. The baby was having his dinner and it was courtesy of a big right titty that was hanging out of young mother's shirt. There was a feeding frenzy going on over there. It was a milk buffet. Cafe con leche con boobie. It was like a National Geographic special happening. I don't have a lot of experience with the bosoms other than some close encounters of the drunk kind after too many California Coolers in the 80's. (Hi, Laurie, say hi to your husband for me. How are the kids?) Even though my knowledge of the breasticles is limited, I am pretty sure that letting one hang out in the middle of a restaurant so you can feed your kid as I am innocently trying to place a bowl of macaroni and cheese is inappropriate. We don't have a nursing station just like we don't have a changing table. Where else was she supposed to do it? I don't know, but I really didn't feel it was right.

"Here is your mac and cheese. Is there anything else you might need right now?" I asked. "Like a sheet, partition or a separate room?" I thought. "Or maybe a box of blindfolds for all of us who are not accustomed to seeing breasts while at our jobs?" I averted my eyes and backed away from the table. "There's nothing to see over here, folks, nothing at all. Do not look at table five, I repeat, DO NOT look at table five," I heard the voice in my head screaming.

By the time the salmon was ready, the little boy was just as full as mom was from her appetizer. The rest of the service continued sans boobs. She left me a great tip and was completely friendly. I know that breast-feeding is totally natural and I am in no way against it. I can appreciate it as long as I have consumed a four pack of California Coolers and Laurie is just as trashed as I am and laying on my bed circa 1985. But I question the appropriateness of the action in a restaurant without one of those shield thingies. I may be old-school, but if she didn't bring enough for everybody, then maybe she shouldn't have brought it at all.

Here is my question to you: was it right or wrong for her to nurse at a table in a restaurant? Yes, she was at a table away from everyone else but there was a table directly next to her that could have been sat. No, we do not have a place for nursing moms to have some privacy. Yes, boobies make me nervous whether they have a baby hanging off of it or not. No, I was not about to ask her to stop because I am not stupid. But I want to know what you think about the situation. Please share your thoughts. And before you jump all over me, please remember I am not against it. I was just surprised, that's all. And great. Now I totally want cereal.

You can read the follow up to this post here.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

I have felt naked for the last three weeks. It's as if I were missing a part of myself and everyone knew something was wrong with me. I was not whole. Well last night I became complete again because after three weeks of not waiting tables I tied on the apron and got back to work. As I positioned that black polyester piece of fabric with the perfectly placed pockets, everything seemed to make sense again. It was like I had clicked my heels together and been transported to a familiar and happy place called home. The sky was bluer, the birds were louder, and the glass of Chardonnay I had hidden in the drawer where we keep the paper towels seemed to taste even better than usual. I was a waiter again!

For the last three weeks, I have been training at another job so I took some time away from the service industry to focus on my new career which has no trays or aprons involved. The new job is great but I can't tell you how many times I have reached down to a non-existent apron to grab a pen. I may have to start wearing one at the new job because people need to learn how handy they are. When I wait tables, my apron has the following in it at any given time:
  • pens
  • wine key
  • pad of paper
  • spare change
  • cell phone
  • tissue and napkins
  • lighter
  • Trail Mix
  • Justin Bieber
  • notes for the blog
  • a copy of Catcher in the Rye for when it gets slow
  • gum
  • mints
  • several corks that I am saving to make one of these
  • and Play-Doh (don't ask...)
At the new job, I have no apron. I keep a pen in my ponytail, gum in my pocket and my cell phone in my locker. It's difficult to do without my stuff, but I persevere. It's just one of the things I have to get used to not being a waiter all the time. One thing that is totally inconvenient at the new job is the tray that is permanently affixed to my left hand. It's very handy at the restaurant but a real nuisance anywhere else. My mom was right; I never should have had that surgically added, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Last night I realized that I missed being a waiter. It was nice to interact with customers again. When the lady at table 21 asked me if she was ever going to get to place her drink order, I was happy to tell her that she wasn't in my station but Jasmine would be right with her. Two minutes later when I walked past the lady again and she sarcastically asked me, "Are you Jasmine?" the urge to burn her eyebrows off wasn't even that strong. I simply smiled and told her, "No ma'am, I'm not Jasmine."

When table 35 called me over during the show to tell me something, I was eager to go hear what he had to say. "Would you tell those ladies at that table back there to shut the hell up?" he told me. "Yes sir," I replied and went right over to the two women. I didn't tell them to shut up though because that would affect my tip. I just asked them if they needed anything and they quieted down. The man at table 35 assumed I told them to shut the hell up, but I am a professional and know how to appease two tables at once.

When table 27 stiffed me on $84 because they thought the tip was included, I didn't mind. "Oh well," I thought. "I'm sure it was an honest mistake. Maybe next time they will tip better." They had also told me that they were coming back next week to see another show so I took a mental note to remember to not bust my hump if they happen to sit in my station.

Yes, it was good to be home again. There was a smile on my face, a pep in my step and a second glass of Chardonnay hidden on the shelf behind the coffee filters. Maybe waiting tables isn't so bad. Could it be that I like it? Could it be that serving people makes me feel good? Possibly. When I punched out and was stumbling towards the F train (thanks to the third glass of Chardonnay I had in a paper cup with a lid and a straw so it looked like I was drinking ginger ale and I was able to leave it in plain sight right next to the credit card machine), I realized what I liked about waiting tables. I had $91 in my pocket for an easy four hour shift and I had a damn good buzz that I didn't have to pay for.

I am a waiter and there's no place like home!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dr. Phil Jack-o-Lantern

The air is crisp and cool, the leaves are turning brown and all the patio furniture is getting dragged down to the basement meaning only one thing: fall is here. A lot of people love the arrival of autumn because they get to wear their favorite sweaters and make soups and stews again but for me fall just means that old man winter is right around the corner. The only old man I detest more than winter is the one who used to come into the Black Eyed Pea and do word searches all day while nursing a cup of coffee and making poopy bubbles in his old man drawers. One good thing about this season is the chance to put on a costume for Halloween. After that, it's five to six months of putting on long underwear, gloves, coats and scarves every time you step foot outside your house.

Someone recently sent me a link on how to make a jack-o-lantern with the face of Dr. Phil and seeing that I am super amazing best friends with Dr. Phil, of course I totally plan on doing this. Would his face be my first choice to carve into a pumpkin? No, it would probably be Carol or Marcia Brady, Flo or Benjamin Franklin but since I am so close to Dr. Phil, it is his face I shall use. Wait, maybe I can use Linda Lavin or Shirley from What's Happening. Or perhaps Angela Lansbury or one of the Golden Girls. Or maybe it doesn't have to be a face. It could be words of advice, like a fortune pumpkin: Man who tips big gets big reward. Man who tips little gets written about on a blog. Yes, that is what my pumpkin will be and I will carry it around with me at work. Oh, but it would be too heavy and throw the balance off my tray. Hmm, better go back to the face of Dr. Phil. After all, I owe it to Dr. Phil for giving me a national platform to speak my mind, so Dr. Phil it shall be! But wait, I want something scary on my pumpkin and Dr. Phil may be intimidating, but he's not scary. What face can I use that will be both scary and representational of Dr. Phil? I got it! Processed Chicken Lady:

Naahh, not her. I know she doesn't like processed chicken, but she may have an aversion to gourds as well and I certainly wouldn't want to make her uncomfortable. I'll use Dr. Phil's face but I will put it in front of speaker with scary sound effects and him saying "How's that workin' out for ya?" on a loop. Now that would be scary. So today after work, I will go to the store and buy a pumpkin and all my supplies and then come home and download all the instructions. I will do this right after I make myself a pumpkin martini. How do you make a pumpkin martini? Hmm, I probably need pumpkin vodka, but I already have regular, Citron and Blueberry so maybe I will just make a cocktail with one of those instead. Yeah, that'll be easier. I need easy. In fact, the very thought of carving a pumpkin to look like Dr. Phil seems to be way above my comfort level when it comes to cutting with a big sharp knife. Maybe I will just buy one of those little baby pumpkins and draw on it with a Sharpie. Then I can focus my attention on the important things; my cocktails. So yeah. That's what I'll do tonight. I will draw a face on a baby pumpkin with a Sharpie and drink cocktails until I feel like this:

Click here to learn all about the Dr. Phil jack-o-lantern! Tonight is my first night back to waiting tables after three blessed weeks without wearing an apron. Wish me luck. And please "like" this so the world can know about this amazing idea of the Dr. Phil Pumpkin Face.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Take a Chance on Me

You know that I love my martinis and when I find a place that I like, I feel it is my duty to pass that info to others. I took a journey out to Brooklyn yesterday which is quite the trek when you consider I started in Queens and the MTA is a big hot mess that holds New Yorkers hostage. You never know what you're going to get when you swipe that Metro Card at the turnstile and get on the 7 train. My reward for braving the subway system was sweet though, for I came across a restaurant in Brooklyn called Chance. Please do not ask me what the food was like because once I saw their happy hour, I was mesmerized:

Could it be? Four dollar martinis, mojitos and margaritas all day Monday through Thursday? How is this possible? How have I not already set up a tent in the middle of their dining room and declared it my home? How have I not already started earning squatters rights so they can never kick me out? How is that we were the only people at the bar? I sat down and wiped the drool from my chin and tried to control my shaking hands as I held the menu imagining how far I could go with just twenty dollars.

Our bartender was named Jen and she happily made us a round of coconut cosmos. They were a little sweet for my taste but the four dollar price tag made them taste like nectar dripping from a golden flower of paradise onto a rainbow where it slid down onto the horn of a unicorn that was being ridden by Rainbow Brite as she sang an ABBA song. Yeah, I liked it. For my next round I went the pomegranate margarita route because it was clear that I would be drinking my dinner that evening and I needed the vitamins and anti-oxidants that would be present in the juice. To be honest, I don't really know what health benefits there are in pomegranate juice, but I like the idea that it's good for me. The margarita was made in a tall glass with a lot of ice and served with a smile.

By this point, I was a Chatty Cathy and started yucking it up with Jen. We began discussing Halloween costumes and how she needed to find something that was fun but also easy to be at work in since she would be serving up $4.00 drinks on Halloween night. She was leaning towards "sexy zombie hippie" which covers pretty much every base out there for a costume these days, but as we started getting more into it, we came up with additional ideas. You should go there on Halloween and see if she follows up on Sexy Zombie Ginger Grant from Gilligan's Island or Bitter Grown Up Lil' Orphan Annie. Either one will be brilliant as long as she puts enough vodka and/or tequila in the drinks that night.

We stayed a for a while until it was deemed necessary that food go into the stomach to soak up some of the liquor. Sure, I could have eaten there, but the fresh Autumn air was calling me and it was going to be nice to walk a bit and let the vodka and tequila move around. I told Jen to check out the blog, but I doubt she will. She will probably be too busy putting together her Halloween costume and won't have the the time to read this. (Give me a sign if you're here, Jen!)

Go check out Chance in Cobble Hill Brooklyn. C'mon, it's four freakin' dollars for drinks. How can you resist that temptation? When you get there, ask if the bartender is named Jen and if it's her, tell her Bitchy Waiter said hello. She more than likely will be like, "Um, what are you talking about? Oh, that drunk guy with the hair that looked like a Brillo pad and wouldn't shut the fuck up about Halloween? You know him? Get the hell out of here right now." And then you will just have to say, "Oh, I mean can I have a $4.00 martini please? You're pretty."

And if you thought this was going to be about ABBA, you can go here.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Bitchy Waiter Meets Some Broadway Babies

I met some famous people a few nights ago and believe it or not I wasn't handing them a fucking plate of food when it happened. I went to see a great big Broadway show called Follies. It's kinda brilliant if you're a big fan of any of the following things: musicals, Stephen Sondheim or gayness. Through out the show I was holding back tears of joy because that's how I am; I cry at good theater. If you don't believe me you can ask the cast of the 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret who witnessed me have a mini breakdown due to the severe nature of amazingness that was happening on stage. Anyhoo, after Follies, some strings were pulled and we were ushered backstage to meet two of its stars, Jan Maxwell and Bernadette Peters. Now before you ask "what the hell does this have to do with Bitchy Waiter and food service?" just wait a goddamn minute.

We went to the stage door and began waiting for the girls upstairs. Once we made it past the doorman at the Marquis Theater (and by the way, a shout out to John who watches the door over at The Addams Family who I am told reads this blog in his spare time), we were whisked into the dressing room of one Jan Maxwell. If you don't know her, please learn about her. I ordinarily find that going backstage after a show is very awkward and uncomfortable but seeing it was my friend's birthday and it needed to be special, the strings were pulled. Ms. Maxwell made being backstage a completely comfortable situation. Gracious, kind, congenial, lovely, talented, sincere and fucking cool are all words that come to mind when describing this woman. The next thing we knew we were talking about The Bitchy Waiter and I swear on a stack of ketchup-covered menus that it was not me who brought it up. "So tell me about this Bitchy Waiter," she said as I began losing my mind that she was even talking to me. I explained what it was in a few succinct sentences, but in my head, this is what was happening:

Oh my God you were so amazing in the show and can I just tell you how much I loved your performance because I have only heard the cast recording and I never really knew what the full story was about but now I do and you made that happen for me because you are so good and I also want you to know that you were the only thing I liked when I saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on Broadway because I thought that show was really really weak but every time you came on stage you lit it up just like you did tonight in every scene and especially in your songs Could I Leave You? and The Story of Lucy and Jessie and I wanna be your best friend and have cocktails at Lani Kai every Monday. Do you think we can make that happen?

Instead, I played it cool and told her that I write about waiting tables. "I waited tables," she said "but I was fired every time. I was horrible at it." So now Jan Maxwell and I had an instant and real connection because we had both been fired from restaurant jobs. (Yes, that counts as a real connection.) She chatted for about ten minutes and then we excused ourselves so she could go on with her night. She shook our hands and I asked her to please check out my blog. Yes, even when starstruck, I am pimping out my fucking blog.

We moved into the hallway to see what we should do next. Go home, get out, go to the stage, what? All of a sudden, who's that woman? I know her well, all decked out head to toe. Bernadette Peters floated over to us on a cloud of musical theater dreams, curls and Tony Awards. I wanted to embrace her Milky Whites (for you, Larry) just to see if she was real. She signed Larry the Birthday Boy's program and then let us adore her for a few minutes. It really was quite surreal to be having a conversation with someone I have known of for decades and only seen on television, film and stage. She too shook our hands and thanked us for coming. I did not learn if she ever waited tables and I did not mention the blog because I was too busy grasping for air since all of the oxygen was sucked out of the room when she came in. She was friendly and sweet to take time out to meet with us.

After we left the theater, we were all in need of a celebratory cocktail. My brain was spinning with excitement not only from meeting two musical theater superstars, but also because the production itself was so wonderful. If you're in or around New York City, you should see Follies. And if you go backstage, tell Jan and Bernadette that Bitchy Waiter said hello. They won't know what the hell you're talking about, but say it anyway. As I sipped my margarita I found myself dreaming of the great day when I'll be in a show. Oh.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Betty, Please, There's a New Girl in Town!

Today is October 15th. Or at least it is as I start typing at 11:45 PM on Saturday night. By the time I finish typing, it will be tomorrow but right now I am speaking of October 15th. It is the birthday of two very different women who have influenced me my whole life and nurtured me to be the kind, caring soul that I am today. One of these fine ladies gave me my sense of humor which some say is dry while others say is witty while still others say is completely non-existent. (I'm looking at you, Anonymous.) The other women gave me sense of drive and passion to put on an apron several times a week along with some sensible shoes and sling hash to make a living. Today is the birthday of both Penny Marshall and Linda Lavin, or as I know them, Laverne DeFazio and Alice Hyatt:

How is it that one simple day can produce two such iconic women of television? They weren't born in the same year, but still. The only way this day could have been any grander was if it was the birthday of Florence Henderson, but her birthday is February 14 making her not only my Valentine, but everyone else's too. Anyhoo, Penny Marshall used to make me laugh out loud on Tuesday nights when I would watch Laverne and Shirley with my two brothers. My favorite moment on the show was when the girls were were working in a diner. I don't rememeber why but it must have been because of a strike at the Shotz Brewery or something. Laverne was the fry cook and Shirley was the waitress. Anyone who has ever worked in a restaurant can watch this scene and recognize how quickly you can go from being in the zone to being in the weeds. Happy birthday, Penny Marshall:

And then we have Linda Lavin who the world knows as Alice. It's no secret that I have a major hankering for her co-waitress Flo, but let's give Alice some love. There she was stuck in Phoenix, Arizona because her station wagon broke down on the freeway on her way to Hollywood to become a star. But instead of getting her car repaired and continuing onward with her dream, she got a job as a waitress at Mel's Diner and stayed for nine years. Isn't that how it happens to so many of us who spend years and years with a tray in our hands? We're all, "I'm an actor who waits tables" or "I'm a writer who waits tables" and before you know it life is looking at you saying, 'Uh, you're a waiter, dude and I want my burger cooked medium-well." Bravo to Alice for showing us all what it's like to give up on your dream of singing and learn to accept the important things in life: your teen-age son, your friends, your job, and that stupid postman named Henry who always complains that Mel's cooking is so bad but comes in every goddamn day anyway. Happy birthday, Linda Lavin:

I know that by the time you read this, it will be October 16th and it will now be the birthday of other amazing women like Suzanne Somers and Angela Lansbury. Yes, it is true, both of these grand dames were born on October 16th. Is October like the coolest month for birthdays ever, or what? Happy birthday to Suzanne here and to Angela here. I must rest. All the awesomeness of these cool ladies is too much for my weary fingers tips.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Comment on Comments

A comment reached out and poked me in the eye today and I am going to poke that bitch right back. Although I have been working my flat ass off for the last couple of weeks learning a new job leaving me precious little time to write, some comments are bold enough to pull me to the keyboard and respond. In this post about a waitress I had who may or may not have had an eye missing, someone wrote:

Before I clicked the link, I was honestly about to email you and offer a place to stay in the Annapolis area should you be back again. I clicked the link to see where you ate and was sadly disappointed at this ignorant post. She should cover her eye because you're uncomfortable. You freakin' faggot. And, yes, I am also family but you deserve to be called an ugly, horrible name for this insensitive post. Fuck you and your blog. I hope you lose a leg which would mean no waiting tables, you sorry fuck.

Ouch. The post about the possibly-one-eyed waitress was admittedly mean and it was brought to my attention by other readers after I posted it. I reread it the day after and thought, "Man, I am one big asshole. It's a good thing this blog isn't called Sentimental Sally Sweetly Waits Tables." I didn't delete it though, because I don't do that. Once it's up, it's up. And then a year later this guy has to comment and make me relive the horror of when I made fun of a waitress who may or may not have had one eye missing. I guess the worst thing about this comment is realizing that the next time I go to Annapolis, I won't be able to stay with this complete stranger who was very close to emailing me and offering me a place to stay. Darn. You mean I can't stay with you and sleep in the bunker you built underneath your house with walls covered in pictures of Jodi Foster, Silence of the Lambs and dirty aprons? Shoot, darn! And not only do I no longer have a place to stay (other than a hotel, bed and breakfast or with the people I know who live there) now he wants me to lose a leg too? Harsh, indeed. And from family, too!

I always like it when people tell me how insensitive and rude I am by being insensitive and rude. It makes it mean so so much more. And if I were to lose a leg, I would totally keep waiting tables. I would hobble my ass over to table 3 and show them that I am not handicapped. I would be handi-capable! And if crutches were not working for me, I would get a mobility scooter and prove that you don't have to have legs to be the best goddamn waiter you can be! I would become master of the pity tip.

Thank you for your comment. I'm sorry that it offended you and please accept this most sincere apology, crazy stalker type. Take care. And good luck with your one eye.

The Bitchy Waiter

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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Story of Horse Face

Hey, maybe you have noticed that I have not been posting. It makes me feel horrible that I may be disappointing the bakers dozen of readers I have but, there's a reason for that. I got a new job and the training has been intense-40 hours a week for three weeks. At first I was getting up early to write, but my lazy body soon rejected that idea and the snooze button became my new best friend right after tequila, vodka and Marcia Brady. Soon, I will have new posts again. You can look forward to stories about hamburgers, Bernadette Peters and how my manager at work found out I was on Dr. Phil. In the meantime, you can read this post about a woman I liked to refer to as Horse Face because she had a horse face. It's mean of me to say that, but I'm the Bitchy Waiter and this lady had a true and remarkably face of horse. ~BW

It has been way too long since I have just let loose on some annoying ass bitch of a woman who sat in my station. Enough with the Dear Bitchy Waiter, Frazzled Stay at Home Mom and Ricki Lake stories, already. I need to vent about this lady last night who crawled up my ass and gave me a severe case of pruritus ani.

The show I was working was pretty much sold out, so we were crazy busy. I had a five top of women in their sixties who all seemed pleasant enough with the exception of the one bitch on the end who must have not been laid since the repeal of prohibition. She was so tightly wound that her face was all scrunched up in a permanent scowl with lips pursed and brow furrowed. At the end of the night, they gave me three credit cards and wanted $62 put on one of them and then the balance divided among the other two. No problem. I took them to the computer and divided it up but in my haste, I made an error in division which made the two cards have unequal amounts on them. I didn't understand why but I returned them to the table. At first, I thought that it had not balanced out because sometimes people ask me to put a certain amount on three cards but they have included the tips in that total and then the computer won't let me initially charge more than the original total. So I was trying to explain this to them, but they didn't get. Not only because it's a confusing situation to explain, but because that was not what they had done and I had just made an error, still unbeknownst to me. I told them I would be right back to explain it after I dropped off some other checks. It was then that I figured out what I had done. Tightly wound up bitch was getting all bent out of shape and steam started to shoot out of her ear holes. I ran back to the table and admitted my mistake. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I figured it out. I just put in the wrong total and it's totally my fault. The credit receipts have not been finalized so just tear them up, I will void them from the computer and if you give me your cards again, I will run them correctly." I was completely honest about it being my fuck up and it wasn't even that big a deal, but ol' Bitch Face was like, "What? Now, I have to give you my card again? Why, why why? I already gave it to you!" One of her friends tried to calm her down by telling her to chill out. I thought she should try rubbing her nose like they do a horse when it's stressed out. I figured since she had a horse face, why not?

I got back to their table about a whole two minutes later, but Horse Face acted like I had traveled through three different time zones. As soon as I got back to the table she whinnied at me that she needed to leave. It must have been time for her feeding and there was a pile of hay somewhere with her name on it. "Okay," I responded. I just need you to sign the slip." She shook her tail to swat at a fly that wasn't there and said "I really need to go." A friend of hers explained that I needed her to sign again before she galloped off but she protested "why, why, why?" I had had it. I went up to her long face and said:

Did I ruin your night? Did I just ruin your night? Did you just sit through an hour and a half show with an amazing performer, have a wonderful time and then I made a simple error on your credit card that I fixed and now you're going to let that ruin your whole evening? Don't let this ruin your night. Just sign the receipt and everything will be fine.

Her four friends backed me up by saying:

"Yeah, it's okay Seabiscuit."
"Relax, Black Beauty."
"What's the big deal, Secretariat?"
"Take a chill pill, you horse faced bitch of a whore. I hate going out with you. You're such a pain in my ass. Tell your jockey to ride your ass home and then eat a carrot and a sugar cube and shut the hell up." (I may have paraphrased a bit...)

Horse face eked out a half smile because I had made her realize what a petty fucking bitch she was being and if she continued to act like she had a riding crop up her ass, then she would look like an even bigger horsey bitch. She smiled, and said, "No, you didn't ruin my night." I smiled back (except mine was fake) and lied that I was glad that her night wasn't ruined. I jabbed the spur of my cowboy boot into her side and she shook her head and trotted off towards the exit. As her friends followed behind her, they each gave me a look of apology with a glint of gratitude for putting up with their friend Flicka.

Do me a favor and click "like" so this can be shared. It's just a simple click. Are you lazier than I am?

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Horror/Whore Stories

I don't do this very often, but I am actually promoting someone else for a freakin' change. Hopefully karma will come around and someone will promote me too. Honestly, what does a bitchy waiter have to do to get some promotion other than the the self kind? is having a contest and they are offering a $100 gift card from Amazon. Their prize is much better than my broke down shitty ass $25 gift card I gave away for my contest. (Thanks, for making me look like a cheap bitch, but I will promote you anyway because I am cool like that.) You can go here for all the details. Basically, they are looking for horror stories that happened in your restaurant. And just to clarify, it's horror stories not whore stories so don't be writing some cute little vignette about that chick with the cold sore who gives blow jobs out by the dumpster for $10. Well, actually, that is a horror story in itself, so do whatever you want. It's not my contest...

If you send a story in (and you totally should, but good luck because you know my poor ass is already composing something) you might want to mention that you heard about it from The Bitchy Waiter. That way, they'll know that I really tried to help them out a bit and maybe they will throw me some appreciation in the form of a gift card to (I can't believe you clicked that...)

So there you have it. Someone else is having a contest. I may be having another of my own soon. I am thinking of a photo contest asking people to send in pictures that happen at work; the more daring the picture the better. Like a picture of that annoying fat ass who shows up one minute before closing. Or a picture of the mess left at table 17 by the ugly baby with the dent in his head when he "ate" crackers. You get the idea? But that's another contest.


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Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Comment on Comments

Last year I wrote a blog post regarding Cracker Barrel. It was a positive , upbeat, praise-my-waitress kind of post so who in the world would take issue with it? I'll tell you who: my arch nemesis (other than Reichen), Anonymous. Observe:

first off, you're an idiot. i work at Cracker Barrel and the stars DO NOT signify how many years you've been employed and you are a LIAR because you have NEVER seen 7 stars ANYWHERE. The highest you can achieve is FOUR!!! and that is based on your level of numbers you produce per hour for the store you work in!!! Don't talk about stuff you don't know about.

Ouch, Anonymous, why so harsh? i must commend Anonymous on her spelling and punctuation while her use of capitals needs some polishing. i stand corrected. The stars DO NOT represent the number of years the waitress has worked there!!! i guess i did not actually see a waitress with seven stars then. Maybe i dreamed it in the most perfect dream ever where i was sitting on a pile of biscuits next to a maple syrup waterfall while a waitress made of bacon fed me cheesy hash browns with a fork made of BUTTER!!! Thank you for the clarification, Anonymous, but here's my beef. Why the hell are you so upset about it? Chill the hell out, lady. i understand the level of pride you must have for the Barrel of Cracker for i too would be bursting at the seams with pride if i got to wear one of those brown polyester apron with the yellow embroidered STARS!!! i truly am a liar, liar pants on fire, hang it on a wire, liar asshole face. i totally deserve the scolding from you. How dare i misrepresent what the STARS mean at CRACKER BARREL!! i will no longer talk about stuff i don't know, i promise. (That is another lie, by the way).

Good luck, Anonymous and thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to clarify the whole star ISSUE. Many a sleepless night has passed with me in bed pondering if the blog post i wrote over a year ago was accurate or not. i sure do appreciate YOUR comment. Thank you. i mean, THANK YOU!!!

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