I’m a mediocre waitress at best. Handling 48 task at once is not my forte. I max out around 13. I have horrible anxiety. And if things are not highly organized where I work, I tend to flip out quite easily when task 14 gets piled on.
“Mam, can we get four straws?”
“Miss, do you have ground cinnamon?”
“Ummmm…. let me check.”
“I just want water, but can I have 14 lemons and two limes, oh, and do you have rosemary sprigs? Maybe some finely diced jalapenos?”
I start to sweat… “Ummm… it’ll be just a minute, you want that all for your… water?”
“Hi, welcome to…”
“Hi! We’d like to start with that tableside guacamole, oh, and can we get water with no ice and chips, but just the sweet potato ones?”
“You mean, like the ones sitting in front of you?”
“Well, these are kinda soggy, can we get a fresh bowl?”
“Miss, can sweet max get another apple juice?”
You know damn well you had to search two walk ins and the waiters fridge and only found one thing of apple juice, which you have already given sweet Max. but you silently pray to the apple juice God’s as you nod up and down hoping the bar tenders have a spare. Also, would it be so much to ask if ANY of the places I have waited tables could have kids cups? Like, in stock? Kids cups are like Easter eggs. They come around once a year and when they’re gone, they’re gone. They might even skip a year. I’ve NEVER worked at a restaurant with an endless supply of kids cups. That’s a fucking unicorn right there. You are forever looking for regular to go cups, or if you’re out of those, coffee cups. And the lids NEVER fit. EVER. And when sweet Max or Billy ask for apple juice, I just want to cry.
“Hi, we were ready to order. Now these two cheese enchiladas, could I make one of those steak and one a chile rellano?”
“You mean like the chicken enchilada and pork rellano, you want to sub steak for chicken?”
“No, I was looking at these blue corn enchiladas, you know, I had these one time in Santa Fe, gosh Pete, what was the name of that restaurant, it wasn’t on the square but about a block south and two blocks east… miss have you ever been to Santa Fe? It’s beautiful there, well, if you like that kind of landscape… very…”
“I have!” I say smiling widely while trying to convey that I have 14 other tables who all need rosemary sprigs and water with no ice and ground cinnamon and non soggy sweet potato chips… “LOVE Adobe! La Fonda hotel, great enchiladas, and yes, that place off the square with the blue corn enchiladas and hatch chilies, the name escapes me too now, gosh, wish I had time to Google it. Maybe on my lunch break, hahaha, oh that’s right, I just serve other people lunch. Now, were you wanting a pork or cheese rellano, and steak enchilada? Red or Green sauce? I like them both! Steak, hmm, that’s a toss up, I’d say red. Is that what you want? Let me just run turn this in real quick and I’ll be right back with that extra glass of ice for your tea.”
As I run out of my section like Linsey Lohan trying to escape the papparazi at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 2004. I approach the one working computer that prints. Because, you know, out of four computers and three printers, why would all be working? I mean, that would be… helpful. As I pull out my phone to divide the check in two, but then add the guacamole to the couple who is splitting there half of the half… this bitch of a waitress reaches around me and hits quit and quickly enters her number and says she’s, “in a hurry.”
I’m newish, so I kinda, bitch laugh, and say, “OH-KAY, because I’M NOT.” Then she enters her number again and it took everything in me not to fucking deck her in the bar.
“Excuse me, hi, I know I’m kinda new, hence, in the weeds, and if you could NOT QUIT MY SCREEN and then enter your number twice, I’d REALLY FUCKING APPRECIATE IT.”
She looks at me explaining she has a “regular job” and this is her “weekend gig” and did I know Dallas pays ten grand more a year for HR? Really thirteen?
And it took everything in me to just enter my number and say, “Neato.” And not tell her that I had a six figure income in the oil and gas business where her little piss ant salary was something I made in a quarter.
Because I no longer have that job. I… serve people lunch. I use to negotiate pre buys for millions of gallons of propane and crude and, now I recommend chicken or steak tacos.
And when my manager comes in yelling that my section needs sweeping and I still need ground cinnamon and to go find a fucking rosemary plant, and get water with no ice and extra ice for tea, I am greatly humbled.
Because my choices led me here. My mistakes. And there is no going back. I can’t change the past. I can only move forward. And as much as sometimes I wonder why it ended up the way it did, it doesn’t matter. As Dr. Phil would say, it is what it is. And I can choose to sit in self pity, or I can wonder what God led me through, and how it’s going to help me one day. Because somedays I can’t see it. Somedays I want to sit and cry and not get out of bed, and wish I had my old salary… and wishing does me no good. If I want something, I have to make it happen.
This is what I have learned. Money can come or go at any time. So can your health. So can your loved ones. Kindness cost nothing and restraint of tongue is something I still need to work on. Because so help me God, if Ms. HR from Dallas that only works “here” for extra money quits my screen again, I will… cut a bitch.