Monday, October 22, 2012

Like Acid and Oil on a Madman's Face ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     If you sit in my station or read These American Servers™, you'll experience at least one commonality among the two activities: all you'll perceive are some mediocre results and not how much I put into either endeavor. That isn't to say I put in a lot or anything, just more than people who might momentarily ponder the subject probably think. Not so much today's installment, though. I've always come up with at least one rough draft of each episode before I serve it up to ya and this one's no different. But I'm devoting just a little less time and effort to this baby. There're reasons for that. I'll probably share 'em with y'all in future episodes. Just so ya know.
     ANYWAY, I just started a new PM gig—again, more on that (maybe) in future editions of These American Servers!—my third in that time slot this year. It's cool; I needed a job and they were kind enough to hire me. Like your manager kept saying ad nauseum back in about 2007 or so, it is what it is. You never know what situations &/or opportunities might arise but for now I plan to hang onto this at least 'til midwinter.
     Tonight ended the end of my first full week out of training here. I was assigned what they consider a power station. It's got a fourtop, two deuces and a table that'll easily seat up to ten adults. "Joe," my manager grinned, "do ya think you're ready for that badass section?" I assured her that I did think so and that I'd do my best.
     A 15 rolled in. Eleven of them went to my big table. The other four were put at two deuces in another waiter's station. They should have been seated at my open fourtop but that's not my call to make. The five little children in the party all went to my table. So did the one person in the group I disliked on sight: the scowling individual who looked like ghetto Troy Polamalu with a bad attitude (he turned out to be a pleasant, easy-going sort and my bad for being judgmental).
     Everybody seemed pretty cool. They ran me some but nothing outside of what you should normally expect if you're a server. Nobody was an A-hole and my co-worker who shared the party with me and I were gratified to see that our group seemed to enjoy themselves and their dining experience. Oh yeah, and we were told up front that it'd all be one check.
     When they were done and the ticket was requested, I had to hunt down a manager to consolidate the tables onto one check. This was done. Everything was now on my sever number. The total bill—only one beer was ordered and remember, five of them were kids—was $182.53. I gave the check to the woman who asked for it. She took it to a gentleman who was obviously well into Social Security age and they perused it. From what I overheard, they were looking for mistakes, made by my co-worker or me. I don't have a problem with that; nobody's perfect. Just don't glare up at me like I'm some kind of bad guy out to fuck you over while you're doing your ciphering. They didn't glare or uncover any errors.
     Ms. Lady gave me the presenter with the ticket for $182.53 and two crisp hundred-dollar bills. "I'll be right back with your change," I smiled, thinking I'd at least be told that wouldn't be necessary and pretty hopeful that someone might cough up a couple of fives or something on top of it.
    But instead, she chirped, "OK," so I made the change, put it into the server book and gave it to her, then disappeared into the kitchen. I hadn't discussed it with jones who'd waited on about 30% of the party with me but I'd already decided that, come what may, I'd give him half of whatever we got and just pay all the taxes and tipout myself. Fuck it.
     They slowly got up, stretched, gathered up their stuff and the kids and departed. About that time, I strolled out of the kitchen. The woman who'd paid caught my eye, smiled big and pointed to the server book on the table. A moment later, they were gone. I looked into the check presenter. It contained a whopping eight bucks. It was kind of a slow night and my tentop never got sat again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Comfortably Dumb ©2012 by Joe Sixtop all rights reserved

     I was already at work the other night when my work-friend Melanie showed up for her shift. She headed my way. "Hiya!" I said.
     She looked up at me with her big pretty brown eyes and grinned. "I am so stoned!" she whispered.
     I used to come to work with a bad hangover on at least a third of my shifts. I kind of regret how much alcohol I used to consume but oh well. And to this day if there's a can of whipped cream in the kitchen, empty of product but still charged with nitrous oxide, lemme at it! If you woof that shit down, it'll actually get you pretty fucked up but only for less than five minutes. If marijuana made me feel like N²O from food-service brand dessert topping does, I'd be hittin' the bong right now instead of composing the drivel you're currently perusing  (and thanks, btw).
     So other than those two exceptions—one really, since I've dialed back the boozing considerably—I don't consume anything intoxicating before or during my waitshifts. High (ha ha) on the list of fun substances for me to not be on while I'm slinging chow is cannabis and I've never worked a restaurant shift under its influence. Except for the one time I did.
     My friend Reilly and I were waiters at the same independent restaurant. One Tuesday afternoon he showed up at my door a couple of hours before our mutual clock-in time of 5:00. "Can I ride in with you today?" he asked. That was no problem but we still had a good chunk of time to kill before we had to leave. Reilly reached into his ever-present duffel and pulled out a big bag of dank, sticky buds. "Dude!" he exclaimed, "This is like, the best weed I've ever had in my life!" which was an impressive endorsement, coming from an inveterate stoner like Reilly.
     I declined Reilly's offer to partake—remember,I had a shift that night—but my girlfriend didn't. I sat there while they put a nice dent in Reilly's stash. A couple of neighbors showed up, bringing their own badass ganja. I watched as joints and bong hits were enjoyed like it was a 1978 prom night in La Jolla. American Beauty, or maybe it was something by Pink Floyd, played in the background as sweet, funky smoke permeated the tiny apartment.
     When it was time to go, Reilly asked if he could spark up another doobie in my car on the way. America's evil laws being what they are, that's something I never let anyone do ever. But I was in a strange yet pleasant mood, so I told him it was OK, "just this once." When we arrived and I strolled across the parking lot, I realized something: I was pretty fucking high! I'd actually gotten a contact high, which I'd never previously thought was possible. Uh-oh! I knew how to deal if I'd been hung over but this was something new (at work, not in my personal life) that I wasn't ready for at all. I was very apprehensive as I approached the 'staurant but I'm a big grown-up. I'd deal with it and try my best.
     I shouldn't have worried. Even though we were pretty busy and  went on a wait there for awhile, I had one of my three or four best waitshifts ever! All my clients were real nice. I was mellow and chill, yet remarkably efficient. I did almost no fucking up and what little I did I recovered from nicely. It was like playing a video game called Waiting Tables® and kicking its ass! Everyone involved was happy and I made great tips.
     I volunteered to close that night and my contact high was pretty much gone by the time I finally left work. And I've never been high at work since. How come? I'm not really sure; it's just something I don't do and that's that, I guess. But I've got a couple of hours to kill before my shift tonight. If any of y'all are holding and want a ride in, give me a call!