I’ve spent the entirety of the “lunch rush” leaning against the bar and discussing the merits of modern houses with my favorite architects. In other words, it’s been about as slow as it could be. But 2:00 pm hits and every local business empties out and a tsunami of corporate men and women with slick hair and polished shoes flood into my bar. Plus the stray couple with their dog who have sat themselves on the patio and proceeded to tell me how overpriced everything is and how we are ripping them off but they’re still going to pick the most expensive thing on the menu and upgrade the hell out of it. And as if this isn’t enough some old man darts in like a bat out of hell and seats himself at a table way out of my field of vision, demanding to be served.
I am standing behind the bar, three tall glasses full of ice perched on the counter before me, a bottle of Vodka propped in my hand. I am carefully measuring out the trickle of liquor and out of the corner of my eye I see my friend glancing about, looking for me; but he isn’t looking very hard because he doesn’t think he should have to and outrage of all outrages I have the audacity to make him wait while I finish these drinks for the thirsty men who’ve been waiting for at least ten minutes. Sir if you want to be served immediately you have two options you can either opt for fast food there is a Carl’s Junior across the street or you can sit your ass down in a station where there is a server present. You made the conscious decision of selecting the most inconvenient table and now you must wait. The punishment fits the crime. You’re going to have to wait on me to wait on you because there is a proper order of things it’s called first come first serve we don’t do fast passes here this isn’t Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. It’s something far worse.
I can find another server to wait on you but by the time I find someone I could just have easily put your order in myself you are coming dangerously close to shattering my zen. And I work very hard for my zen. I’m going to foot you the bill for the yoga classes and therapy sessions I have to endure just to put up with people like you. It isn’t cheap. Add in the cost of the wine I require each night before bed and you’re looking at a steep bill. You might as well throw in my water and heating bill because that bath I need to soothe my aching muscles doesn’t come free.
There’s a server working the other side of the restaurant and she’s great she’ll bend over backwards for you her yoga classes have been paying off. I’m still working on the breathing. In and out. Deep breaths. Calm. Don’t throw anything. Don’t snap. Don’t yell. Smile. With your eyes not just with your mouth or you’ll look like a serial killer. Keep calm and serve on. I’m trying to offer dessert but the word brownie sounds so similar to the words do you want my fist in your face. It’s a lovely fist. Err, brownie. Shit.
I’m serving up one hell of an unpleasurable experience and it’s mostly due to the fact that it’s nearing the end of my shift and my brain is as thick as the bowl of split pea soup I’m dishing out it’s pouring out of my nose and I can hear it slosh about between my ears. It feels like I’m walking through some sort of gelatinous substance and I’m not talking sexy jello fights here I’m talking slow moving limbs and languid movements. I’m sluggish and tired and maybe I shouldn’t have had that short stack earlier but it looked so damn good and my body recoiled at the sight of freshly cut greens so pancakes it was. I’m going to make the same mistake tomorrow how about you just eat lunch at a normal time instead of showing up in the dead of the afternoon this is siesta time I should be napping but instead I’m stuck here paying penance for every wrong I’ve ever done. I’m trapped in purgatory, making my amends and I’m doing a bang up job if you ask me I haven’t spilled on a customer since 11:15 this morning when I sloshed scalding hot chicken broth all over that old man’s crotch.
Just do me a favor. Here’s a word of advice: when you walk into a restaurant let the hostess seat you don’t seat yourself or you will find yourself stuck dead in the center of A Series of Unfortunate Events and I cannot be held accountable for any chance occurrence after that point. At 2:00 pm this place becomes Wonderland and you are Alice in the looking glass and everything is topsy turvy and at any moment we’ll switch places and you’ll find yourself waiting on the Red Queen. And she’ll take your head off before you can even drop the check.