You guys, it finally happened. Today, for the first time, I was so damned busy I tried to take a customers’ order twice. He orders the salmon, I send the order to the kitchen, five minutes later I’m back at his table, pen and notebook in hand, asking him if he’s decided on dinner. I’m not sure if I’ve felt dumber in my life.
I mean, I had 14 tables and a full bartop—about 40 customers total I was waiting on. There’s only so much the human brain can take. Mine died as I was taking the custom salad guys. You know the type. Brother one’s order begins as follows: Romaine, Broccoli, Avocado, Shredded Chicken, Sprouts, Carrots, Bacon, Tomato. Lemon wedges, Balsamic Vinegar, and Olive Oil on the Side. Brother two’s order goes like this: Spring Mix, Avocado, Grilled Chicken, Roast Beef, Cucumber, Croutons, Jack Cheese, Mushrooms. Italian Dressing and 1000 Island on the side. I’ve literally developed a manic twitch in my left eye halfway through the order.
But there’s this darling little girl at the table next to them who keeps trying to give me hugs and I’m just dying from the cuteness of it all so she’s salvaging these little shreds of my humanity so I don’t completely lose my mind until the one dude on table 81 starts showing me all the money he’s made investing in Bitcoin. Which is awesome. And so good for him but his bank account is none of my business and also please never use the words, Here, let me teach you something. He pulls up the calculator on his Iphone and starts doing all these calculations to show me how much his dollar value has increased and I’m just over here like hey I’m dead. Ded. Because out of the corner of my eye I’m watching this dude spill his beer and I know I’m going to have to go over there and cut him off which is super lame because this is a family restaurant not a club I’m glad you’re here and all but, like, can you go rage somewhere else?
Meanwhile, I’m back behind the galley staring at an English Muffin I put into the toaster a couple minutes ago. I have no idea where it goes. Literally no clue. I don’t even know why I put it in there in the first place. We’re just facing off. Me and the English Muffin. Staring each other down. Table 107 asks for butter chips and I catapult a few over, like little golden missiles glittering in the dim lighting of the bar. Then some dude on 101 waves wildly, shouting about an English Muffin. Bingo. Eureka. I’ve found it.
“It’ll be right out sir. So sorry about that—my toaster’s acting up.” I meant to say my brain but the wrong word slipped out.
Some people sit on the patio with this adorable little Corgie puppy. The whiskers on the right side of his face are white and black on the left side it’s actually the cutest thing I’ve seen all night beside the girl with the unicorn purse who keeps trying to hug me but the Corgie needs a bowl of water and something to eat do you have a doggie menu? I’m thinking maybe I’ll just leave my shoe at the table and let the Corgie gnaw on that for a few minutes there’s a full meal’s worth stuck in the tread.
And then it happens. A customer asks to speak to the manager. I’m thinking oh gosh oh jeez I do not need this right now damnit I am the worst waitress in the Seven Kingdoms mainly because I was up until 3:00AM binge watching Game of Thrones.
Listen, he says. And ohhhhh I am listening. Crouched there in the corner, begrudging my fate. Everything was great, but—
Here it comes. The clincher. The right hook. The knockout.
But that’s because of Shay, our waitress.
The manager looks over at me. I’m like yeah, totally. Knew these guys were going to complement me I am so good at my job and the greatest waitress and come on, I wasn’t worried you were worried.
Nights like this go by in a chaotic whirl of forgetting whose order you’ve taken and whose you haven’t, of losing track of tables because you have so many you can’t see where one ends and the next begins. New table? Oh yeah, sure, I’ll be there in 15 minutes. I’m actually asking customers if they’ve gotten their food yet because the table is empty and they’re all yeah, we’re actually just waiting on the bill. That’s the kind of night. But then some little girl keeps hugging you and it creates these weird little happiness bubbles to blossom up somewhere in your cold, dead heart and that weird old dude who comes in with his mom in the wheel chair just keeps telling you how wonderful you are and you’re all here have a Bailey’s, you get a Bailey’s, you get a Bailey’s, everybody gets a Bailey’s.
You just kind of start laughing. Customers are waving their arms all around you I am the Mother of Dragons and these are my subjects come to worship me but why do they look so angry this is strange. It’s utter chaos. And when that one guy asks me to cut their cheesecake in thirds, I can only laugh. Laugh and do my best. It’s going to look like shit, I warn him. But it all goes to the same place anyway, so I guess that doesn’t really matter. He tips me extra for my honesty, then promises to come back, and I’m just over here thinking how have I not yet been fired.
And now I’m home, with a glass of wine, absolutely wired because who can sleep after a night like that so I guess I’ll be up til 3 again, watching Game of Thrones. And when I finally fall asleep, God knows I’ll be waking up in a cold sweat later on, with the memory of the fact that I forgot to bring that guy his English Muffin, all because that damn toaster keeps acting up.