AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books

a night in the life of…

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I really need help with a project I’m working on.  I don’t suppose there is anyone out there reading who is a CSS wiz, who can spend an hour or so helping me?  Yeah.  Damn it.  I’m not outside my skill set, so much as I’ve hit a point where I can’t seem to look at it from the right angle anymore.

Not doing much more than working, and not much of it exciting enough to talk about, but let me tell you about my night last night.

First of all, I wasn’t even supposed to be at the restaurant.  Several people were going to cover my shift for me, but in the end, every single one fell through.  So there I am at work, Ladybug is off, alone, at the show I want to be at.  All I can hear in my head, over and over, is Dante from Clerks saying, “I’m not even supposed to be here today.”

Despite that, it started off promisingly enough.  My first table was a couple of my friends, and a couple of their friends.  Since it wasn’t yet busy, I got to finish my own dinner relative peace, and hang with my friends a little too.  It went downhill fast from there, in small and large ways.  I spilled basalmic on my white shirt. Luckily I had a cardigan on for stain hiding.  At my second table of the night (Table 4) I spilled water.  Fortunately they were really nice, fun people and just laughed and joked with me.  My next table was an older couple.  I bought them their dinner, with a cheerful, nice comment.  And then the husband just laid into me.  He had a problem with his meal. And hey, I can take complaints, I want to make people happy.  But he was just mean, intentionally, cruelly and exceptionally mean.  I offered to have his dinner re-made immediately, no waiting, but he declined.  He just wanted me to know that he was really angry (he said exactly that).  So I tell the chef, and the manager goes over and tries to smooth it over with the guy.  He is mean to her as well. She tells me to comp his meal (which I’d actually already done).   I check my other tables, then brace myself and go over to fill the water glasses at the table of meanness.  When I get there, the wife just silently hands me her credit card.  I go run it, come back, apologize to the man again and wish them a good night.

By now I’m almost shaking with anger, and that yucky fight or flight response.  I can’t really explain how horribly vitriolic he was, how much other, scary, anger there seemed to be in this man.  His wife seemed sort of resigned, like this happened a lot.  I’m pretty sure it does happen often and I’m fairly sure that he does it for the power trip and to get a free meal. (He did, in fact, eat every single thing on his plate.)

Although they are gone, I can’t quite get over it, can’t shake off how awful the man made me feel.  But business is picking up, Saturday night busy so I soldier on.  Most my tables are great, really especially great.  Table 4, the one I’d earlier spilled on, is a cute young gay couple and their female friend.  All are wonderful and sweet and having a great time.  They saw the whole thing and are very concerned that man was mean to me (they even wrote me a very sweet note on the back of their check later). Then one of my tables left with their check.  Not a huge deal, as I’d run their card, but it means I lose the tip (they took the signed slip) and that I have to write a new check and recreate their order (which sometimes is easy, sometimes isn’t).  Like I said, not a huge deal, but it felt close to the last straw, and fleetingly I wondered if I wasn’t going to end up crying by the end of the night.

The band started, and they were excellent, although pretty loud. A couple in their early 20s came in, with a single male friend of similar age.  I didn’t realize at first, but it became clear pretty quickly that the dude was drunk.  He kept high-fiving me, and asking increasingly inappropriate questions.  His friends appeared sympathetic, apologetic and slightly embarrassed.  Fortunately they didn’t stay long.  Drunk Dude insisted on paying the check.  He tracked me down by the waitress station and as I ran his card, he asked me if all the other servers were jealous of me because I was so much prettier than them.  I said I didn’t think so.  He kept insisting that they must be jealous.  Finally he left. (He tipped pretty well, and his friends tossed another $10 on the table, I assume to apologize for him again.)

A little later, he returned, with different friends, though Drunk Dude stayed outside and sent his other friend in to talk to me. Apparently Drunk Dude wanted to see me alone, outside, so he could “ask me something important.”  YIKES.  My hands were full of plates I was running back to the kitchen and I told the friend that I was too busy, sorry.  And after a few minutes they left. GAH!

Still the night was looking up, as I said, most of my tables were really nice.  I had a group of five who had eaten, and were ordering another round of drinks.  The band was loud, and I couldn’t quite hear the guy furthest from me.  So he told the woman next to him what he wanted, she told the guy next to her, and he told me. “Pork shank?” I repeated back, as loundly as I could, slightly confused, as they had already eaten, but some people wanted weird things for dessert, I guess. They all nodded, smiling, in agreement. “Pork shank?” I asked again. Smiles and nods. Okay. I deliver their next round of beers. Check my other tables and ten minutes or so later deliver the pork shank. At the table I met with blank stares and confusion.  After a second we suss out that he wanted “port wine” not “pork shank.” We are all laughing pretty hard.  I give them the shank anyway and run to get the port.

I thought I was going injure myself laughing so hard at my mistake.  The table all tasted the shank and declared it amazing, assured me they would order it the next time they were in. They even expressed suprise later then I didn’t charge them for it.  Of course not, it was my mistake (also the shanks are small, like drumstick sized and only $3, so it wasn’t really a huge deal).

In the end it was decent night, cash wise, and really most my tables were wonderful.  But, truly, one bad apple can ruin it all. Stupid mean man.

Hey, y’all, how you doin’ today?

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3 thoughts on “a night in the life of…

  1. Was that a rhetorical question? Good here. Block Party today, and the rain held off until 6p, when it broke out in buckets for about 40 minutes. We were most impressive clearing up the potluck dinner.

    Sorry I can’t help with the CSS problem. I’m definitely not in the “whiz” category.

    Your night sounds…meh. People who seethe anger are so horrific, particularly when they do it for personal gain. Glad it ended on an upswing. I may never look at a pork shank the same way again.

  2. Ha, yes nothing expedites cleaning up like buckets of rain! Where there pork shanks at your potluck?

  3. Oh, if only! Maybe we’ll make them next year… *g*

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