Chronicles of trading in Corporate America for a waitress's apron during my very own quarter-life crisis.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Breathing at the Speed of Sound

For the last two days, the satellite radio station at the restaurant has been messed up.  Just a tiny glitch, the managers assure us.  Well, this cute little "glitch" manifests itself by playing "Breathe" by Collective Soul and "Speed of Sound" by Coldplay every five minutes.  Those two songs just keep repeating, over and over.  My boyfriend came in for lunch today and counted five "Breathe"s in the 45 minutes he was there.  The minute he stepped back out, into the parking lot, it started playing again.

It was playing when I left work today for my scant break between my double shifts, and it was playing when I got back an hour later.

One of my friends on Facebook was wondering to his friends list the other day, "What is hell?  I think it's sitting in administration meetings for eternity."  Nope.  Hell is listening to two songs that you didn't care for to begin with on repeat for 16 of the last 30 hours (not counting the hours outside of work where they're stuck in your head), and in the meantime, you smell like fried pickles.

So now that it's 11 p.m. and I've eaten for the first time today, I feel like writing about something that happened tonight.  Parts of this story may sound like I'm patting myself on the back, but really, most of it just makes me furious and sad at the same time.

It was my first time in a new section, one where a few different servers and I rotate turns on taking tables.  I had three or four tables already, and then someone asked me, "Can you pick up table 95?"  It wasn't my turn, that I knew of, though I was pretty swamped and not used to the system in this section.

"I think no one wants to take 95 because there's an old guy with a mask on there," said another waitress, loudly.  She wasn't even serving in that section tonight, so I'm not sure why she was busting out the commentary.  (There are a couple of people at work who read this blog -- this server was not you!)

I turned and looked at table 95, which was only about five feet away, and there sat two men, one in his 50s or so, and one who was much older and quite frail (I'm guessing they were father and son).  The older man, who had kind but sad eyes, sloped shoulders, and -- sure enough -- an antiviral facial mask, was looking at this waitress.

"I mean, that's fucking sick," she continued, still within earshot of the table.  "It's fucking gross.  You should stay at home if you need a mask.  So nasty."  She shivered dramatically.  I glanced back at table 95, and even from behind the face mask, the old man looked like a puppy that had just been kicked.

I wanted to cry.  Instead, I picked up their table.

They were two of the sweetest guests I had all week.  I answered their questions about the menu, brought them bread and butter, all the normal things.  The old man explained that he couldn't eat or drink a lot at one time, so I brought him a to-go box with his meal and water with no ice in a lowball drinking glass instead of our regular ones.

When they were settling up on their check, I wished them good night and thanked them for coming in.  "No," said the man (as he, I later found, was tipping me 20%).  "Thank you.  You made this experience a good one."  I realized that he must have been looking forward to this evening for a long time.  And again, I could've cried.  But I just said good bye, cleaned their table, and went on to serve my other guests.

Thinking back on it now, a few hours later, I stand my ground.  Thank you gentlemen for being my table tonight, and thank you for giving me an excuse to go on a huge rant!

To the waitress that loudly berated and humiliated an elderly man for wearing a mask in a restaurant:  Fuck you. 

You wanna know why he's wearing a face mask?  It isn't because of him, you dipshit.  It's because of YOU.  It's because of me; it's because of ALL of us.  We are the ones who have germs that his body can't tolerate, not the other way around.  Do you have any idea the kind of cesspools restaurant dining rooms can be?  The children running around, the parents wiping their kids' faces and then throwing the napkins on the ground like Neanderthals, the waiters that party all night and then come to work sick, the very likely chance that the old man's table wasn't exactly disinfected from the table that sat right before him... do you get it, now?  Do you?

That's it.  That's the biggest insult I have to offer you right now, is that you are the reason for that face mask.  He was protecting himself from your germy, rotten mouth.

But one more thing, bitch.

You really want to see something that's "fucking gross"?  I used to work for the medical device industry.  I've seen "gross."  If you think a kind old man with a face mask on is gross, then I wish you buckets of luck in recovering from the trauma of watching yourself give birth to a kid, 'cause that miracle-of-life shit can get disgusting.  And that's even when everything goes to plan!  How about watching a surgery for when childbirth doesn't go well, where a uterine balloon has to be inserted due to postpartum hemorrhage?  Or maybe you could read up on placing fistula plugs in someone's body because there is a urogenital fistula (you know, so the new mommy can care for her infant without constantly urinating herself).  And don't even get me started on catheters.  I'll spare you; you're bound to just faint from the grossness of it all.

Feel free to pass on all your gross tables to me.  I'll treat them how they deserve to be treated, and then I'll get a fucking outstanding night's sleep.

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