Tuesday, August 15, 2006


It’s been a minute since I posted a server story. Mainly because I’m living in denial right now (despite kinda liking my job) and refusing to acknowledge the way I’m temporarily earning my living. I tell myself it’s not my job, no. It’s just some place I go hang out between the hours of 3 and 12. Sure, I bring home a fistful of cash. But it’s not my profession. People just like me. And they donate.

But spending longer time working in restaurants than I ever imagined I would has taught me something. Despite what I used to think as a high and mighty college student, there’s nothing wrong with being a server. Much like real estate, sales or any of the other numerous middle man positions out there, it’s just a job. A way to earn a living. You punch in. You punch out. Then you go find something that makes you happy.

But there are plenty of people who think there is something wrong with it. And what’s wrong with it isn’t the job. It’s the person doing the job. “What’s that? You’re a server? In a restaurant? Oh yee, of little education. Poor thing. You must be stupid.”

So they condescend. They speak sl-o-o-o-o-wly. They treat you with the same annoyed frustration a spoiled rich teenager would treat his retarded cousin when forced to baby-sit him. And there’s nothing you can do but bite your tongue and check your watch. Cause eventually you can high-tail it the fuck outta there and bury your nose deep into a fat glass of cabernet and a couple of brilliant blogs.

But in their perceived social triumph, there’s something they don’t realize. There’s a group whose intelligence plummets far below the average IQ of your every day order taker. A group who was apparently absent on the day in school when they taught the lesson – How Not to Act Like A Total Fucking Asshole. A group composed of you, me and everyone we know. You know who they are? Fucking people.

And this story, would be what I call, proof.

I was annoyed. (surprise!) Standing by the hostess stand on my fifth shift in a row. We were understaffed, overbooked, and my manager had called in sick. And with that phone call he threw us all to the wolves.

Three of them walked in. Two wolves and a baby pup.

If you ask me, children have no place in adult restaurants. There’s a very specific reason that most people avoid eating their food while surrounded by plush cheese eating mice that go by the name of Chucky. And I don’t think anyone deserves a place at the adult dinner table, until they learn to not shit in their pants.

But that’s what kids do. Shit their pants. And then they grow up to be adults. Adults who shit on your day. Adults who missed the lesson in class: You Don’t Change Your Baby’s Diaper at the Fucking Dinner Table in a Fine Dinning Restaurant. But that’s what she did. And that’s what people do. That, or something like it.

And like an unwelcome child, the diaper’s aroma came out to play. To mingle with the normal restaurant smells of garlic and lamb jus. The smell got so bad that one of the bus boys decided to walk to her table and spray Lysol. On her. (Hey, you act like an idiot, you get treated with stupidity.)

“I’m sorry, ma’am.” Why he felt she deserved an apology, I don’t know. “But some people have been complaining about the smell.” Personally, I don’t see the use in trying to explain to people like this that there actually are others in the world that their actions affect. But maybe it was some sort of service industry instinct that prompted him to apologize for something that wasn’t his fault.

“Well you can take that then,” the woman said pointing to a napkin on the center of the table. “That’s probably what the smell is.”

The bus boy reached down, doing his normal job of cleaning up other people’s thoughtless shit. But the warm gushy feeling inside the napkin made him recoil his hand in horror.

“What is that?!”

“Oh, that was me.” Said The Moron. “I threw up.”

After changing her child in the middle of a food-consuming environment, where people touch things and then touch their mouths, she went on to publicly vomit in the same spot. Puke, no doubt, subconsciously induced by her gut wrenching behavior. And then she went on to talk down to her server, and all others working around her, just trying to do their job.

“Let me out there.” Said the chef, shuffling back and forth like a boxer preparing for a fight. “Let me go out there and tell her that we don’t want people like that in here.”

Ah, such naïve words for one who deals with food and not humans. People like that? Then you’ll be forced to close down and look for other work. Because at some point in our lives, all people do something like that. Kick her out, and you kick everyone out. These are people you’re talking about.

“Relax,” I said. “She’s just a stupid human. Just learn to laugh at her from back here. You’ll find it’s much more fun.” And fun is what I'm all about these days.

More people were seated. The night continued.

Like the flu in the winter, stupidity relished in its breading ground, mutating like motherfucker. Highly contagious. Infecting everyone in it's path. Too much idiocy to fit in one post. This used to make me mad. Infuriate me to the point of feeling compelled to teach everyone out there a lesson. To give them my class notes, and fill them the fuck in!

But now, after so many years, you can find me in the back. Completely metamorphosed into a bubble of laughter. Hilarity weakening my legs to the point of eventually collapsing Indian style to the floor. Gasping for air. Tears escaping from the corners of my eyes. Guffawing at all these stupid, stupid motherfukers.


David said...

That's a great story.

Just horrible, but great.

The puke is what sends it all over the edge. If you can't change your own kids filth without creating some of your own...

.. Then you're a New Yorker!

Sorry, just kidding. No, you just plain suck. (I had that "you're a native new yorker" disco song running through my head - really, no offense.)

New York Punk said...

next time you see that woman, just pee on her soup.

New York Punk said...

...or worse...give her cherry coke in a classic coke bottle.

Anonymous said...

Concha - if there is one thing that you can take away from your tenure as a server, it is that you learn how to handle people and you'll be a better person because of it. I wish that there was a law that forced everyone to, at one time in their life, work in a restaurant. Because it teaches people how to deal with other people, it teaches patience, it teaches courtesy and basic social grace.

Under this platform I am running for mayor. Who's with me?

- Puerto

concha said...

david-- thanks, man.

NYP-- now i don't wanna reward her or anything. only good girls get cherry coke.

Puerto-- thanks. and i've always maintained this same philosophy. i think this whole serving thing has been really good for me. (so can my advertising thing take off now?? huh??? :)

Slinky Redfoot said...

were you ever a busboy/girl? that gives you a whole new perspective, let me tell ya.

Big Ben said...

I find that 50% of people are assholes. I have to admit I look down on servers some times. I see a person with a univeristy degree five years out of university and I way "what the fuck?". I give people 5 years to figure things out and then I judge.