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Friday, March 30, 2012

We All Bring Something to the Job...

It’s Friday, it’s practically summer, and I've lost six pounds.  Do I ask for much more? I do not. Ladies and gentlemen, join me, won’t you, in giddy anticipation of the end of the work day and the beginning of a two-day foray into free-style sock-folding and hours-long expeditions into my own mind.

I turn to my iPod, Harmonic Harbinger, Aural Oracle, Tuneful Tarot, and ask it: this morning’s playlist? What’s it say for the weekend?

The Sweet Part of the City by The Hold Steady*
Carry On by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
GettingDown by The Kills
DisasterButton by Snow Patrol
Bella Donna by The Avett Brothers
She CriesYour Name by Beth Orton*

Well I don't much care for the look of this, do you?  Sweet, nostalgic, and sad.  Prepare for weeping, peoples.  

I'm sorry.  I calls 'em as I sees 'em.

Best to just work it off, don't you think? Because I’ve been working for a long time. A very, very long time. Since birth, I believe it was – straight out of the womb and onto a factory line. Those were good times.

One of the first jobs I ever had was working as a busboy. We were ALL busboys back then, by the way, regardless of gender, just as we were all paperboys, a job I also held. The sexual orientation, in those days, of the lower-ranked help was of no interest to anyone but that of the lower-ranked help, but I digress.

I’ve served and cleaned up pizzas, subs, Mexican food, truck-stop food. It was at the truck stop that I met a fellow waitress who claimed that she could not vacuum at the end of her shift because, and I quote, “I don’t know how.”

She didn’t know how to vacuum.

It wasn’t a trick vacuum. There was a canister, a hose, and an on/off button. That’s all it had, technology-wise. It didn’t sweeten the air, it didn’t make anything any freer from allergens – the lousy thing barely sucked up dirt.

But she didn’t know how to vacuum.

You’d think there’d be a test for that sort of thing before hiring, wouldn’t you?

Needless to say, I was forced to kill her and bury her in the back with the other brain-dead waitresses.

I told you all that to tell you this:  I have a serving job tonight.

And while I can’t tell you what kind of stupidity will occur – it may be nothing at all! people can be so unreliable – odds are good that there will indeed be some kind of stupidity.

I remember the last job like it was several months ago.

“Why don’t you and I fill the glasses with ice water? The reception’s supposed to start at 7:00 and we can have them done by 6:30.”

“Hmm. Yeah, sure,” says Crystal/Tiffany/Amber. She was cute as a button, a little plump, perhaps, in a white shirt stretched tight enough across the bosom to threaten to launch buttons to all four corners.

“Help me grab the water pitchers. We can fill half of them with ice and half of them with water, load them on to the carts, and pull them into the dining room.”

“What’s that now?”

“Ice,” I said. “And water.”

We got a couple other servers to help us while still others loaded creams and sugars into little glass dishes, made coffee, inspected silverware for unpleasantries.

“Fill the water glasses completely with ice and only half-way with water,” I told Crystal/Tiffany/Amber. “That way when the people get here half an hour from now the water level will be perfect.”

“What’s that now?”

Twenty-four rounds of eight. One hundred and ninety-two water glasses.

I’m sure you can see where this is headed.

By the time we had finished, the water glasses on Crystal/Tiffany/Amber’s end of the room threatened to breach the rim. She had filled them without remembering the 30 minutes they would sit.

I was astounded. The hours before a large party are hectic and there’s no time for do-overs. I fought the urge to stare at her accusingly and settled for pursing my lips and looking put out.

Crystal/Tiffany/Amber’s big brown eyes registered mild confusion followed quickly by blank blinking. Blink.  Blink.  Blink.  Notorious for her ability to snack almost continuously at any job, her mind was on the plates of hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen.

Between the suspected balloon smuggling going on under that tiny white shirt and her passable and flirtatious Spanish (kitchens being predominantly Spanish-speaking), Crystal/Tiffany/Amber did pretty well for herself.

We took care of it, of course, and neither our boss nor the wedding party witnessed the frantic pouring-off and wiping down of the cresting glasses of ice water.

No harm, no foul.

I don’t work as many of the serving jobs as some of the gals, but I hear that Crystal/Tiffany/Amber doesn’t get called in to work anymore.

I don’t miss her.

But I’ll bet the kitchen staff does.

33 comments:

Daisy said...

I think Ms Lisa and Ms Dolly could shape things up pretty fast! Maybe they should be hired as supervisors - routine job for cats.

Shelly said...

Oh, if only folks would listen to those of us who have gone this way before.

I was a veterinary technician while I was in school. I told the new kennel attendant all about the pit bull in quarantine; how he appeared sweet and gentle but was prone to volcanic mood changes in the wink of an eye...

Long story short, after we were finally able to pry the dog's jaws open with two broomsticks (the first one broke) from her arm, and she got over 20 stitches, she came to me and said, "OK, what's the story on that pit bull?"

Tom G. said...

OK, you had me snorting coffee at "Crystal-Tiffany-Amber". With a name like that she obviously missed her calling as a pole dancer.

Silliyak said...

I was anticipating "The End" by the Doors for the playlist.

Leenie said...

The learning curve can be SO steep when you're Crystal-Tiffany-Amber.

Did Chuck Norris find you?

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

The minute I hear any of those names I think, uh-oh, time to dumb down!

BamaTrav said...

sheut! I had to use one of those little push brooms that would rotate the brush as you pushed it. Had to do the WHOLE pizza joint with it.

Pearl said...

The fun part is the world is full of Crystal-Tiffany-Ambers (and seriously, my apologies to anyone whose name is one of those but I am required, at my current age, to make fun of those names, just as the generation following mine is required to make fun of the coming Hunter-Skyler-Katnisses...

jabblog said...

Do you think if Crystal/Tiffany/Amber had been called Beatrice/Genevieve/Susan she/they would have been (more) intelligent? Do we condemn our children by the names we give them?

Symdaddy said...

Speaking as one who has danced the waiter-fandango before, during and after many a festivity in the past, I can thoroughly understand your frustration at the lack of common sense displayed by the many inter-changeable Barbie-doll waitresses out there.

I've been confronted with many a waitress picked (not by me) solely for their looks and not for brain-power.

esbboston said...

I wonder if that ice-water-half-full trick could eXplain Noah parting the Red Sea or Moses and The Great Flood?

Pat said...

Alas I haven't lost 6 pounds and I still haven't finished my birthday chocolates:(

Chantel said...

Button launching should be an Olympic sport--hell, we have curling already. (and I'd put my money on more watching Busty Button Launching)

She may not know much about vacuum suction but somehow I think Crystal/Tiffany/Amber is well aquainted with it's opposite...

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Too funny. I think we've all encountered people like that who were standing in the good looks line when the brains were being handed out. I even had a nurse taking care of me one time who was in that category. Believe me, I'd much rather have a waitress who could use a little chlorine in her gene pool than have a nurse like that.

Scarlet Blue said...

I don’t miss her.

But I’ll bet the kitchen staff does.


Do they miss her well placed balloons?
Sx

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

What's that now? I foresee a glorious future for that girl somewhere on a stripper pole.

jenny_o said...

At least you know if things go poorly there will be good writing come of it, so it's not a total loss :)

Do the asterisks after the first and last iPod selections mean anything?

Nessa Roo said...

I'm feeling your misery.
I got the Christy/Cindy/Cassie who couldn't work the napkin dispenser.

Pat Tillett said...

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the human race! Some of us aint' so smart...
Funny post Pearl!

Jono said...

At least the kitchen staff won't have to worry about getting an eye poked out by an explosively launched button, err..botón!

Mr. Charleston said...

I consider myself blessed that I have never had to work in food service. At least not yet!

Eva Gallant said...

Is there much profit in balloon-smuggling?

Cheryl said...

So glad you visited my blog, and very happy I was curious enough to check yours out. We share a similar sense of humor, but you're a heck of a lot better writer. I'll be back for laughs.

Michelle said...

No harm..no foul.
GEREASE- GERILLA- CKGER- GERIZZO- TEDGERV-
MMNST- MATANDO- SUMANDO?
Relly.
OCKCAT can't stop talking.
That's SCHAR for you.
And MUNDST.
Although it could be C. BUNTER.

River said...

Fill the glasses with ice, then half fill with water.

How hard is that?

Michelle said...

Well , how hard is that?
You'd have to ask the recipient of " FINGERU".

NellieVaughn said...

I worked as a waitress years ago. One of my co-workers claimed she could not vacuum, which we had to do before we closed. I told her life had just blessed her with an opportunity to learn.

the walking man said...

Pearl take the next week end off and try the Yellow Bella Donna--I'm pretty sure I never returned from that trip 35 years ago.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Oh Pearl. Just like you...the jobs I've worked. The things I've wiped up.
Almost makes a girl happy to sit in her coffin...er, I mean, cubicle.
Happy Sock matching this weekend. I will be doing same.

The Jules said...

I have fond memories of using three syllable words in conversations with my fellow burger flippers at a well known food chain many years ago and being labelled Egg-head.

Actually, that was mainly because I kept flipping eggs on my head, rather than any innate verbosity.

Susan in the Boonies said...

You buried her out back as well, didn't you?

Knew it.

I will NEVER work with you at a truck stop, now. You can just forget it.

No matter how much you plead, cry and beg.

ThreeOldKeys said...

Dear Daiary,

really im glad those people dont call me anymore to serve at partys becuase they expect you to know everything without any training and woudn't you think they would explain how to do things before you just have to do them .?

well anyway monday i start my new interns ship at that grommet sprocket place. im not sure if its either a toystore or for skateboards.

CrysTiffAmbi

Raymond Alexander Kukkee said...

Pearl, better pay Lisa Bean extra to supervise training of all vacuum-cleaner-drivers and water-pouring personnel. ":)