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.