Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where we discover that Captain Rigatoni is Nostradamus!!

Meetings at the Captain's are irregular and disjointed. Some days there are no meetings, not even so much as a "today's specials are" and on other cursed days there are many.... We are all rounded up from doing whatever menial tasks we might be attending to and herded into the kitchen where we are then berated for many hours.

On a very special Friday night Captain Rigatoni decided to give us about forty minutes on his world views. At first I felt that this was a fairly major time suck, and that I would much prefer to be out polishing the floor with my toothbrush. He droned on and on for quite some time, with a few outbursts of frustration at the usual situations (INCOMPETENT!! CLOWNS!! BAH HUMBUG!) but for the most part I was struggling to pay attention due to the high level of booooring.

That was.... Until I realized that he was letting the cat out of the bag! He was letting all of us lucky people have a view of what it is really like to be as big and important as Captain Rigatoni! And what a responsibility it must be, because he is a prophet! "I knew that the bottom was going to fall out of the economy!" He declared, making me wonder if that is really possible. The economy does not really have a bottom- but those are his genius words and not the plain, dumb monosyllables of a MAW. "I SAW this coming" he said, steely eyed as he strode around the room sternly, looking each and every one of us in the eye. "I knew that it was all going to fall to pieces, LAST YEAR!! BWA-HA-HA!!" My thoughts came to a screeching halt as I digested his latest ridonkulous declaration. Last year? As in 2008? Dear Captain, I am sorry to disagree with you but the Economy has been on a downward spiral of doom since very early in 2007, if not slightly before. Looking around the room at my sheep-el coworkers all nodding in rapture I peeked over at one of the "humans" that I'm lucky to work with and gave the side-eye. Which I got right back in return, making me feel glad that there was some sanity in the room on this particular evening. At this point the Capt had really reached full throttle and was giving us a passion filled declaration about his keen Spidey-sense on how everything in the world works. "I know how it IS" he bellowed "I know how BUSINESS works, I know how STUFF runs and I know what PEOPLE are thinking!!" Thinking fast I filled my head with a large number of sarcastic thoughts to see if he would use his psychic powers to pick up on them. He did not, which really shocked me since he is a superhero and everything... Running out of time before the restaurant opened for dinner he made a dramatic conclusion to his inspirational speech "Things are going to get worse before they get better, all of yous.... You might ask how I know this? Well, I just do because I know these things. I knew that times were going to get hard and I can tell ALL of YOUS that it is going to be AT LEAST another year, or maybe two, or even THREE, or very possibly FOUR OR FIVE before things get BETTER!!" (good to cover all bases with a span of 5 years, right?) All of my coworkers, with the exception of one or two humans dropped at his feet salivating heavily. "Oh Captain Rigatoni" they panted eagerly "We are not worthy of your greatness! We are all blessed to have Nostradamus in our midst! Please, please let us lick your toe cheese and be your servants for life!!" As much as Capt Rig loves to be told how great he is he had grown weary of hanging about with his minions. Also, he had to go find the cooks and give then their daily beatings, question the wisdom of paying them and ask them why the F*** they had the audacity to use the wrong mop on the floor. Shaking his head in profound disgust at the horrible, horrible things he had to put up with he kicked aside several of the waitstaff who were still bowing at his feet, and ran off to lay down the law. Gazing after his retreating bulk with unreserved admiration the staff all murmured how lucky we were to be blessed to work with such a great and wonderful prophet. How was it that we, a bunch of renegade slackers could possibly have such a tremendous opportunity! Gosh, WE should pay to work for HIM!!!

The very best and most magical part of this story is that somehow, over the 9 hour course of that evening Cap Rig forgot that he had had this meeting with us. At 11:25 PM he demanded that we all come to the kitchen AT ONCE!!!! Where he proceeded to give a carbon copy of the same meeting... I was hoping that perhaps he would give us some alarming new thought on the future of the world, or make startling predictions for 2012 but alas... Rerun!

Monday, December 21, 2009

In which our heroine slacks off completely.

I do not tend to be the kind of employee that shirks away from an extra bit of work. Good thing, since working at Captain Rig's is like indentured servitude times a million! I tucker myself right out at work, I (try) to be the hero who runs the food out of the kitchen at breakneck speed, I (attempt) to excel at being the master of the glassware and silver and I (halfheartedly) bag up to-go orders. Oh, and in my spare point two seconds of extra time I wait on tables too... Hmmmm?!

When the screaming in the kitchen reached a glass shattering level last weekend I decided it was time for a change. Since I AVOID slacking this was the perfect time to see if I could manage to do as little as humanely possible, without getting caught, and while lavishing attention on my tables of guests and making fistfuls of cash. Hooray for the lazies!

It turned out to be a pretty slow night which made this experiment fully possible. I found that as long as I stayed in motion and "looked" busy nobody thought otherwise. I doted upon my tables with the kind of attention that I normally would not have time to give. I helped out one of my fellow coworkers who got quadruple sat and was looking a bit frazzled. (knowing that since this was one of the "humans" that works there the gesture would most likely be reciprocated!) I toddled along in a state of calm, occasionally pausing to twiddle a fork around to dry in order to not appear to be a complete sloth but for the most part I dodged all forms of work.

My tables enjoyed the attention and tipped well. My coworkers were completely oblivions to my day of rest, and I fully enjoyed an evening of calm and zen like relaxation (if only!!)

The verdict: WIN!! WIN!! However, not only is slacking off daily against everything I stand for but eventually (sooner rather than later) I'll get busted. So we'll leave that as a one day-vacay that had results that were enjoyed by all. Or at least ME!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In which our Heroine learns that she will never be able to cheat a lie detector test...

Crossing the threshold of my own personal hell the other evening (aka: the kitchen entrance of Captain Rigatoni's) I could hear the hollerin' coming from the back room in a big way! Realizing that this was sure to be yet another heart warming evening of cheerful pep talks, and loving pats on the back I concluded that it was the perfect opportunity to continue my social experimentation on the Captain's dime.

Before I could reflect any further on what my bold mission might be I was captured by Dan, and in a whirlwind of speed was whisked away to the dark recesses of the walk in cooler. My reaction was something of the "HEY! YO! WTH??" kind, as I do not particularly enjoy any kind of sudden kidnapping. Surrounded by buckets of pasta, "homemade" desserts and carrots, Dan delivered a stern lecture. "We have an audit going on today" he said in his very best waiting-to-be-upper-management voice "and we need to go over a few things." I was confused, and was picturing some sort of tax evasion taking place and could not see how I could possibly have any part in such a thing. Continuing on, and carefully annunciating his words lest I be confused by the weight of my mission Dan said "They are going to be asking all of us some questions today about how this restaurant is run, how you get paid and what some of our policies are." "Reeeeaaaaly?" I said, as it dawned on my that this was the Labor peeps and not the Tax goons "What's the deal?" I inquired. "Well, there are a few things that need to be said by ALL" was his firm, and clearly pronounced reply. By this time it was becoming painfully clear to me what was going on: We were going to be told to lie. And if there is something that this middle aged waitress AVOIDS it is lying. It is well known in my circle of friends that my lying skills are on par with my coordination skills meaning, NOT good. Not only is lying something that I am (somewhat) morally opposed too but I just can't be smooth about it. I tend to stammer a bit, get overly exaggerated in my hand gestures and facial expressions and get all red faced and sweaty palmed. I just can't pull it off, period! This was NOT the kind of challenging social experimantation that I was intersted in. Clearly pressed for time Dan continued with his lecture on deceit "When he asks about our tip-out policy you should know that we DO NOT nor have we EVER tipped out any staff in this restaurant besides the service bar." "You don't say" I replied with great sarcasm "Because some little part of my memory remembers something entirely different..." "Well that part of your memory needs to be turned off right now" was his sensible thought on that matter. "Also, you have NOT nor have you EVER been required to pay for anything you have broken, screwed up on or damaged." Remembering that there was a small portion of my medulla oblongata (or similar?) that needed to learn to shut it's mouth I shut mine too... "Also" he droned on "it is not our policy to ask you to pay for a "walk-out" but we do reserve the right to terminate you if you have multiple people leaving without paying." "So the other day" I mused in my out-loud voice "when my work friend was let go for one walk out.... That never happened? Am I right?" Delighted with my quick learning skills Dan exclaimed that I WAS right and that I HAD it and could scurry right along and talk to Mr. Department of Lies.

Fortunately for me, a long line of liars had formed at that point so I had a bit of time to muse over my options. I saw this as a perfect, heaven sent opportunity to expose the shady work place principles that were applied at Capt Rig's. I saw this as a delightful opportunity to avenge my fallen and unjustly fired friend. I worked myself up into a fine state of indignation over the fact that people thought that they could order me to lie and expect me too! Seeing Dan run by to polish the halo that Captain Rigatoni had given him I asked a quick question "So Dan, why is it that you had to catch us one by one and tell us what was going on? Why did we not have a meeting to talk about this? It wouldn't be becasue "management" didn't want to be (ahem) involved? You know, in case we get asked if we were told by our "bosses" to say certain things?" "Ahhh" he said, clearly agitated by my quick thinking and perception "that might be... close to correct..." As he left the kitchen he turned and semi-shouted "AND it's a BEAUTIFUL thing!!" with more than a touch of sarcasm, which led me to believe that despite all the mumbo-jumbo he was still at least partially human. With my suspicions confirmed I went to the front of the line to get down to the dirty business of exposing the corrupt state of affairs going on in the kitchen. My imagination was having a delightful time picturing the way I would describe to Mr. Labor how I had been told to lie, how we did in fact have to tip out everybody and their brother, and how we most certainly had to pay for breakage and mistakes. I was going to be a champion of the masses, a freedom fighter on the level of Gandhi, and a patriot for waitstaff everywhere. That was the case, until I saw where it was that we were going to be having out "private meeting." In the office: NO. In a nice private area of the dining room: NO. Where, you might ask... Where would we have the opportunity to have a heart to heart chat with somebody who might be able to save us from doom and slavery (and the loss of tons of our own dollars, paying for busted up plates?!?) Dead front and center, under the close surveillance of several video cameras and right next to the hostess station, where Bobbi was conveniently located. Although I'm sure that she was keeping a responsible eye on things, not eavesdropping or anything. (See! I can lie!)

My head was in a terrible state at this point and I knew that if I did not lie, as soon as I went back to the kitchen I would be shoved out the back door and kicked like a junk yard dog. I reflected upon the sorry state of my bank account, the pile of bills on my kitchen table and the lack of available jobs in my town (or any town.) I knew at that point, that there was no choice in the matter. I would HAVE to do one of the top things that I AVOID. I was going to have to lie like a rug.... And there was no way that I was going to be able to pull it off because as soon as I sat down my blood pressure went up to 180/240 and clearly a stroke was imminent. "Hello, I'm Mr. Labor" said Mr. Labor, standing to shake my clammy hand, and not reacting well to the fact that my hands felt like the hands of a LIAR!! Wiping his hands on his pants (sorry) we got on with things. "What are your tipping policies here?" he asked sternly "Do you have to tip anyone at the end of the night?" "Um, yeah, um" I said smoothly, and calmly "We have to tip the bartender and ummmm. that's it. yeah, just them" (shut up!! I shouted at myself! Stop talking!) "So just the bar?" he asked again, looking at me with a firm expression "nobody else? Not a bus person? A hostess" THE KITCHEN??" I was in full blown freak out at this time, I could see Bobbi peering at me with slanted eyes and taking notes, I could see that I was directly in the line of the cameras. I wanted to jump up and scream like a freak, and then run out the front door like a crazy person. Gathering my thoughts as best I could I stammered that no, we didn't tip anyone else, and that it was just the bar, and that yes as far as I knew it WAS mandatory to tip the bartender because I had never been told otherwise. I jambled on and on. I could not shut up the word vomit pouring from my mouth. I was red faced and sweaty like a mass murderer under the spotlight of interrogation.. The interview went on for several minutes more, I continued to stammer like a guilty convict, Bobbi continued to give me the stank eye and Mr. Labor clearly did not believe a word I had said. And then it was over, I was allowed to run like a track star back to the relative safety of the kitchen. Where, oddly enough I found most of the staff chirping in indignation about the unjust questions that had been presented to them. At that point they all believed the lies that they had been told to tell (whoa- stop the crazy train right here please so that I can get the hell OFF!)

By far, the best part of the whole adventure was to learn that some of the staff who are supposed to be on the receiving end of out tip-outs at the end of the night had never seen any of that cash. Not a dime, not once! Good to know that we are lining the pockets of management with our hard earned money- really flipping awesome.

The result of this social experiment: OK, so this one was forced upon me and was not my choice! I don't think that I would choose lying as a way to spend my evening. Anyway: EPIC fail. I am a terrible liar and also clearly have no moral fiber since I made the choice to lie (my justification that I HAD no choice is BS- you always have a choice. And I choose to keep my craptastic job.) I'm clearly going to be getting coal in my stocking this year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Flash back: Part Two

"Sigh" I said "The thing I miss about working in a smaller restaurant in an even smaller town is the regulars..." "Regulars" chirped my eager coworkers, scurrying over like cockroaches "what ever are those! We have never heard of such a phenomenon!" "Gather round my friends" I declared grandly "and I will tell you the story of some of the rare oddities of smaller establishments, the over zealous, very eccentric and somewhat wealthy REGULAR!!"

(and now we flash back, several years to another time and place.)

After working in the same place in a small community for several years you learn who is going to come in on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You quickly learn who tips well, who chooses to tip in poorly timed advice and who is just trying out their worst pickup lines on you. (whoo-hoo! snap shizzle!) And occasionally, your patience gets tried by freakazoids who are convinced that they are wealthy and wise, magnanimous and fab. Vom-dot-com....

A couple in their more senior years were regulars on the local restaurant circuit in the village that I used to work in. They would make their presence known every two weeks or so, and would wreak havoc on the order of our system. The reason for this? They would randomly pick a few favorite, and hand out bills of a certain denomination (which, if you were basically willing to bend over to their bizarreness would be worth it.)This would inevitable lead to massive gridlock at their table as employees tried to get a chunk o' change, and would essentially slow down the inner workings of the whole place. They had a few blessed favs that they would hunt down and pay off regardless of their level of suck-up-edness but for the rest of us (them) it was a contest of epic proportions. Who could entertain them the best?!? Regale them with fine fairy tales?!? Do back flips and cartwheels while lit on fire!! You get the picture, the whole staff would rush to their table to parade around their finest party trick. Being that I am a somewhat sarcastic and slightly acidic SOB I refused to take any part in this ass kissing madness and just did my mofo of a job. However, these peeps were tricky buggers and decided on one fine evening to put my mad skills to the test.

These people were a strange study of contrasts. They were old. Yes, I said it- perhaps it's not PC but they were!! The female member of this jaunty pair would regularly wear jeans built for a 16 year old nymph with her stomach support granny panties clearly showing above the waistline, by a subtle 6 to 8 inches. Sexxxxxxy. The gentleman of the relationship would always wear a dapper little suit, and would skeeve over the young male members of the staff. (I've got something in my front pocket for yoouuuuu, why don't you reach in my front pocket and see what it IS!!) So yes, married but gay-ish, old but dressed young: A very fine pair all around wouldn't you say?

On my day of reckoning with them I went thru our usual banter; Mr. Creeper: "Oh little Danny isn't in tonight! What a shaaaaame, I had a little something for him!" Me: "No he has the night off and is spending it at the female strip club." (in my in the head voice.) On this particular evening Ms Control Undies had a very important question for me. "Where ever is that glorious painting" she inquired in her faux brit accent breathy little girl voice "Do you know the one?" she stage whispered , looking at me with her bright blue lined, mascara running weepy eyes. Looking around the room I saw all the paintings in their homes, looking the same as they had for lo those many years. "I don't know what painting you mean" I said "Perhaps you could describe it for me?" "Hmmmmm" she trilled vacantly "It was a lovely little picture, full of pretty ponies and precious monkeys!!" Thinking that this painting was depicting my worst nightmare I said that I simply didn't know where it was. Irked, that his dead sexy 17 year old bus boy wasn't there to play hide the banana with him Mr. Creeper gave me the side-eye. "No??" he said thru his nose "You reaaally don't know that poppish little painting....?? It has been hiding in this wee little room for soooooo many years..." **sigh** I said "Let me ask the manager!" Who, obviously did not know what on earth they were talking about but scampered like a meth addict over to their table to try to get her cut of the daily payout. At this point a line had formed at the table and while I admired my fellow coworkers bringing their A games to table 28 I reflected that perhaps the couple might forget about the lost art. No such luck, 240 years later when I finally made my way back to their table they had both whipped themselves into a frenetic state about the crisis of the painting. Near tears, Ms Control Briefs had one more desperate plea "Are you sure you don't know where it is" she implored "It would so warm my heart to see it again (sniffle) it was so merry, with the monkies PRAHN-CING and DAHN-CING all about!!" "Prancing and dancing monkys?" I said in my super helpful-est voice "merry circus ponies? Nope, have never seen it and don't know where it is." "Hmmmmmm" faux-britted Mr. Creeper "It would mean a nice bitty-wittie bonus for you if you could find it!!" I looked at him. He looked at me. Keep in mind, that at this moment I had 6 other tables who all wanted my attention just as much as they did. Keep in mind, that he thought that he could BUY me and my fracking SOUL!! Calmly, I replied as only one who has never seen credit-card debt can: "No, I have never, ever seen a painting such as that in here." DUM, DUM, DUMMMMM!!! And off I went. Later that evening when they took their leave Mr. Creeper sneakily passed me a rolled up bill. Shocked that despite my Braveheart style declaration of freedom I had still made it into the million dollar club I unrolled the bill. To find a sweet $5 spot.... Awesome. I was so cheesed off my the whole incident that I promptly gave it to the bus kid to go and buy herself some candy with. The charming couple would continue to grace us with their presence on a regular basis until the time of my departure some years later. Although they always tipped well, I never did make the millionaires club- nor did I want to.

Finishing my tale I surveyed my awestruck coworkers who were gathered around me like fat kids around cake. "Tell us more, tell us more" they all cried expectantly. "No my friends" I declared "I must save more tales from normal times for another day, but remember..... No amount of money is worth the price of your SOUL!!!!"

And if you really believe that I ever told my current coworkers any kind of story than y'all are a buncha suckahs....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Many excellent adventures

Obviously the best way to spread the Holiday cheer is to violently scream obscenities at your employees at 10 minute intervals. I mean, DUH everyone knows THAT!

The stress of the Holidays has been taking a toll on Capt Rig, although it appears to have left his vocal cords intact. What a shame, what a shame.

To keep my sanity intact I embarked upon a stealthy adventure to amuse myself. OH EMM GEE people, hang onto your hats!

Adventure number one: I avoid boring my coworkers to death with stories of my life. They do not do the same for me, and due to the fact that I am an excellent listener regularly regale me with cringeworthy stories of their boot-knocking escapades, yawn-inducing tales of their children's school work and tedious tales from the front lines of post divorce dating. Yaaaaawn, yo, YAWN! Anywhoo, I decided it would be profoundly amusing to prattle on endlessly about my fav pet and his recent bout of disease. Complete with pics of the grossness and detailed descriptions of the whole situation. Rock on with my bad self!!

Conclusion of this experiment: Nobody is interested in hearing about other peeps business and I am a much better listener than most. Maybe I have to stop that? As soon as my story reached the really boring parts people just walked on off. Which empowers me to do the same the next time I'm stuck in a corner hearing about things that make me want to puke all down my front. HAH!

Adventure number two: I avoid talking about the middle aged huz at work. Everybody knows that I am part of an uber magical union and therefore am strictly off limits. Everybody else really loves to yap on and on about their ex-husbands, their current boyfriends, or their episodes of ultra creepy stalking. Awesome! Time to join in on the fun and expose the huz as the rascally renegade that he is. Wha-ha-ha!

The conversation one evening turned towards the general incompetence of men in general, something that all of us smokin' hot ladies can certainly relate to. I was all ready to raise my fists and man bash when my conscience caught up to me, and I got all guilty feeling in my heart. Listening to the hair raising chlamydia chaos talk that my coworkers were bringing to the table I realized that I had nothin'. They all turned to me expectantly and I said (weakly) that the huz is really, really bad at doing laundry and also quite poor at putting dishes in the dishwasher. BAD HIM! They all looked at me like I had two heads, and since I had pretty much taken the hate out of the convo we all dispersed.

Conclusion of this experiment: I'll bitch with my bitches, and not with my coworkers. Epic FAIL!

So as long as the Captain continues on in his full on asshat rage, I will continue to conduct odd social experiments on his dime.

Got to do something to save the sanity, no?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

One strike! You're OUTTA HERE!

Upon my arrival to work the other evening I quickly noticed an absence in our midst. Where was my work friend, the female youth of America?

I went on a manhunt (lady hunt? missing waitress hunt? poisonous person hunt? whatev!) I looked in the cooler and by the gelato freezer, I looked in the wait station and by the bar, I looked out the window and under a chair (I looked FREAKING EVERYWHERE!) So I looked at the schedule and it was as thought she had never been born. No sign of her anywhere! DOOM!

There was nobody to ask because they were all out back chugging on their hatorade, so I rustled around feeling confused. After a time I tracked down Marissa and said WTF? In hushed tones over the roar of the salad spinner she explained to me that there had been a MAJOR problem the previous Saturday. Evidently my WF had been the maker of the worst thing in the world: A MISTAKE. She had had a very particular couple of guests and had problems with several parts of their order. Bottom line, it was a situation that could happen to anyone at any time. Despite her best efforts she was unable to make them feel ok about the situation and they left in a very unhappy huff. She came in for work the following day to find that without notice, a warning or phone call she had been taken off the schedule (but oddly enough, only for 2 days.) After her 2 days were up, and after many unsuccessful attempts to schedule a meeting of the minds with Bobbi the Boss she went back on in. To make a very long story short she was fired- but had to literally drag it out of them that that was the case..... Good to know that it's one strike and you're out around here!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A blast from the past. Well, like 5 years ago.

I found this is the archives. It's an oldie but goodie.

Seriously, I have been schlepping food for 5 years and grow exhausted from it. I am tired of food, I am tired of watching people eat, I am tired of the constant noise in restaurants (clinking, clanking, yelling, breaking glass and exhaust fans- which I seriously think are rendering me partially deaf...)

I can quite often come up with humerous stories from the food service front lines- but today I'm telling the tale of the Harpie.

The Harpie is a 70+ year old lady who comes in most Sunday nights with her brow beaten husband. I will attempt to meet them at the door and am ususlly (no kidding) pushed aside by her as she charges in to her favorite table. God forbid that table 7 is occupied- God Forbid. I tried to offer them a different table one night and she grabbed my arm, dug in with her nails and shrieked "We're SITTING THEEEERE." Right you are, off you go. After they are seated I politely introduce myself and offer up a tasty beverage. This is met with "WE ARE NOT DEAF. DO NOT SPEAK IN THAT TONE." Okaay. I lower my voice to a hushed whisper, explain the specials and excuse myself. Every Sunday the Harpie orders sirloin, medium with a baked potato and a salad with bleu cheese. One time, long long ago she got a steak that was closer to medium rare. She has never forgotten that fateful day,despite the fact that she has consumed 2,300 steaks cooked to a perfect medium since then. I go to the table and inquire in my most silent whisper what they would like to have for dinner then I jump back (you'll see why.) "Sirloin" she barks, "Cooked MEDIUM." "Come closer" she says (as I cringe) and like a flash she reaches out and grabs my arm, nails digging in. "It must be done the way I LIKE it" she snarls "OR" (and at this point her beady little eyes narrow to slits and her voice lowers to a hiss) "I will send it back, I will NOT PAY and I won't come back" Oh, if only I could be so lucky I think to myself as I break free and dash to the other side of the table to take the husbands order. I put the order in and run to the kitchen and beg them to please, please send the steak out the second it reaches the right temp. Then I examine my war wounds and contemplate what sort of workplace compensation I can get for nasty-nail scratches. Typically at this point everything goes well, the steak is good, she temporarily forgets that she harbors an unprecedented level of hate for me and I am granted a moments peace. Until that is, the check has to come out...... Always, always without fail there is an item on the check that the Harpie has an issue with. My reflexes at this time have quickened to the point of being able to avoid her freakishly fast arm grabbing routine but I am usually subjected to a verbal beat down. I offer to get the manager, the husband at this point interjects, looks at the bill and reminds Harpie that she did in fact order, eat and enjoy the SIRLOIN and therefore must pay for it. GAHHHHHD, I think as I flee the scene of the disaster about $1 richer for all my troubles.

There are plenty of perfectly nice people who come in to make up for this wretched little woman, but it's the bad ones that you remember to avoid.

My word of wisdom for today is to treat your server nicely, we work very hard and are smart people (much to the dismay of many!!) So be nice people, please and thank you. XXOO MAW

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In which our heroine has a wonderful dream....

I had the best dream ever last night. I wish that I could have plugged a USB into my brain and had the whole thing magically appear on here before it started to fade into the dark passages of my brain. Anyway, here is what I remember.
For one reason or another Captain Rig had been forced out of business. My dream-brain told me that it was becasue he was such a meanie, and also becasue karma is a beeyotch. He had been forced to take up a new and somewhat less illustrious career selling italian food out of the back of a truck at fairs. So in a nutshell, he was a carnie. Along with Mama Rigatoni and Bobbi Rigatoni. It might have been the best dream I have ever had (and it was way cooler in my head than it is here. You all know how that goes.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A very special Holiday Edition....

Wouldn't it me nice if during this oh-so special time of year all of us at Captain Rigaton's developed warm, fuzzy and tolerent feelings towards the world? Read on to see how we all mose certainly do not.....

Christmas arrived early and with a bang at Captain Rigatoni's. All thru the pre-Thanksgiving week we turned that place into a huge, gaudily decorated Christmas Nightmare. My astute observation as we neared the end of the madness was it appeared that Santa Claus had thrown up Holiday spirit everywhere. Being that I refuse to decorate my house, despise all things tchotchke, and have a deep dislike for teddy bears dressed as the three wise men this has been a trying time for me.
It is not mystery that I am in the best physical (and mental) shape of anyone there. This does not usually turn out to be a good thing for me, as I am sent on multiple missions to haul around objects which are larger than myself. When it came time to string the 22,000 feet of garland Jan climbed the step ladder once and in a state of near cardiac arrest declared that it was to be my new favorite job. Let's all pause and count the ways I'm lucky!

Business has continued to be fairly slow, and at the very least being responsible for the creation of the most vomitous Christmas ever keeps the boredom at bay. And, for spying on people being the designated step-ladder wrangler has its advantages.
As I was struggling to heave a dinosaur sized reindeer onto a rafter above my head a piercing screech shattered the silence. Curious, I paused mid-lift and peered down thru the masses of garland, tinsel and reindeer legs. In came a family and several very ornery children. Much to my chagrin, they were placed in very close proximity to my step ladder. Much to the chagrin of all the other patrons in the restaurant, we soon discovered that even the farthest corner of the building was too close.
These kids were fully out of control. The shrieks of hysteria grew louder by the minute and from my excellent vantage point I could see pasta flying in every direction. I thanked my lucky stars that they were seated in an area with easy to mop floors! I was reminded of a child that used to come into the last restaurant I worked in; the aptly named (by us) Rice Baby. It doesn't take too much imagination to figure out how she earned that dubious distinction. She would destroy that place, there would be rice in places that you didn't know rice could get into. It was a bad scene of epic disaster- and to add insult to injury her parents would leave a 12 cent tip and moan in ecstasy about how darling she was. Oh puuuuh-lease!!

The parents of the super-lung-capacity screamers were completely oblivious to the decibel level that their precious little pumpkins were achieving. Also, nobody was taking appropriate parental control over the frantic running thru the aisles of the restaurant. I was becoming concerned that the little sweet munchkins were going to run into my ladder and knock it over, which would have given me just cause to beat them soundly.

I was sensing a different family dynamic and from Spy-central USA I figured out that the men were together as were the ladies. I am a super open minded person and that does not bother me in the least. But Mom's and Dad's- y'all still need to grow a set and take control of your offspring. Even though I am a super relaxed marry-whoever kinda gal it seems some of my coworkers are not- and since the tension due to the noise level was already so high there were definate grumblings from a few people. A few rude comments later and I was smacking people with salad tongs to get them to knock it off- I mean REALLY, show a little kindness!!

By the end of the meal there was pasta, gelato, bread, sauce and who knows what else all over the surrounding area. Waste had been laid to Captain Rigatoni's and there was no end in sight. The server responsible for this table of incredible insanity was on the brink of loosing his cool. He had been grabbed, spat on and smacked and had only just been able to dodge a flung juice cup. "Get them out of here" I declared "They are ON CRACK!!!" "I KNOW" he moaned in despair "I have never seen such a thing. I frigging HATE kids!!" I told him that he did not, he just was a hater of crack babies and parents who won't control them.

Finally they left and as their screams faded the hostess pranced in, all a flutter and a tizzy because she had inside info. "You know those kids that were just here?" she stage whispered "No, WHAT KIDS." I deadpanned. Rolling her eyes she continued "I overheard a long conversation that the Mom's and Dad's were having and all of the kids are adopted. And their biological parents are METH addicts!!!" By this time several other servers had sidled over to catch the gossip of the day. "Holy Crap" was my reply, as I congratulated myself on being fairly accurate with my "crack baby" appraisal "That's a lot to take on!" The server who dealt with that mess was so put out by the whole debacle that he had worked himself up into a fine state. Throwing his hands into the air he declared that he had reached his limit and could be found outside smoking crack. I mean cigarettes.
It took several of us a bit of time to clean the crack baby table and surrounding area. I think that this really goes to show that even during the Holiday season, when all of is are (supposed) to be feeling magnanimous please do not bring your messy meth freak children out and let them cause death and destruction. I might get coal in my stocking for feeling that way but I'm willing to risk it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Youth Of America: Part 2, Where we sing about Troll Tolls

**Note: This episode of MAW is not going to seem very funny if you do not watch It's Always Sunny (especially last season.) You have been warned**

During my time at Captain Rig's the number of funny things that have happened are so small that I can count them on one hand. With one finger (and you know which one, ohhhh snap!) The arrival of the youth of America has not changed that much, or I didn't think so until a few nights ago....

Recently, Karen has taken over the title of the Axis Of Evil in our little world. This is an amazing feat as the trifecta of Bobbi/Ashley/Jan were all well in the running. However, Karen truly is a vile woman with no soul. More on her antics another time.... Anyway, as she spews her vile bile all over us (word vomit, ok?) I think sarcastic things in my head and am so glad that she is not a mind reader!! Essentially, any chance to give her a hard time id very much looked forward to- and almost impossible to find. (and unlike Jan- giving her trouble does not get her to lighten up. it makes her mad!)

It was a slow night, which is the norm at this time of year. It gives me plenty of time to think about how lucky I am that I do not have a bubble over my head that all my thoughts pop into. Boredom makes everyone crabby, and as I observe their grouchiness I run a bit of inner commentary- not always polite. As I made my way to the server station to help Random Male Youth Of America learn how to make a cappuccino Karen stepped out and blocked my path. She was in an unusually jovial mood, and this was her way of having a laugh. "No entry" she declared "until you pay the toll." "Hmmmm" I mused aloud "Would that be a TROLL TOLL Karen?" RMYOA's head snapped up in interest at the change in events. Piping in he said "Yep. You have to PAY the Troll Toll, to get into the boy's (long pause) SOUL?!!" Snapping my fingers solemnly, I continued in severe monotone and with a stern expression "You have to pay the TROLL TOLL to GET IN." At this point we were both snapping along in rhythm, and reaching the end of our tune, we firmly declared in unison "TROLL TOLL" Completely baffled and looking rather gob smacked Karen declared us both to be certifiably insane, and retarded. To her retreating back I said "It's ok that you don't get it Karen, it's NATURE, shit HAPPENS there's nothing you can do!" I heard a little humming from the RMYOA which sounded suspiciously like a mention of karate and friendship for everyone.... We mentally high fived each other, and continued with the day like nothing ever happened. Freaking. Awesome.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Youth Of America, Part 1

At Captain Rigatoni's I am indeed a middleagedwaitress in the sense that my age accurately represents the median of the employees (but median-aged-waitress does not have the same cheerful ring to it..) There are the crusty old codgers along with a rather sudden appearance of the Youth Of America.

I have befriended one of these innocent young things, in the hopes of corrupting her youthful mind. Just kidding, it's more along the lines of "the new people have to stick together." Spending time at work with her makes me reminisce about my younger days. (which is not something that I long for wistfully, believe me.) I wonder fairly often, if she is actually as innocent, naive and hopeful as she seems or am I just jaded, flawed and old? Psssssh- we're certainly going with the first choice on this! Poor girl, she in under the terribly misguided impression that the world can be changed if she speaks up. She is still basking in the youthful glow of hope, that her words can change a nation. Or in our case, the kitchen. Sadly, what she does not see is that by saying what is on her mind she is being labled as a "complainer and troublemaker" and her stock is going down in the eyes of the management. I have gently attempted to guide her in a different direction, one that I call "shut the f%%&&** UP!!" as sadly, one "BAD SEED" makes life a bit tricky for the rest of us. Don't get me wrong- she is right in what she is speaking up about. However, in CR's twisted system the mention that something might not be quite right is a huge offence. (which is the #1 sign of a dysfunctional company, according to my sources.)

This gal and I "hang out" at work- meaning that we fold many thousands of napkins, slice forty billion croutons and speak in hushed tones in code about our magical work experiences.

The trouble with this little arrangement is that when Bobbi sees us together she imagines that we are creating a force against her. A Dumbledore's Army, if you will. DUN, DUN, DUN, DUNNNNNNN!!!!! (that's doom music.) Bobbi thinks that instead of chatting about our houses, pets and husbands/boyfriends we are probably talking about overtaking her evil empire (which we clearly are.)

All of this insanity came to a head the other evening when abruptly, at 8:45 (on a Friday night) the Youth Of America was cut- and so was I. I was baffled, to say the least because to cut people that late on a Friday is unheard of. Fortunately, one of the other new girls (who is old like yours truly) snagged me and dragged me into the walk in cooler. "You have to hear this" she said- nervously looking around for any signs of ears on the walls "You, and the rest of the YOA are being POISONED against this place by your work friend- according to Bobbi." "WHAT" I screeched indignantly, "WTF???" "No, seriously" she continued with gravity "You have to watch your back." "Hmmm" I sniffed" with irritation "I am clearly going to have to find a remedy for this poison....."

In real life, a situation like this would make me want to really create some sort of force against crazy unstable Bobbi, and slowly take over her Empire of Hate. But, I know better. If she continues to think that we are all doing the Devil's work she will systematically cut our shifts until all of us are forced to quit. So, I dished out a bug ration of (skewed) reason to the YOA and persuaded them to keep the complaining to a minimum.

Stay tuned to see if my advice fell upon deaf ears....

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wait, did I take a wrong turn and end up back in third grade?

Never ever, have I ever worked in a place where the staff has their behinds so firmly planted in high school. I'm simply not the kind of middleagedwaitress that sneaks around like a creeper, listening to peoples innocent convos, reading all sorts of things into them and then ZOOM scampering off to the manager to tattle. Why, you might ask? Why not jump on the bandwagon of tattle tailing mania since it seems to be the cool thing to do? Hmmm, because I am not 7 years old perhaps.

I had the audacity the other evening to suggest the fact that I had other things going on in my life outside of Captain Rig's (gasp!) The setting was a lighthearted chat about vacations (what are those?) and how if the opportunity arose to take one I would jump, no LEAP at the chance. "Well" snipped my coworker "You couldn't go then, or then, or then because you'd have to be here." Looking at her out of the corner of my eye with a fairly high level of amusement/disgust at her unyielding dedication to our fab job I suggested that I could probably manage to get over the terrible guilt, especially if there were palm trees and cocktails involved. My tone was clearly one of jest, and her expression was clearly one of horror in the fact that I could so betray my loving and tender employers in such an appalling fashion. She literally scuttled off to promptly tell Bobbi that I was a slacker, sub par employee and that I shouldn't be there. HAH!!

Basically, everywhere you turn at Good Old CR's there is somebody stabbing somebody else in the back. It's par for the course and I have become fairly good at ignoring everyone else's drams. Or at least getting a bit of amusement out of it.

Stay tuned for my next episode of tales from the world of insanity to see what happens when, against my will, I become a victim of the drama llama!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gosh, I don't know if I can count that dang high!

You can tell a lot about a person by what they want to drink. I feel that after spending 42,000 years on the front lines of the chaos I'm a pretty good judge of what sort of beverage might suit your needs. Chardonnay and White Zin remain the highest selling items for the ladies, Cosmos have fallen out of style in the past few years but are still pretty popular as are most combos of vodka/citrus whatev/cranberry. Yuck. For the men I can usually guess that you'll have "what's on tap" (um, the ONE beer??) or a one-mix mixed drink. Age plays a part in this as well, with those crazy youngsters wanting margaritas of one sort or another, and the more mature crowd wanting the old standbys like gibson's, and your run of the mill gin-martini-up-olives-side-ice.
I decided from an early age that if I were ever to have the misfortune of dating a boy who drank purple hooters or sex on the beaches I would kick him to the curb. Thank heavens on our first date the middle aged huz drank a sensible beer!!
Men trying to impress their dates will often ask for wine using ridiculous and misunderstood terminology. I love this very much and try to hang around to listen to their insane wine-expert speak. It's typically something fantastic like this: "Oh, this chardonnay is so very smooth. It hits you with butter in the front of the palate and rose petals and unicorn breath in the back. There are also lingering hints of leprechaun's gold and bricks." Yes, just like that! Always good for a laugh.
I had a table of two the other evening who informed me that they were from the Very Big City and wanted some Seriously Good Service. Oh No! I struggled to pull my frumpy dumpy country bumpkin head from my bum in order to perform to their high standards. Inwardly rolling my eyes I took their drink order, taking into account the door knob sized diamond that the maybe 23 year old female wore, and the AARP card carrying boyfriend/fiance. Not that there is anything wrong with that, seriously. I digress. After raving about the amazing liquor selection that Capt Rig's has (which is oh, so wrong. There is not one bottle of high or mid end scotch or whiskey, the best rum is Captain Morgan's, There is no good vodka or gin- you get the pic) the female ordered a Hypnotic martini. OMG, like totally!!!! I brought it to her and she was all "OMG, this is so nasty." I said "OMG, no kidding! hypnotic tastes like gum!!!" (in my head.) Her fix was to add more hypnotic, but there was none to be found. So I consoled her with some sort of cosmo made from extra fruity infused vodka, and lots of pink juice and garnishes. She was veryvery excited and told me so, using all sort of tricky to understand (for my country bumpkin ears) words such as "LIKE" "TOTALLY" "OMG" and "HEHEHE." Her Fiancee then decided that he wanted one too (kick to the curb) and he explained to me very slowly (so that I could understand his technical city-speak) that he wanted extra pink garnishes and a side of rocks. Barely able to hold this impossible directive in my head I scampered off to get him a tampon and to take his man card once and for all.
These cute little people continued drinking ridiculous things in various shades of pink and purple, and continued to speak to me like I was an Appalachian hillbilly. Which was awesome. When the check finally was ready to be picked up I had had about enough of their shenanigans, and when I was asked to give them change for a large bill I said (oh dear) that I simply didn't know if I could count so dang high. And I kid you not, Mr. AARP gave me a calculator. It just about killed me when they left me a really big tip- not sure if they felt bad or thought i needed the money to take care of my inbred starving babies. We'll never know...
And the moral of the story is: Hypnotic is not high class, coming from "the big city" does not automatically make you high class, and treating your server like she is 50% retarded is also not high class. Let that be a lesson to you all!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Excellent Jan-isms

As the months pass on, I have grown oddly fond of Jan. To be sure, she is a cold hearted snake and certainly not the most friendly or personable individual but she is quite honest about this. She also has the ability to say things that are so painfully obvious that they make me laugh hysterically, after I slap her for being suck an epic dork. I have some fine examples prepared for your amusement...

The scene: The end of the night at the restaurant. Time for me to clean up the salad station! Uh-Oh, I am not able to find the kind of bag that I usually put the lettuce in. Time to find Jan!!
Me: "Jan, I can not find the normal lettuce bags. Shall I take a trash bag from over by the dish washing station?"
Jan: "Yes. BUT IT CAN'T be a DIRTY Bag! The lettuce can NOT go in a dirty BAG!!!!"
Me: Feigning complete ignorance "It can't?? Really??" (slaps Jan upside the head) "DUH!!" "I am not 50% retarded. I know that lettuce can not go in a DIRTY bag..."

The scene: The beginning of the night. The chairs need cleaning.
Jan: "You know that when I said that the chairs need to be cleaned it means the WHOLE CHAIR, RIGHT??"
Me: (puts on the worlds dumbest expression, complete with slack-jaw and big wide eyes.) "Nooooooo, they dooooooo?"
Jan: (getting quite worked up) YES, I mean the BACKS, the BOTTOMS, THE LA-DE-DA BLAH, BLAH BLAHRGH."
Me: (interrupting ranting.) "JAN, NO CRAP!" Calm Yourself!!"
Jan: "Don't make me hurt you"
Me: "You couldn't even if you tried....."

The scene: The gellato cooler, prior to opening.
Jan: (working frantically to remedy the mistake that my fully incompetent self has left her poor weary hands to deal with.)
Me: (in head) "Ummm. Hmmm. Where's the fire?" (in out-loud voice) "Jan why are you taking all of the gellato out of the cooler."
Jan: "Because you put in all the WRONG GELLATO!!!! xx**##@@
Me: (confused to the max) "How can that be? I took it out of the freezer like always!"
Jan: "It should be coning out of THE OTHER FREEZER!!!"
Me: "What other freezer. I had no idea there was another freezer."
Jan: "Well you should have asked."
Me: "Why on earth would I have asked that? I had no reason to think that there would ever be more than one gellato freezer!"
Jan: "Well, you should have KNOWN!"
Me: (massages temples with exaggerated motion of irritation.) "OK Jan. No problem. I will just read your mind and continue to learn my osmosis...."
Jan: "I'm going to kill you"
Me: "I might kill you first."
Jan: "You can't! You would already be dead!"
Me: "No, I'd just be faking to trick you."

The scene: Busy busy night. Many things to do.
Me: "I just dried 4 racks of silver, put away 5 racks of glasses, ran food, took care of my tables and still have enough energy to give you trouble."
Jan: "Well. How cone I didn't see you doing any of that?"
Me: "Hmmm. Just because you didn't see it happen doesn't mean it didn't. And maybe because you are hard of sight? Or because I'm unusually fast and clever?"
Jan: Takes a swipe at me which I easily dodge...

The final scene: The VERY end of the night. We are all leaving. As we walk out Jan makes the horrific discovery that one salt shaker is missing several grains of salt. Unable to contain her disgust at the laziness and inability of her coworkers she goes into full blown ranting.
Jan: "I had better not get that section tomorrow!!! All of you are going to catch hell from me!!!" ....and as she exits the building her voice reaches a raspy fever pitch.... "YOU.... ARE.... ALLLLL..... DOUCHE BAGS!!!!" she screams into the night.
ME: walking with coworker, laughing hysterically. "Well, that just about says it, doesn't it?"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I AM: The chosen one. For today....

I am being left alone.
I have been allowed to take parties bigger than 4 (ahhmazing...)
Perhaps I am invisible? Awesome....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ohhhh, Canada!

Oh, Canada! The many wonderful things you bring us: snaggletoothed hockey players, questionable beer (Molson anyone??), the expression "dooontcha knooo" and Shania Twain (right? I'm pretty sure.) I like you Canada, I like that you have superrad healthcare, the law that people can booze it up at 18 and the fact that you measure your roads in kilometers, which confuses the bejeebers out of me. I must confess though, you have sent me some really atrocious tippers during the past few weeks. That gives you a terrible, terrible reputation (at least in my little world.)

I was inundated with a Canadian estrogenfest during my last shift. While this proved to be an excellent distraction from The Flighty Waitresses's lamentations about her prom night dumpster babies, I was not altogether delighted to see their perky Canadian faces. I knew that this table was going to burden me with requests for bloody mary's made with clamato juice, create complex orders, nickel and dime me to death and then ask for split checks. Which I would refuse to do because I don't have to and I'm not a complete nincompoop.

Sure enough, they all ask for water with lemon "and a couple containers of sugar, eh?" (homemade lemonade! what a splendid idea!) and Bloody Mary's with the bizzaro Clamato juice, which we do not have because it is disgusting. When I brought them their ingredients for their self created drink of choice one of them bumped me and all the waters cascaded down the tray and into my ample bosom. Better than of the floor. Attempting to heroically stabilize my tray I commented that I was clearly a pro to have made such an amazing save. And then..... The same lady bumped me AGAIN (and I had moved! she had the flying elbows of terror!!) My luck had run out and a glass went flying to the floor with an earsplitting crash. They all rolled their eyes at my horrific incompetence which I thought was a bit rude since I had been crashed into, not once but twice. Since I'm a helluva good sport I laughed off the rudeness and invasion of my personal space and cleaned up the big glassy mess. Very pleased to say that I only lost 2 or 3 fingers in the process!

After a lengthy explanation on my part regarding the rules and regulations of splitting entrees "it is a $6 charge to share an entree. No, I have to charge you even if you eat from the same plate. No, I do not make the rules around here. No, we still do not have any clamatto...." they ordered and off I went. These ladies really did not want to pay for their food (and who does really? but if it's all that bad maybe scamper on off to the Mickey D's??) some ordered apps as entrees, perfectly acceptable and something that I have done before- and then sneakily shared their neighbors food. In my Very Smart Brain this is no big deal- go ahead and share, live it up! have a good time! But in Capt Rig's world this kind of behavior is on par with first degree murder and is not to be tolerated. I had to intercept Jan many times so that she would not go over there and bust them (me, actually because she would have thought I was in on the food sharing conspiracy.)

In the end, they finished up pretty happy and were ready to leave. They were ready to leave NOW, or maybe yesterday. BUT they wanted me to divide their check, to split some of the prices of the entrees in 1/3's, and to give them my best song and dance routine while I was at it, all while balancing a plate of food on my nose in the manner of a trained seal. ME: "Not gonna happen, cheapskates." (it does say right on the menu that we DO NOT split checks, and it is honestly frowned upon because so many mistakes can happen what with the archaic check system that is implemented there.) I also have many years of knowledge under my belt and know that even if I painstakingly split up the check they would only leave me twelve cents so it's not worth my time and trouble. (this is how bitter waitresses are created- we all start out so hopeful and innocent only to have our dreams of world domination dashed by large parties of foreigners!) All was fairly well in the end, because I did not split the check I got the bill to the lickety-split and they skedaddled, leaving me closer to forty cents than twelve. Lucky me! I planned to head right out for a major vacation with all the sweet moolah that they had so kindly left for me...

Oh Canada. Whatever are we going to do with you?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Knife..... Behind you.

Just a few words of wisdom from out middleaged heroine today:
Interesting how a few little words can take on a whole new meaning in the right situation. In the literal sense, "knife behind you" means something exceptionally obvious "I'm passing behind you with an enormous meat cleaver and I do not wish for you to suddenly spin around and catch it between the shoulder blades." Given a different set of circumstances you can see "knife behind you" in a whole new way. I definitely feel that there are a lot of knives behind me on any given day in Hell's Kitchen. The harpies spend a lot of time sharpening their collection of santokus in order to be ready to pounce at any given moment. One must develop eyes in the back of their head, or equip themselves with a rearview mirror in order to stay out of harms way.... I have no such mirror, so I will have to work on my back-vision.
It pleased me to see the lot of them all pulling (figurative) knives on one another the other evening and leaving me out of the mess. I needed a quiet evening to recover after the "f-ing POS lazy waitress" incident, as that took a bit of the spring out of my step. To get thru my next shift I amused myself by pretending that I could not see or hear anyone else. For a couple hours I also imagined that I had absolutely no need to speak to anyone (and was a bit alarmed when I discovered that it took two hours for a real need to speak to present itself!) These things, paired with the fact that all of the lovely ladies who I work with had turned on each other made things tolerable, if not enjoyable.
Much to my dismay Ashley had taken a shine to me again (whiplash! arrrrrgh!) and filled me in on all the disturbing details of her dysfunctional ex-relationships and her blooming new love life. Ewwwww. Now, I am not a prude and am always intrigued to hear the tales of love (and other things) if it happens to be an actual friend of mine doing the story telling. I might have mentioned before that Ashley is not, NOT my BFF and to get the sordid details of her most recent conquest, in HD level detail is a bit more than this middleaged waitress can tolerate. I am still trying to erase some of her more vivid comments from my imagination, not that her details left much for my imagination to elaborate on. Oh dear! I must admit, that I am torn between what I like less: Mean, spiteful "knife behind you" Ashley, or broken hearted but lovestruck and sex-starved Ashley. Ick.
Once again, Jan proved to me that she is nothing if not honest. "Knife behind you" she rasped, as she trundled past me in the kitchen "and I might just stick it in you." Um-hmmm, I appriciate that level of brutal honesty. At least I know where I stand (or shouldn't stand, perhaps?)
Anyway, I continue on in an attempt to preserve my last shreds of dignity and fricking self respect. I am hoping to develop the superhero skills to avoid knives in the dark, although I think bringing in my own collection of freshly sharpened deboning knives might be my best bet... (watch out ladies. knife behind YOU! hahahah!)
(ps from author, I am really not scary enough to bring knives anywhere in reality. I'm pretty friendly as a rule. I don't want cops banging at my door....)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The world is a Vampire. And not the sexy kind.

All of you cool kids from my middleaged generation know what I mean from my blog title today. Essentially, that the world (AKA my life & times at Capt Rig's) is draining the life blood/soul/will to live from me and that soon I will walk among you as one of the undead. Sadly, I am not making reference to having a fleet of heart-throbby Bill Compton's or Edward Cullen's prancing their immortal selves around making everything all sexy. (which is too bad really, either of them would distract me nicely from the Evil people I work with.)
Very bad night at Capt Rig's last night. My head is in a very bad, dark place right now.....
I had previously written quite a long post about the events of last evening. It was bitter, verbose and thoroughly detailed the interactions and exchanges that happened thru the course of the evening. But I erased it, due to the fact that it was just TMI and I do not want to bore my readers (I also do not want you to think that I am a pathetic looser for tolerating this crap. Which I am not, I am not a quitter though and I have dedication and tenacity. Suuuuuure...)
So here you go.

Dear Staff at Captain Rigatoni's,
Why does it feel to me, every time I step in the door as though I have gone in a time machine back to High school? Is it because you are all petty backstabbing little people with no regard for each others feelings? I think this is quite accurate. You might not like me, because I refuse to engage in petty conversations with you about how the other staff members look, smell, walk and talk. But I do not care. I can still look at myself in the mirror and know that I did not bad mouth anyone because of things that they simply can not help. Also, I know that you most certainly talk about me the same way when I am not listening because you do it to each other, even the people you declare your undying friendship to. This is not nice way to act, young ladies, and what goes around comes around.
Why, when we run out of something earth changing like liners for the bread baskets can you not simply ask for more? Why (Bobbi) must you steamroll into the kitchen and call me a "fucking piece of shit waitress" and also call me lazy? Is that a nice way to speak to someone, especially someone who is much smarter and kinder and clearly cuter than you? I look at your skinny stilettos and consider kicking them and watching you take a nasty tumble. That would be very bad for you, so watch yo' mouth when you talk to me suckah....
Why, when you do not take the time to tell me how you want something done (Ashley) and it still comes out looking just the same way that it does every single day must you run around telling all the other servers that it looks like shit? Either show me exactly how you want it done, or please kindly shut up about it. I do not have time to listen to you ranting about my idiocy when you have put zero effort into making sure things are done to your high standards. Also Ashley, please start lifting some weights or similar if you insist upon being so critical of everyone else's physique. I hate to tell you, but you are painfully far from being a Maxim cover girl. Gosh.
Ashley and Jan, you two are normally such nice people that I was shocked to overhear you talking smack about me behind my back. You tried pretty hard to cover your ample behinds when I walked in like stealth but it was too late. Perhaps it was not enough that I was carrying a rack of glasses, two checks, a bag of takeout food and a stack of plates out when I last left the kitchen. I'm sorry that you think I am not working hard enough at removing things from the kitchen, I'll really buckle down and get right on that. I might need an extra arm, but I am sure I have one in my closet at home.
And table 27. I honestly am sorry that a $10 bill fell on the floor when I got you your change. But, you let me know and I was actually able to find it (and if I had not, I would have given you a $10 out of my tips- obviously.) You were so happy with the rest of your meal, and since I fixed things for you so quickly why did you stiff me and leave me no tip? I was not trying to steal your money. I was not trying to steal your husband or your first born child. I am sorry that you are asshats.
I'm sorry Staff at Capt Rigs, but you can not push me out and force me to quit. You are messing with the wrong lady. Yes, you are making me very unhappy but I am not going to let all of you know that and I am NOT going to let you bulldoze me out the door. So screw all of you.
Love and hugs,

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Please take your meds. Please do not be a close talker and a space invader!

Sometimes working with Capt Rig and Co reminds me of how one might feel if one had an Aunt who was completely off her rocker. Unlike when you have a cuckoo parent or spouse, an Aunt (or similar) you would only have to deal with occasionally and you'd feel ok about avoiding her at times because maybe she'd have a spouse to deal with her unpredictable shenanigans. However, you would still see her from time to time and would move around her with great trepidation, unsure if she was going to hug you and give you a cookie, or punch you in the face and then kick at your unconscious body. Yikes!
Not only is Capt Rig really insane and unpredictable, in the manner of an enraged ticking time bomb but the staff is pretty bipolar as well. It is a daily question, "Am I going to be everyone's BFF today? Or are they all going to be pretending that they can not see me? Or is it going to be let's all criticize and berate the new-girl day?" This level of inconsistency tends to make one slightly on edge. And when I say slightly on edge I mean seconds away from having a complete coronary. This past weekend was a prime example of waving goodbye to a group of people who passionately hate your guts, and to go back the next day and to be welcomed with loving arms. Oh man-it's a whole lotta crazy.
In other news....
The new girl who I have been referring to as Shrek got sick of the madness and quit on Saturday. I was hoping that she might have taken a stand and left in the middle of a huge dinner rush. Thinking about the chaos that would have created was amusing to me for a moment, until I learned that she had simply given her notice. Boooooring! Poor Shrek, I hate to be a critical mean beeyotch but she was truly horrendous. Not only was she very bad waitress, and a person with very questionable taste in professional waitressing attire but she was well on her way to becoming (ahem) "An Enforcer." I was pouring myself a sensible coffee the other evening in a strofoam cup designed for just that purpose. She snuck up behind me, heavily mouth breathing. "HEY" she panted "WHAT" I said with an unseen eye roll. "You are going to get in big trouble for having that cup out here. We are not allowed to have those OUT HERE." "I know we are not allowed to have cups in the dining room" I replied with exaggerated patience "But I can not move the coffee to the kitchen with my mind so I must bring the cup to the pot." "Well whatever" she said, pushing her thick glasses up her nose with great disgust in my inability to comprehend the gravity of the situation "but seriously, you're going to be in big trouble." "I'll take my chances" I declared as I attempted to edge past her enormous bulk. Later that evening I was greeting a table when I felt eyes boring a hole in the back of my head. Peeking out of the corner of my eye I saw Shrek (actually I saw the peaks of her pointy frizzy hairdo in the edge of my peripheral vision.) As I recommended some drink choices I heard the heavy mouth breathing draw closer and closer. The hairs on the back of my neck definitely started to stand on end. As I prepared to walk away from the table I could feel her sweaty presence within inches of my back and I was not pleased with her intrusion upon my personal space. "Shrek" I declared to her in my Giving-A-1st-Grader-A-Talking-To voice "I Need for you to NOT be so CLOSE to me when I'm at a table. Or anytime, to be honest with you." "Oh Gosh" she simpered "I was just standing there to see if you needed anything." (Calm, deep breaths. Remember, it is bad karma to be rotten to someone who clearly can not help herself.) Very calmly and patiently, I explained to Shrek that I did need something, and that was for her to please remember that a waitress needs her freaking personal space, and does NOT need to be panted upon.
My kind and patient advice was all for naught though, since Captain Rig made her life so hellacious that she had to quit. The day after she gave her notice she came back for another round of torture. Capt Rig was expediting on the line, which is so scary that it gives me the cold sweats and heart palpitations. I have to remind myself, as I feel the panic setting in that he is just a person. A very scary person. And that I need to not let him scare the bejeebers out of me, because I am BIG and TOUGH! RAWWWWR! If I had given my notice I would have stayed as far from that line as possible- but not Shrek. Being totally clueless (poor thing) she stepped right up and called back the food for a big party. Completely and utterly wrong. There was a gigantic pause in the kitchen as we all collectively held our breaths and waited for the ax to fall. Capt Rig's eyes bulged, he took a huge breath and prepared to eat her alive. And then..... He exhaled. "F**K it" He declared "I'm in a good mood today and I'm not going to let any of yous bring me down." And indeed he was- instead of screaming at us at the end of the night he told us all to get a pastrami sandwich at a deli he had discovered earlier in the day. It was completely insane, and a prime example of the epic mood swings that each day at Capt Rig's delivers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

In which our Heroine screws up. And introduces you to some of her favorite people....

There is no motivator as great as a Holiday weekend to get Captain Rig all up in a fine fury. His rage had been building for a couple weeks, and the blatant incompetence of his staff of clowns had just become too much for him to handle. We all know the drill by now- "WHY do I pay ANY of you F***ING IDIOOOOOT CLOWNS!!!" What are all of YOUS thinking??? All of YOUS are ruining my business- CAPTAIN RIG isn't doing anything wrong but all of YOUS ARE!!!" The constant reference to himself in the third person plus his lack of discrimination of the popular word "YOUS" made for some very interesting rants. There was an epic issue with the bread. Yes people, the bread. On a busy night when the bread baker is running late and the bread doesn't come out of the oven until 15 minutes before opening it is tempting to start slicing it up while it is still warm. We're talking about 1,000 slices of bread that need to be butchered (along with a few fingers) before that special little task is completed. With this in mind one of the newer staff members went for it and started slicing away, gingerly attempting to protect the warm bread from breaking. Well, this caused an atomic bomb of fury to go off in the kitchen. We were all summoned, and lectured for many many minutes about the level of idiocy that this particular person showed with the premature slicing. We were all kindly, and lovingly reminded that the restaurant would continue to run fine without all of us and that if we did not start shaping up we were going to be asked to ship out. And if we continued to MAKE HORRIBLE waste of Capt Rig's amazing product that we could go and F**K ourselves (all said in loving tones. clearly.) When some of the bread had cooled sufficiently to insure that I would not have any of my fingers chopped off for bad behavior, I rescued it from it's hostile home in the kitchen and stuck it in a basket to bring to the waitress station. As I arrived at my destination the unthinkable happened: The basket broke. All 5 loaves fell to their doom. NOOOOOOO!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!! I actually anticipated that Hell's Minions would rapidly descend upon me and poke me with those little pitchforks that Devils are known to have. When nothing happened I made a very reasonable decision that the 5 second rule clearly applied in this situation and that I was going to take my chances that the ever-present surveillance camera had missed my accident. I dusted those loaves off and rebasketed them. (and I continue to nervously await my fate. Will an instant replay of camera #7 at 4:11 on Friday seal my fate?? We shall seeeeeee....)
Mistakes, horrible fate deciding accidents and Hell's Kitchen fury out of the way I continue to see some interesting character development from my fellow staff members. It is critical to note that I am the lone survivor from the first round of post summer hiring's. Why is this, we all might ask. Am I certifiably insane? A masochist? Secretly in love with Captain Rigatoni (oh, GOD. I'd rather be alone and celibate FOREVER, so we can rule that one out) Or am I just a glutton for severe and constant punishment? Beats me, but I know that I continue going in several days a week in hopes that I can just do my freaking job and not get in big huge trouble for having my drying rag (It's NOT A RAG, it's a TOWEL) in back of my hip bone instead of in front. Gosh.
My coworkers, (along with the fact that the "rules" change every 48 hours whether they need to be changed or not) are what make this job horrendous. Oops, I mean enlightening and meaningful. Ok, ok in all fairness there are one or maybe two people who have a heart that is not made from rotten apples, but they are few and far between. And soon going back to their homeland (read on, friends.) Let's take a moment to talk about the players in this dirty little game called survival of the fittest (and YES. I am FIT.)

JAN: Ahh Jan, how I love you. Your patience, your willingness to kindly show me the ropes and to gently tell me how I could improve my evil ways. You are the wind beneath my wings, Jan. You inspire me to greatness, make me long to have a Grand Canyon sized chip on my shoulder, and you help me to become the best I can be.
Shall we all take a moment to gag? As I have already mentioned Jan is second to Capt Rig in the competition to be the Axis of Evil. She is rude, crude and loves to tell you how much of an idiot you are and how wrong you are. She is pretty much a beeyotch, and that's that.
One good thing about our sweet and lovely Jan. She is an honestly rotten person- she actually admits that she is horrible and does not try to play her bitchiness off as being "nice." she is also very consistent in her level of awfulness, and there is never a doubt that she will act nasty. I enjoy giving her a hard time and watching her get all wound up about it. "F**K off, middleaged waitress" she will tell me. And oddly, she says it in a way that kinda warms my heart (and I'm not kidding, which proves that I am quickly sliding off the deep end! ahhh!) Jan is one of the group of divorced, and angry 40-something year olds who are in a deep rage over the failure in their relationships. This is too bad. and so not my prob.

Ashley: A very bad person who tries to come off as the "sweet one." Ashley, let me let you in on a tiny little secret- you are NOT fooling anyone. Just because you don't yell as loud as Jan, just because you are slightly less trollish ion your appearance, just because YOU passively-aggressively try to play off your cutting comments- just because YOU don't hit the freak out button quite as hard- does not make you a nice person. If our little pal Ash was not BFF's with Bobbi, Capt Rig's sister she would probably try to compete for the Axis of Evil award too. But she tries to play the nice card because of the "friend" status. The nicest thing about Ashley is that you can be her best new girlfriend one day, and her biggest enemy the next. This might bum me out if A: I actually wanted her to be my friend, or B: if I gave a shit. Which I do not. Ashley is not divorced, but has recently ended an off again on again many year relationship. She is very angry and bitter about this and will tell anyone willing to listen all about it. Lucky them.

Julio: One of the few male members of the staff. Also one of the only nice ones. Julio comes to the US for a few months every year, to support his family in Columbia. He is fracking fabulous, and one of the few people who seems to have a grasp on reality. His English is not the best- but he fully understands what everyone around him is saying. When he gets sick of listening to Jan's endless snarking he runs away crying "no comprende! no comprende!" He regularly announces that everyone working at Capt Rigs is "crazy garbage" which is a remarkably accurate assessment. His tables are quite taken with his broken English and he makes boatloads of cash. Sadly, he is leaving us to return to his Fam in just a few days. Which means there will possibly be zero normal people left in Hell's Kitchen. Awesome.

Gina: so I'm in the kitchen with Gina the other evening when the call goes out to run an onion soup. She calls the order back (and when you "call it" you "CALL IT", like in 6th grade when you would "call" dibs on the cutest boy.) since she called it I did not, and went about my business. "HEY" she snipped at me "YOU really should have taken that SOUP." I pointed out to her that SHE had called it, and that it is strictly forbidden to steal someone's "called item." That threw her on her fanny for a moment, and I watched as she struggled to find her words. "WELL" she bitched "If you had called it I would not have had too." (no shat.) I was baffled/bemused by her line of thinking and pointed out that when someone calls back an order instantly it is challenging for someone else to do the same. At this point she had no leg to stand on and was very sad to have lost an argument. That pretty much sums up her personality. She is in the cool-kids-club of 40 something divorcees who are very, very angry, and are dealing with all sorts of child support/custody problems. **sigh** I hope that crap isn't contagious.

And finally for today....

Dan: Dan seems to be a pretty good person. He is in his own part of the cool kids club which we will refer to as amicably divorced with shared custody. He is a plethora of information and seems to be hesitant to chuck people under the bus.
He is what those of us in the industry refer to as a lifer, or a pro-server (meaning that not only does he not claim to have a higher ambition but he also takes serving very seriously- like VERY SERIOUSLY.) I admit that Dan is one of the best servers that I have seen in action, but I can not listen to him without having the urge to crack up. You can tell that he is trying to make an art form out of table waiting- he has the hand gestures, the waiterly accent, the correct pronunciation, he is super into it. And because I am a card carrying member of the ass-hats club I constantly have the urge to make fun of him. (which he would NOT take kindly too.) HOWever, I am so appreciative that he is not a royal raging miserable cow like the rest of THEM that I'll try to keep my teasing thoughts to myself.

So, there are a few of the key members of Capt Rig's restaurant of insanity. In the past the people I have worked with have played a small part in what might make an evening interesting. Here, they ARE what makes the evening interesting....

Friday, October 9, 2009

Give me your money, not your love. (Or your life story..)

Working in a big gigantic restaurant like Captain Rigatoni's definitely allows one to see a huge melting pot of customers. Unlike where I used to work, where 90% of business was driven by locals at Capt Rig's 99% of business is made up of tourists.
This is a rather interesting dynamic, and certainly brings a lot of variety and non English speaking people to the table (haha). Here's the thing about tourists though- either they are out and about having the time of their lives and throwing cash around like it is their job, or they are really cross because their vacation is costing them so much so they hold on to every dollar as tight as possible. This brings me to a very good point- if you can't afford to tip (or claim to not know how **ahem** French Canadians) stay home and have a cup of Ramen!
At work the other evening I had a good variety of people, all in different moods and situations. Things started off poorly, with a table of 4 non english speakers. "No English" they declared as I told them the specials "No French" I replied, sighing sadly to myself. Things went fine, they pointed at what they wanted (they read English? I don't know) and gestured vigorously for more water and pretty much ran me around. As expected, they left me something like an 8% tip, and I'm sure that they felt that was going to pay my 2 mortgages just fine and dandy. The good thing about the foreigners is that they do not demand too much of my time, at least from a conversational perspective. Some of the more local tourists love to tell me about their kids, grandkids, travels, psychic friends, medical maladies, horrible divorces, you name it- it's fair game to tell the waitress. If I'm really bored on a slow night I quite enjoy these little exchanges. However! If I am running around in a full house of starving people I do not have time to hear about Grammas run in with the hostile postal worker.... After spending serious bonding time at a table, sympathizing and offering an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on I really think it would be acceptable to add a few bucks onto my tip. Seriously, I do not need your love but I DO need your money! Show me the love with a few $20 bills y'all and I'll be more than happy to listen to you talk about your granddaughters cat's hernia operation or about the run around that your evil ex husband is giving you! But, when I spend the evening being your shrink, BFF, and partner in crime to stiff me with a 12% tip is offensive.
There are the tables that you know you are fighting a loosing battle with even before they order their drinks. Very Angry Women make up some of these customers, and Couples Who Are Fighting make up the rest (we have already touched on the Non English Speakers, so I won't bring them up again.) Very Angry Women are ticked off at their waitress before they even lay their eyes on her. They might be slightly less angry with a charming waiter- or not, depending on how mad at their cheating Ex-es they are.... Nothing you do for VAW is right, the wine list will be sadly lacking their favorite brand of White Zinfandel, the table they are at will be too small, too large, or too dark, you will be unable to fulfill their insane requests for specificaly prepared foods (containing ingredients that the restaurant does not even stock.) They will snip and snap at the waitress, make underhanded snide remarks and complain predictably about the temp of the food (too cold! too hot! it was hot when I started eating but it is COLD NOW!!) They will not be pacified in any way and will leave a 10% tip, a big mess, and the feeling of hatred in their servers heart. Couples Who Are Fighting are something like a ticking time bomb. They come in all pissed off at one another, and manage to make the life of their waitress uncomfortable at best. Usually nothing on the menu looks good to these people, a direct result of the fact that nothing in their relationship looks good either. If the wife (or girlfriend) is mad at the husband (or boyfriend) she will almost definitely become defensive if the husband speaks to the waitress at all. "Leave that poor girl alone" she will hiss, when he has the gall to ask about the soup of the day. (but to be honest, I have seen some in-trouble husbands attempt to flirt with the waitress, which results in justified fury.) They will bicker passive aggressively throughout the meal "you don't even LIKE salmon" "YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I LIKE!!" and will leave angrily before dessert but after leaving a suitably poor tip. To match the poor quality of their looooove.
It is a ton of fun to get all of those bad tippers together in one place and to get them all seated in your section during the same evening. Throw in the guy who sends back beer #1 "too warm" then beer #2 "too cold" and you might be left feeling that the world has gone insane!

Monday, September 28, 2009

In which the tides begin to turn...

It was a blessed and magical time at the restaurant. Captain Rig for whatever reason had decided to be rather reclusive and spend some quality time in his office. His absence lightened the mood in the kitchen considerably. The cooks, who I thought of as beaten drones actually showed some personality and senses of humor. Most of the servers spent the side work time chatting and having a laugh instead of being stressed to the M-A-X. Not to give the wrong impression here, Capt Rig world make his authority known several times a night on no uncertain terms. The cooks were lined up and publicly berated for making the salad dressing pink (mysterious) and for burning the meatloaf (unfortunate.) The servers turned on them in an instant, proclaiming that they would NEVER make mistakes and wouldn't DREAM of being such irresponsible f**kwits. Keeping my thought to myself, I considered how swiftly the tables could turn and we could be the ones getting strung up and beaten.
Another interesting development had taken place as well. There were now several new girls on staff. Any by several, I mean myself, two other experienced sassy servers and a gargantuan spectacled Shrek. Oh dear. Bonding together as only new, slightly overwhelmed staff can the 3 of us formed a tentative alliance. Swearing to have each others backs thru the good times and bad we kept a close eye on each other and tried to keep each other from befalling the wrath of Capt Rig. Shrek, on the other hand is simply dreadful. She is a close talker, a space invader and loves to butt in on conversations. She also stands at the end of her section and watches her customers eat which is creepy,and would make me uncomfortable. I could forgive her gigantic thick glasses and her messy scrunchie tied hair if she was fun, or a really terrific waitress but honestly she's just all around bad. It's a sad sight. My hope is that perhaps the 3 of us who are new, cool and do not have solar system sized chips on our shoulders can keep our heads above water and perhaps teach some people manners. We have decided that using please and thank you loudly might be a good start, since those little words do not make regular appearances in the kitchen. "THANK YOU" I shouted at the cook last night "THE FOOD LOOKS GOOD." "You're welcome?" he said, looking at me like I was fully insane. "COULD YOU PLEASE RUN THE SILVERWARE" I asked the dishwasher "WE ARE OUT, THANK YOU" See, it's really not hard.
The tides might be turning in my favor with the head harpies as well. Ashley has decided that she is going to be my new BFF, something that makes me recoil in horror. However, she is very good friends with Bobbi the manager/owner so it is in my best interest to listen intently to her romance-gone-wrong stories and to smile and non (but not agree, or disagree) when she gripes about every person who works in the restaurant. Jan continues to run around being a big old bag but I am at the end of my rope with her shenanigans and have started to break out the sarcasm with her. Usually I save the sass for my friends. The more I like you the more likely I am to banter on with you and give you a hard time. I feel that I am wasting perfectly good cutting remarks on her but it is getting her to back off and pick on someone her own size. Most of my responses to her crabby little questions go a little like this: "why did I leave that in the sink? for you to take care of, obviously." "why did I do so and so? clearly to try to make you mad." That's just the tip of the iceberg (an iceberg. Like Jan's heart.) I had fully intended for my motto at work to be "keep your mouth shut and your head down" but that wasn't cutting it. Ever since I declared full blown war on Jan and her craptastic attitude everyone has been treating me more like the goddess that I am (thank you, thank you.)
So bring it on people. You might think you can mess with me because I'm small and middleaged but I'm up for it. And I fully intend to take this place over, kick some booty, reign terror over Capt Rig and give Shrek a makeover.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Winners never quit

And quitters never win.
BUT, quitters can leave with their pride and sanity intact.
However, winners never quit without a fail safe plan B.
Taking into account the mental toll that Captain Rigatoni was taking on me I headed out (once again) into the world to job hunt. Also taking into account the all important "Plan B" I kept quiet about this turn of events and kept waiting tables, and not making pizzas (heaven help me.) Being that I already maintain a full time job, plus working a hair raising number of hours at Capt Rig's my time to hunt for Future Job of Huge $$$ was limited.
Being that I am a bit on the (ahem) "organized" side I made a list of restaurants that I might want to work at, listing their pros and cons. Obviously I broke out a serious spreadsheet to do this and had intricate details listed like the distance from my house, road quality in winter, possibility of having to work dreaded night cocktail shifts (or lunch) and tourist potential. Yes, I am a very fun girl.
List in hand I started to make some serious phone calls. And immediately hit a huge brick wall. Nobody was hiring! Not for dinner, not for lunch, not for nothin'... As is often the case the very last phone call I made yielded some interesting results: "We are going to be looking for a new waitress starting tomorrow" I was told "So call back at 3:30 to set up an interview." Which I did.
Several days later I dressed in my best going for an interview attire. One of the perks of being a middle aged waitress is that one has had the time to accumulate many suitable outfits for such an occasion, unlike when one is 17 and has to scrounge around for a shirt that fully covers ones midriff.... As my luck would have it the first thing I noticed upon stepping into potential restaurant of employment was that all of the staff were dressed in the hippest of waitressing attire. Oops, I could have worn my cutest outfit and fit right in. The restaurant itself was a beautiful space, and rather unexpected for the area of the world that it is located in. It was fresh and edgy, with a look that can only be described as retro chic. As I filled out the untraditional application: "We do things a little differently around here" I was told by the manager, I watched the staff interact with one another. A pair of male employees in their mid twenties stood behind the bar, debating the merits of vodka mixed with lemonade. As the manager came in she greeted them enthusiastically. "Hey boys" she purred, batting her heavily mascaraed eyes "how are you?" "Hey baby" they cried in unison "soooo much better now that you are here!" As I tried to figure out exactly what they were looking for on this mysterious job app I was able to see more staff trickle in. The girls who arrived first were young, hip and looked as thought they had just stepped from the pages of a fashion magazine. Everyone discussed their weekends, bantered flirtatiously with one another and pranced around, delighted to be young and attractive. Clearly, unlike at Capt Rigs where hatred runs rampant everyone at this restaurant loves each other (and maybe in that special way. if you know what I mean.) Looking at my old, crusty middle aged waitress self and reflecting on my many geeky qualities I came to the realization that no matter how qualified I was, I was not going to get hired here. I completed the interview very well, attempting to emphasize my skills and downplay my lack of model like stature and untrendy haircut. "We're all really close here, like a family" the manager mentioned to me "how do you think you will deal with that?" I replied that I tend to get along well with people and play nicely with others, and tried not to think about what kind of family would have that level of sexual tension.
Interview complete she let me know that the interview process was going to take at least a week and that I could expect to hear from her. "Umm hmmm" I thought to myself "to tell me that you have hired a six foot tall Brazilian model who works on the side as an exotic dancer." In my out loud voice I thanked her for her time and said any number of super professional sounding things.
So, the search continues. As do my fun evenings at Captain Rigatonis.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

In which the young grasshopper is allowed to spread her wings. ...

And one should remember that nobody likes grasshoppers and they often get swatted or sprayed with Raid. Anyway, I digress.
I was assigned to take an easy section of tables with less "training" time than I had anticipated. Evidently, Jan felt much the same way. "You're taking TABLES?? ALREADY??" she snorted in disgust. "Well" I replied, thoughtfully furrowing my brow "that is what one normally does. as. a. waitress." Looking at me with a mixture of surprise at my ability to shut her up and displeasure at the same, she bustled off to criticize people and smoke butts.
It is always a relief to get a couple of quiet shifts in where you only have to deal with few tables before the madness of a weekend. It was also an enormous relief to get out of the kitchen away from Captain Rigatonis fury and terror. I felt fortunate that I had been assigned to tables quickly more to be able to avoid the kitchen than for any other reason. Sad.
Nice quiet days behind me I entered into my first weekend with mixed feelings. Capt Rig had been in a good mood, due to the fact that some of his products had made their way successfully into the retail market. To see Capt Rig in a good mood is not much better than seeing him in a bad mood. Furthermore his mood swings will give you severe whiplash with the sudden turns they take so it's best not to take much stock in his happy moments. I was not feeling 100% in my ability to quickly create cannolis, make up multiple espressos or God Forbid make a pizza. That pizza oven is the bane of my existence and I dread the day when I arrive to see it fired up. As luck would have it, my first busy shift was one without the cringeworth addition of dough tossing so all was well.
As soon as the restaurant opened things became busy and shortly full blown madness had descended upon us. I was set up in a section that could only handle tables of two, something that in any normal situation would be easy as pie for me. As it was, it was all I could do to manage to get my tables taken care of without becoming hopelessly buried. Every waitress has an inner monologue that they run in their heads when they start to get in the weeds. Many just run thru the kitchen screaming "F**K!!! F**K!!!!" which is entirely expected and appropriate on a busy night. Since a busy night at Capt Rigs is so far above and beyond the busy of a normal restaurant the expletives are flying left and right. As I was running around, struggling to keep my head above water I was talking myself down from the brink: "OK, OK" I would think soothingly to myself "You only have 2 tops. this is easy for you. you have your shit together. you have your ducks in a row. oh crap, table 34 wants a cappuccino. table 33 wants a check and I can't get to the register. uh-oh they are calling for food runners. ok. take a deep breath. you can do this. you only have 2 tops. oh shit I have to make an appetizer and table 31 wants their check too. and I still can't get to the register. deep breath, everything is fine, put on a big happy (fake) smile and suck it up you idiot..." And that's how it goes pretty much all night. And one wonders why waitresses have to drink lots of beer when they get home at the end of their shift!
Captain Rigatoni was content to stay in his lair (aka, office) for most of the evening only coming out to question the following: Why do I pay any of you clowns? What is between your ears!!?? Clearly not a brain.... What the f**k are you doing you f***ing idiot?!!" So all in all a very restrained evening for Capt Rig, perhaps he remembered to take his meds? I often wonder what he does in his office other than watch the live feed coming from the surveillance cameras. I mulled over the possibilities that he drinks, or hits a punching bag, or maybe listens to anger management CD's (unlikely) I bet he has some creepy little habit like dressing up a cat in a baby outfit and pushing it around in a perambulator, or something equally icky and out of character. Honestly, I hope to never find out!
As luck would have it there was another new server on as well, who had been there for exactly 3 more days than I had. It's nicer not being the only new person in any situation so I claimed her as my new friend. I asked her how she was doing at the beginning of the night and she replied with great and surprising confidence that not only was she doing great but she had it all figured out. I was impressed as I most certainly do not have the 1.2 billion oddities of that place figured out- but I decided that I might be a bit slower than some. As the evening went on I watched as her confidence crumbled and she was reduced to a shaking, sobbing mess. As she stood trembling over the cash register, completely and hopelessly buried under her absurd workload I asked if I could help. "I need a f***ing cigarette and maybe a new job" she cried "I can't handle it, I'm in way, way over my head." As I patted her back and handed her a Kleenex she was reminded that crying in the kitchen is against the rules and that if she has time to cry she needs to be running faster (or something of the sort.) Remarkably, she got it together and lasted the night, finishing up in good spirits and with a big handful of cash. As we vacuumed the floors later in the evening she mulled over her first really busy day and pondered if it was going to work out for her. She was saying in her outloud voice many of the things that had been running thru my own head in a fairly steady way for a while. However, there is an unwritten waitressing rule that most people take pretty seriously. That rule is that you don't crack up in front of coworkers, or express doubts about your abilities. Any show of vulnerability is all it takes for the vultures to swoop down and pick you to pieces (look out for the head harpies!) or at the very least see you as the weakest link. So as much as I sympathized with her I was hesitant to share my own concerns feeling that they were better kept in the grumpy place in my head.
At any rate, I survived my first busy shift more or less intact. It might not have been fun or pretty but I did not loose any fingers on the bread knives, drown in the lettuce sink or get locked in a walk in freezer. And I plan to turn up (although with great hesitation) for my next shift. We'll see if I can say the same for the other new girl.