Monday, January 03, 2005

The Myth of Singing Waiters

I’ve only seen a waiter cry one time. That was at Ruth’s Chris in D.C.

The group I was with weren’t crazy because they were drunk. They were drunk because they were crazy. Oddly there were two people named Todd Collins in the group and one became tagged as the good Todd and the other as the evil Todd Collins. The names are only memorable to me because they make me think of the drink. But neither of them saw the humor in that, nor did they drink Tom Collins.

Best I can remember, the evil Todd was crawling around under the table with a Bic lighter, trying to look up the ladies’ dresses. Something about that spooked the waiter and caused him to drop an opened bottle of red wine in the middle of the group. The waiter burst into tears and ran into the kitchen. Shortly afterwards, someone else came out to clean up the mess.

All of this was merely a prelude to Todd being thrown out of the titty bar that was next door to the steakhouse in the late 90’s.

I take that back. Now that I think of it, it was just last Fall that I saw one of the waitstaff cry.

One of the perks of being a salesman is being able to pound a lot of free liquor on the bosses’ tab as long as you have a customer or a semblance of one with you. They get to drink free too, and that somehow makes you appealing to them. Or not. I really have no idea if I ever sold anything during one of these drunken drinking bouts, but I haven’t really avoided the opportunity much either.

Last summer I was working for a large printing firm who believed whole heartedly in the entertainment thing. It was kind of a refreshing change from my previous boss who liked to invite customers out for drinks and then split the tab.

Anyhoo, I’m at a place called the Underground Pub having drinks with some friends an important client when I see our waitress run crying into the kitchen. You don’t often see that (what, twice in 30 years?) so we’re curious. Shortly afterwards a different waitperson comes to see about us and we find out that our waitress was taking a break in the corner next to the life-size statue of George Dickel or somebody that was made of concrete and/or other hard, heavy substance. Apparently the head fell off of this thing and conks the waitperson on her head inflicting grievous pain and suffering on her innocent self. Did I mention she was cute?

A bit later she somewhat composes herself and comes back to check on us. Her eyes are red, wet and swollen. A real trouper. I asked her if a drink would help.

“Oh, we’re not allowed to drink,” she replied, “but maybe nobody would notice a shot.” I’m figuring after what just happened to her, nobody is going to be too confrontational even if she decided to chug a quart of Cuervo and give us all lap dances, but you never know. After taking a brief census around the table, we ordered a round of shots but accidentally asked for one too many. A furtive glance around the room and she downed the shot like a pro. I don’t to this day know if it helped her head, but it sure seemed to help her spirits.

Statistically speaking, waitstaff must be pretty resilient people. My daughter waits tables at the Dixie Café and I’m certain she takes a lot of crap. I probably couldn’t handle it without crying. It’s not an emotional thing, I just start crying when I think about having to schlep plates of food to complete idiots strangers. Be sure to tip your waitperson… they’ll be here all week.


Biff Loman said...

I use to be a people person. Then, I started waiting tables. Now, not so much.

Now, I spend the downtime of my shifts trying to will suppurating sores into the rectums of the patrons seated in my section.

Circa Bellum said...

I thought my ass hurt. Thanks for nothing Biff!