Waited tables in a deli/restaurant

#Workplace

Mon, Apr 23rd, 2001 02:00 by REVSCRJ ARTICLE

Okay, here is a job that only an idiot or a psycho would willingly take. This place was across the street from the world's largest aquarium, which attracted millions of tourists every year. As if basic food service wasn't bad enough, this was a tourist spot ad infinitum. We served deli-type food a slightly higher than deli prices to endless rivers of pissed off folks who had just spent about $100 to get their family through the overcrowded meat tunnels of the aquarium only to then have their kids whine about how hungry they were. Which brings them to us: an overpriced rat hole of a restaurant.

Basically this translates into a non-stop stream of business with bad attitudes and no want or money to tip with. It was really fucking frustrating how much those bastards would vent on us- as if WE were responsible for their vacation choice, fat spouse and ill raised progeny. Just because your life is a total loss doesn't mean your server's is- shut-the-fuck-up and eat your food, tip if the service is good and disappear.

The owners of this place were straight out of some Midwest nightmare stereotype, Roger and Ruth. Ruth had a problem with pharmaceuticals and Roger had a problem with speed- a marriage made in Hell if ever there was one. Unlike most speed freaks that come to mind, Roger was ultimately what you'd call a "Good 'Merican." Football was the be-all end-all of human accomplishment for him- he knew stats and lifetime records for teams and their players, the guy was an encyclopaedic freak insofar as the game went.

He owned his own business and was a staunch republican. He'd make your grandparents proud. Aside from the amphetamines, that is. He got a lotto machine in the store, kind of an odd appliance for a restaurant in my opinion, and then spent hundreds of dollars daily on Keno... he'd sit blankly watching the T.V. screen waiting for the next set of numbers to come up, beer in fat fist so tight he'd dent the can. Pathetic. One time he told us at an employee meeting, jowls all flapping, that the only reason we could kick someone out of the restaurant was if they said that the food was "cheap."

"OUR FOOD MAY BE INEXPENSIVE, but it's NOT CHEAP!!!" His fists were balled in righteous indignation while he sweated so profusely that he looked freshly showered. Ahhh, speed is such a lovely drug...

Ruth, on the other hand, was sweet. Her drug psychosis took the form of puttering around the shop cleaning this or that in a barbiturate haze- a total self-encapsulated neurosis, which- if you are going to be neurotic- is really rather considerate of the people around you. Don't push your pathos on other people, it makes you look grotesque. Keep your neurosis close to your chest when in the working world and you'll do much better, trust me.

Two others of note that I worked with: Simon and Erik. Simon was a tall, lanky, former-Brit hippie who was one of the slickest, slimiest bastards I have ever known. This guy had Roger and Ruth wrapped around his pinkie, the customers constantly laughing, and every female- eligible or not- flirting with him. I have no fucking clue how he did it. I mean he could ask a woman to meet him after work right in front of her boyfriend and everyone would laugh, AND THEN THEY WOULD ACTUALLY MEET LATER! I mean it was obvious to me that he was a straight up player, gaming with everyone who came into his sphere and the lack of other people noticing this really didn't improve my opinion of Humanity. He was a funny co-worker, but not someone I could trust farther than I could throw. His manipulatory skills simply boggled me.

Erik went by the nickname "clit"- which should just about say it all. He was a funny, quick witted guy, but the sort of person you'd hang out in front of 7-11 all night long with. He basically talked either good-humored insults, dope, sex, or mountain bikes. Good guy to drink with but a shining example of what to avoid in regard to a lifestyle.

Aside from washing dishes in a bar/restaurant (q.v.) I think I smoked more dope at this job than any other in my illustrious career. Simon, Erik and I would pool our paltry tips and buy cheap Mexican eighths from a guy who worked at the aquarium and smoke them, plural, over the course of the workday. It was great, made all the crap I was pitched from the tourists tolerable. It wasn't like I had to be on the ball here, I mean the bastards weren't going to tip me and they were already in a pissy mood. Fuck'em, they were only flotsam in a stream of flesh anyway.

"SIMON", I'd scream across a crowded restaurant- "THERE'S A PIPE CLOGGED IN THE WALK-IN, COULD YOU TAKE CARE OF IT?" I loved that.

One day Simon doesn't show for a shift, not unusual, but this time it is REAL busy and Roger has to tear himself from the Keno to cover for him. He flies into a rage fit and just radiates anger to every customer he comes in contact with, real professional, whereas I was just calm and happy- that is speed vs. dope in a work environment. The next day Simon has inexplicably been promoted to the position of Manager....

This was the kind of job where it was simply the best route to be constantly stoned. Things were a lot more understandable that way. As a result, though, a lot of the day-to-day details of it are fuzzy to me now which is likely for the best considering I remember having the nickname "Seeker of the Cheese" and it hurts my brain to even attempt to think about it....

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