Monday, June 15, 2009

Dear Bar 8

Dear Bar Seat Number 8,

I appreciate the great enthusiasm you have for wanting to pay the check. Really, I do. However, I am currently actively engaged in taking an order from the person sitting next to you (that would be Bar Seat Number 7), and when you try to get my attention by waving your hand in between our faces in a frantic chopping motion, it makes me want to swat it. Hard.

It is my job and not your job to manage the needs of the eighteen (no exaggeration) people who are currently demanding my attention, so I certainly don't expect you to know the crazed way in which I am juggling all those priorities in my head. In a way you made my job a bit easier by moving yourself to the top of the list.

But I don't think I'm quite at the stage where I can thank you for that.

I know you would like think you are my only customer, but when you're dining in a restaurant, you can expect that you are not your server or bartender's only focus. We all have to share our love-- spread it wide and far. We try to be fair. We try to act like you're the only person we have to take care of. We try to tap into our inner lap dancer and pretend like you are the only person that exists in the world.

But when it comes down to it, we have to see to lots of people. And sometimes that means you have to wait nine seconds for your check while I take someone else's order.

Or at the very least it means you needn't stick your hand in my face.

Anyway, I hope you got to where you needed to be, with a belly full of fennel salad and a refreshing Negroni on the rocks.


Your Bartender Who Wishes More Than You Do That She Were Not Being Pulled In A Million Different Directions

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Dream About Bartending

last night's dream:

I am bartending at a bar that is in the upstairs bathroom of the house I grew up in, and it is on a cruise ship.

Five middle-aged, middle-American, white women are gathered around the bar, which is where the sink should be. One of them wants to order the rhubarb cocktail. [note: the restaurant where I work is, in fact, featuring a cocktail made with rhubarb juice right now.] Then another one wants one. And then suddenly they all want the same cocktail.

It's easier just to make five at once, I think to myself.

One of them says pipes up.
I just looove rhubarb pie! she says.

I wonder if she knows what she has ordered, if she thinks she is getting pie.

It's a cocktail, not pie, I say.

Rhubarb pie is my favorite pie! she implores.

I let it go.

I begin to mix the cocktails. I do so not by shaking them in a cocktail shaker but by mixing them in my mouth and them spitting them out. But I don't even spit them into glasses; I spit them into shallow terracotta gratin dishes.

No one blinks an eye, but I think that the cocktail seems a bit low in volume and I wonder if it should have been more, if maybe I'd made them too skimpy.

The End.

[Oh, and just for the record, I have never spit in anyone's food or beverage nor ever would, lest any paranoidals accuse me of doing so. But any other pathology you can extrapolate from this dream I probably have no defense for.]

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dear Table 17

Dear Table 17,

I'm sure you hear this all the time, but what a toddler you have! She is just about as adorable as adorable gets in the whole spectrum of adorableness. That cute little face! Such an engaging smile! She appears to be nothing short of delightful.

You must be so thrilled to have such an animated little moppet to call your own. Just look at how she stands confidently on her highchair and waves her fork aloft. Was that a handful of pizza she just flung onto the floor with focus and commitment of a major league pitcher? Her feats of coordination and whimsy are the likes of which I rarely, if ever, see in a child who is barely verbal.

And I know she's so much more than just her darling looks and lively demeanor. I'm sure she's got wicked smarts, way advanced for her age. And sharp wit. And a heart the size of an island nation
. With those traits I bet that one day she will burgeon into adulthood gripping the cure for cancer in one hand and the key to peace in the Middle East in the other.

Really, it's undeniable that she's destined for greatness. J
ust look at how she commands the attention of everyone in the restaurant as she calls out with great enthusiasm and authority. She sure doesn't let her lack of ability to speak actual words stop her from vocalizing-- at decibel levels that would send OSHA scrambling to slap earplugs on all of us working at the restaurant tonight.

And she doesn't let up. What persistence! She just keeps going and going. She barely needs to stop to breathe!

Your vacant stares suggest that you might be somewhat desensitized to her elevated utterances-- numb to them, even. You've probably had to learn to tune them out as a survival mechanism, assuming that her public restaurant behavior is similar to her behavior at home. But I can assure you that even if I were able to act as if the piercing, stabbing pain of her high-pitched shrieks did not exist, it would not mean that my eardrums would not still shatter, which I think they just did.

Well there she goes again! It sure has been a spirited last hour. You can tell by the gnarled grimaces and clenched teeth of the other sixty people in the restaurant right now.

Well, I could go on and on, but I really should go and try to sop up the blood coming out of my ears.

Hope you had a lovely dinner.


Your Bartender Formerly Known As Able To Hear Normally