Drinks. She wants red. He wants a bottle of beer. Merlot? Tuborg? Large? The older couple want tomato juice and Pimm’s. Ice and spice? Alcoholic? No no. Virgin. And a bottle of chateau-neuf… or was it chat en oeuf? And could we have some bread? Olives? Straws? Can we order?
It’s fish night. Table 3 have been waiting for eternity for their garlic bread, so I focus on topping up their wine regularly to ease their pain of waiting… Hopefully they’ll be sufficiently sloshed by the time food arrives they won’t even remember how long it’s been. The man on table 1 keeps harassing me to take their order, which I can’t as two other tables need more assistance and the kitchen are screaming at me for every meal order I put through. Table 5 are staring down at their empty plates - waiting to be cleared, table 8 is semaphoring at me from afar with some weird sign language he expects me to understand, and I’m stuck at table 2 whilst the man who never seems satisfied is telling me that ‘honestly’, the fish he’s just demolished, ‘wasn’t that good’. I apologise with the most remorseful expression I can procure, and point out that had he told me during his meal when I checked on him, then we could have done something about it. Through the mayhem of table-waiting, I am summoned to help out in another section of the restaurant and take an order from table 12. And taking orders it is! I’m greeted with an impatient and stroppy bloke in a gaudy hawaiian-style summer shirt - his wife won’t even talk to me to order her food let alone look up at me (I’m just the waitress) whilst he gets stuck in a rant about how he’s been waiting for ages, and now I’m telling him that half the menu is out of stock (I’m just the waitress). I understand his problem. I really do. But yelling at some poor waitress isn’t going to fix his issue, and he can either order the few remaining items from our menu before those too are sold out, or he can take his wallet to the shitty pub further down the road.
Back to table 1, who are complaining about some sediment in a glass of wine like they’d just pulled out a dirty condom from the bottom. Press pause. I explain that it’s actually normal for sediment to appear in good red wine, despite not the most optimal thing to find in your glass, but by no means the worst. I tell them that it’s simply part of the cellaring process, and is a sign that it isn’t from a massive production line where it’s all plasticized and unnatural and proves the wine has been properly aged… as everyone knows?...only to be met with peels of laughter whilst I stand there feeling absolutely demoralised and humiliated. WAITRESSES ARE NOT DUMB. And if they had any sense whatsoever, they’d be polite and friendly to the person in charge of their food. Do people really think we’re in this for the long-haul? It’s a quick and relatively easy way to fund our way through university/academic studies, so we can eventually land a job in a position that’ll have THEM sucking up to us. SHE wants another wine, stating ‘as you can see, it’s not very good’. Obviously it’s GOOD or they wouldn’t be ordering the same wine again, and it’s good BECAUSE it comes with a few bits of sediment in the bottom. It’s a catch-22. They’re being so stubborn and up themselves about this they deserve a good dousing in sediment-solid wine.
And fast forward. Napkins go from table to laps to lips to noses to being discarded on the floor during a toilet trip. Can we grab the cheque please? No, I don’t know what wine I was drinking but another of the same. A Ketchup is opened, titled, smacked, put back, lid on. Crockery and cutlery from the kitchen to relay tables, food on its way out, pudding orders on their way in. My chest feels tight and my stomach is empty, one side of my head is pounding, but I can't sit down, I can't even close my eyes for 30 seconds and wish this calamity away. I can only force limbs to continue this frenzied dance and hold the fort down until 11pm when the prospect of closing up is in sight. Possibly.
Drinkers drinking, tables not leaving, a list of chores to be done and everyone trying to find their refresh button. Glasses smashed because everyone’s trying to do everything at once. Bills needed, wine glasses needed, a restock of napkins needed, my sanity needed. Thank goodness fish night’s only once a month and ocean stock is depleting.
the crazy happenings in my life