So today was a day that I had been looking forward to since I first started on my job back in June. My first day of training as a cook. I had been busing tables long enough that I all ready knew where everything was in the back, it was mainly learning how to prepare each dish. Then at the end of my workday, I got to prepare an order myself. Steak, medium well and a baked potato.
Watching me, The Diva commented that it was like seeing a duck in water for the first time.
I felt a sense of…I suppose accomplishment would be the right word. I like the other cooks. They may be insanely meticulous at times, kind of have to be for what they do, but they’re good men and women. And funny as hell. I thought that perhaps I had found my niche.
Then as I was walking towards the bathroom, I saw Dolly and B serving tables and talking with the customers. Smiling at people as they passed by. In that one moment, I felt that I had lost something precious.
I had not talked to customers all day and even though we have the occasional asshat come through, the good ones who smile and chat are what make my day worth it. Losing that interaction hurt. I loved seeing the looks as they would pass on praise for good service to other servers or to the cooks. I loved the banter me and Dolly could go through as we worked our sections. I love the lulls we have in customers where we can actually speak with the people we serve.
I don’t want to give that up.
So despite the fact that my wage would have increased about 3 dollars per hour, I am pretty sure I am not meant to be in the back preparing food. I know I am a good cook, and with enough experience perhaps a great one but for now, that is not where I am supposed to be.
I thought I would be making the right choice. I thought I would find myself thinking how glad I was that my time as a server was over. I thought I would be happy.
Sometimes we do get what we want, only to find out we all ready had what we need.
Being stereotyped is nothing new to me. I’m a black guy standing at 5’11 and about 190 lbs, it’s something I long ago learned was going to happen. Stereotypes regarding my appearance I try and let just roll off my back, it’s difficult but it’s better than becoming bitter right? I long ago lost count of how many times I’ve had women cross the street from me in fright if I’m walking at night but that’s a whole other post in itself.
So in my 20 years of life I have never had this happen.
I was serving two guys and a girl about my age and as I asked them what they wanted to drink both burst out into laughter. I was confused.
The girl said it was good they were giving people from the area jobs near campus and freeing up for students for studying.
Hold the phone.
Pasting a shit-eating grin on my face, I explained that I was a student and this was how I paid for my bills and rent.
They looked at each other in shock and the guy had the balls to ask me to show my student ID. I flashed it and they asked if I was a student, why would I have a southern accent? The other guy said he didn’t know they allowed hicks in.
So because I grew up in the country, I’m not intelligent?
I guess that 3.8 GPA is just pity then.
Folks, I’ve worked in restaurants off and on since the summer of 2003. I would like to think I have a good idea of what I’m doing by now. That being said, I don’t necessarily need you to nitpick at every little thing in our restaurant.
When the hostess on duty tells you that it will be a few minutes for a table to be cleaned, she isn’t giving you the go ahead to sit down. If you see me clearing a table, don’t assume it’s free yet. That is rather disgusting. If you do perform the preceding action, do not ask me to please hurry up and then have the cojones to look at me like I’m holding up your day.
Then there is tipping. Tips equal a waiter/waitress’s lifeblood. I long ago learned how to smile at someone despite how annoyed they made me. I make sure you and your party always have drinks and that your food is out as soon as possible. I joke around to make your stay more enjoyable. So when I come to start cleaning off your table, I hate to see only dishes and used napkins left behind. This makes me think it is not worth it.
Speaking to the guys out there, if the female waitress repeatedly tells you to stop hitting on her and then you proceed to grab her wrist we will escort your ass out. If you try and fight me on this, I will not be gentle on doing so. Oh and don’t threaten to try and get me fired because I moved out of the way of your fist. The fact that my boss laughed in your face should prove how stupid that is.
That concludes this PSA. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming. Thank you.
Dolly: “So Kendall, who are you voting for?”
Me: “Ok Dear, let’s look at this logically. I am very, very, very liberal. To the point that many democrats think I’m radical. I despise Baby Bush and his posse with every fibre of my being. I think Sarah Palin should have her vagina revoked and then studied to determine its authenticity. Now would you like to ask me this question again?”
The Diva: “You forgot to mention you were black.”
Me: “No I didn’t, that would just be overkill though.”
Dolly: “So you wouldn’t wear one of my McCain buttons?”
Me: “Dear, were you not a friend whom I love dearly, I would probably burn it. As you are my friend, I will just politely decline.”
Dolly: “So I get special treatment because I’m your friend?”
Me: “Isn’t that how the world’s always worked?”