Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh just use your sleeve for goodness sake

Yesterday I did a bit of time traveling.

I got up, as I always used to do, at 6:30am. On a Sunday morning. Ouchie.
It was difficult. I managed.

I got all gussied up. I do that sometimes.

I got in my little red car, and zipped down the mountain, and walked through the kitchen, and out onto the floor, and stood in a single wedge of sunlight at the cafe. I took a deep breath. It had been a long time, but this was so familiar. I was home, in a strange way.

I was going to work Sunday brunch.

Things started out a bit awkwardly. I couldn't find things. Like napkins (there weren't any) or saucers (nope, we didn't have those either) or lttle metal cups for ketchup (I guess they walked away on their own two legs). But I got things set up somewhow. I managed.

I was working with a great friend, and two more great friends in the kitchen, and one dishwasher who is, let's see, how to put it nicely............he's a bit rough around the edges. Also, drunk. Or maybe high. Possibly both. So, you know, rougher than usual. Or maybe not? It was challenging. I managed.

The morning was just incredibly slow. SLOOOOOWWWWWWW. SO SLOW. And then, all of a sudden, it wasn't. And we were twirling and swirling around the restaurant. Chaos ensued. Ponytails flying, silverware clinking, ice running low, dishes piling up because, well, the dishwasher. He was drunk.

But he got a chance to catch up because before you knew it, everyone was gone and we cleaned up and caught up and had a sip of coffee and caught our breath and waited for the next rush......which didn't come. Someone went to the store for napkins. Then someone else went to the store to get the things we forgot.

Eventually, my wingman left me. I was wingless. Man-less? Woman-less? Anyway, it was just me. And the cooks, of course.

And the dishwasher. (sigh)

At some point, a lovely, newly engaged (as in, "he proposed just a few minutes before" kind of new) couple came in and asked for a bottle of bubbly. Which I gleefully provided. I swooned over the gorgeous ring, took photos, refilled glasses, and then when their friends began arriving to join in the celebration, I went to fetch another bottle. Only, we were out. I was confused. OUT? How, why, in what reality do we not have a few bottles of champagne for special celebrations?

I returned, and offered the next-nicest bottle we had, which they happily accepted. And they drank it. And more friends arrived. And they ordered another.

Except. Well. You know where this is headed, right?
Yeah. No champagne. At all. We had two bottles, and I sold 'em.

I called the manager in a bit of a tizz. Well I tried, But there was no dial tone. Shit. I pushed the buttons: Click click click. Nope, still no dial tone. But oddly......I could hear the bang of the oven. Through the phone.

So i went in back to investigate, and there on the desk was the grocery order the dishwasher was calling in today. And the phone.It had never been hung up. And it had been off the hook for 112 minutes.

Almost 2 hours.
The phone - the business phone, during Sunday brunch, had been off the hook. For. Two. Hours.
Oh dear. I was quite angry. The dishwasher was no where to be found.

I went back out front, and tried the phone again. Dial tone. Perfect. I call my manager. I tell him about the phone, and the champagne. He tells me there is definitely more in there. I tell him there definitely is not. He's on his way.

My customer - the newly engaged - approaches. They want to leave. He wants to pay. He has his credit card. Unfortunately, we don't accept that card. He doesn't have another card. We look at each other. This is not going well. But he has cash ! Yes, he does. He has cash. Fabulous. Enough for both bottles, even !

Not enough for a tip, however.
No worries. Best wishes.

And I have to excuse myself, because the dishwasher approacheth. I need to keep him away from these nice folks. His eyes are at half mast. He is staggering. His pupils are different sizes and his eyes are looking in different directions and he's drooling, slightly. Lovely. I would give him a napkin, but dude, we're almost out again.

"When are you going home?" he slurs as he loads his bus tray.

Funny, I was just going to ask him the same question.

"I'm not......I'm going to the beach. If I ever get out of here."

"What? REALLY? FUCK!" he exclaims.

I am missing something, I am not understanding. Why is he so-

"I need a ride. YOU WERE GOING TO BE MY RIDE."

News to me. And also, no.

"I'm sure you can get a ride" I reassured him.

"From where?" he asked, still wavering on his feet.

"From out front" I gestured to the designated hitch hiker pick up area in front of the resturant, under a shady tree.

I turned to the register, the empty bus bin dropped to the floor, and when I looked up again, he was standing out front, swaying gently, thumb extended. Still drooling, slightly.

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