When you feel like you’re walking a tightrope suspended 30 feet above the circus every time you carry a tray loaded with drinks.
And then you have to walk between tables packed more tightly than the market stalls in Beijing, just praying that this doesn’t happen:
That moment when you have to pull the cork out of a wine bottle without messing it up in front of a table of customers watching you like you’re putting on a magic show or something.
It doesn’t matter how careful you try to be, your shoes are always covered in some kind of unidentified sauce.
And of course, there’s no chance that you’ll come home without a grease or ketchup stain on your shirt.
When the skin on your hands is essentially peeling off because of the quantity of nasty cleaning products you use and the number of times per day that you wash your hands.
That moment when a customer doesn’t give you a tip, or the somehow even worse moment when a customer gives you a tip, but a really rude tip.
The only way for you to communicate with the outside world is to glance at your phone every once in awhile or visit the bathroom way too frequently to get some texting time in.
The struggle with your fellow waiters over shared tips. It’s real.
Every effort to explain to the chef that you need something “fast” or “quickly” or “as soon as possible” is futile.
The fact that your wallet is always full of coins and suddenly you find yourself paying for all your worldly possessions using stacks of nickels and pennies.- Advertisement -
Initially, the fact that you are always around food means that you are in a constant state of hunger, sending you looking for scraps in the kitchen whenever you have a free minute.
But later, after you’ve worked there for a while, you can’t even look at food at your restaurant and just the thought of eating something there makes you feel ill.
That embarrassing moment when you need to wait on someone you know but haven’t seen in like 200 years.
Those people who refuse to leave the restaurant even though they are the last customers and it’s way past closing and you have to wait patiently and curse them quietly under your breath so they understand somehow that you need them to go find some other place to hang out.
And that moment when you finally lose it and find a particularly creative way to tell them to LEAVE.
The daily struggle of trying to remain upright even though your feet are killing you and make you feel like you just spent 8 hours in a grueling crossfit workout with pit stains to match.- Advertisement -
The tiny moments of happiness when you finish a shift that are immediately replace with dread when you realize you have to be back tomorrow for another shift.
On the weekend, when you are running around serving other people and all your friends are having a blast partying, making sure to send you pictures of every magical moment.
And if that weren’t enough, you always come home reeking of deep fried hell.
When you have customers who want something that is vegetarian, vegan, carb free, gluten free and they have 6 different allergies and all you want to do is ask them why they came to a restaurant if they didn’t want to eat.
That horrible moment when someone sits down at a table two minutes before the kitchen closes.
Waiting for your food to come out of the kitchen at the end of your shift.
When the customers blame you and get angry because of all of the idiotic mistakes made in the kitchen that are definitely not your fault.
When you have to serve a customer that you can’t stand.
When parents let their irritating little children order for themselves and you are forced to have a conversation with a four year old who can’t read and keeps asking for “food”.
But hey, it’s okay. You love your restaurant people – those same friends that have gone through the war that is the dinner rush, the same folks that you can commiserate with about the horrible customers and horrible managers. And sometimes, that makes it all worth it.