(a recurring feature in which I recount a single shift, moment by desperate moment)
3:30 p.m. - Under the false pretense that I'm not scheduled to work, I wake up early, make myself a gin and breakfast, reward the previous evening's new purchase of expensive shoes by savoring a Xanax, and go back to sleep on a raft in the apartment complex pool.
5:15 p.m. - The iPhone's paradisiacal playing of "La Isla Bonita" is interrupted by the Wicked Witch ring tone - my restaurant is calling.
5:15 p.m. (seconds later) - Guess who forgot he agreed to trade shifts with Chris and was supposed to be at work at 5?
5:16 p.m. - Take impromptu bath in pool. Race inside, change into server outfit, fill my high school Fellowship of Christian Athletes watter bottle with gin.
5:30 p.m. - Arrive at work after brief detour avoiding a driver who followed me after I flipped him off.
5:31 p.m. - Shoot a mandatory gin swig, make sure hair is as perfect as can be (what with the chlorine, you know).
5:32 p.m. - Physically I am hearing the owner ream me about being late; internally I know that I enjoyed the LOST finale despite what anyone else says.
5:40 p.m. - Greet one of my four tables, all of whom have been vaguely greeted by a lazy server, one who told them I'd be "right with them." Twenty minutes ago.
5:43 p.m. - Retreat, deflated, to the restroom to jibe with gin.
6:00 p.m. - A foreign customer uses his iPhone translate app to communicate with me. "Does it kill the guacamole at the table?"
6:28 p.m. -We're on a 45 minute wait, and short-staffed. I ask the owner if he thinks I can go home yet. He tells me to go douse myself in more booze and shut up. I do the former, opposite the latter.
7:01 p.m. - GOOD NEWS!! I'm the highest bidder on the "Vogue" 12" vinyl single, sealed, on eBay! I head to my car to finalize the transaction. I tell no one I'll be gone for several minutes.
7:15 p.m. - My foreign customer uses his iPhone translate app to let me know he's ready for his bill. "It would interest me if you would present my crimes."
8:45 p.m. - We're now on an hour wait. I head once more to the restroom to work on my gin jig. On the notepad on which I usually take notes for this blog, I spill a small amount of gin. I write what appears to read "REMEMBER: Black Women - Superior Powers!" I have no idea what this means, or if that's really what I intended to write.
9:28 p.m. - Finally, we're off a wait. An Armenian couple has either just become engaged? Or decided to divorce. Their gross way of speaking leaves me unable to surmise their emotions. They tip me $3 on a $57 tab.
10:015 p.m. - The owner tells the other veteran server & me that the restaurant is empty enough now for us to go home. My work acquaintance, under the malnourished supposition that I could give a three-legged dog's shit about his girl problems, asks me if I'd "like to have a drink and listen to [him] gripe about life?" "I'd rather check myself into a conversion therapy clinic," I reply. He laughs, assumes I am being sarcastic and that I would normally love to but am unable this evening, gives me a goddamned hug, and leaves.
10:20 p.m. - I go home, make a martini, and fall asleep on a raft in the pool.