4:45: While perched at the bar next door engaging in some pre-shift drinking, I rationalize that not only should I have another gin martini before work; my sanity demands it.
5:05: Arrive five minutes late because I rationalized yet another gin martini.
5:15: During our pre-shift meeting, we're treated to a visit from a tequila rep who offers everyone a "taste," which is essentially a full shot. Tequila + gin = heeeeey.
5:24: I'm seated with three tables at once: two cranky elderly old bats, a fussy family suffering from extreme entitlement, and a surly group of gays. I sober up and hate everyone. I tell the family I'll be with them shortly and start my other two parties with drinks.
5:26: "JOEY NEEDS HIS SIPPY FILLED WITH MILK," Entitled White Mommy screams at me in baby talk as I'm trying to tell the dinner specials to the gays. I glare daggers through her vacuous soul and continue ignoring her.
5:45: Finally, all food and drink orders are complete for my triple threats. I celebrate the down time by nursing more tequila in a kid's cup.
6:04: Every entree for every single person in my section goes out at the same time. And every single person needs something for his/her meal. Entitled White Mommy says her fish is "a little undercooked and a little overcooked"; the gays need more pita bread; the elderly old bats need a flashlight because they can't see their food. Seconds later, I erupt at the hostess and tell her to NOT seat me again until the escapees from Hell leave my section.
6:43: I got my wish; my first three parties left, and I was enjoying an empty section (even though the restaurant was on a wait, save for the five tables of mine that the terrified hostess wouldn't seat).
6:55: The manager asks the hostess why my section is empty. She tells the truth. I get in trouble via a tedious sit-down in the office.
7:03: I wash down the sit-down with something that's either gin or tequila or both.
7:10: Whereas earlier I was seated with three tables at once, I'm now given all five tables at the same time. I tell each of them that I'm slammed and I'll be with them shortly. I then immediately go check my hair and complexion in the mirror, post a fun selfie on Instagram, and take another swig of gin-quila.
7:47: One of my customers, a stuck-up twat with delusions of being a pop singer, asks why she hasn't received the drink she forgot to order from me. After a few minutes of back and forth, I offer up the manager.
7:55: Sit-down meeting in the manager's office, part deux.
8:30: We officially go off a wait, and I am cut for the evening. I do my sidework and cash-out quickly, and am almost tempted by another gin-quila. Instead, I opt for water, knowing I'll need the hydration for yet another impending day of the same old shit.
1. I'll have the vegan flatbread, but can they do that without any dairy? 2. Can they take the black beans out of the black bean stew? 3. Is this (points to wasabi) guacamole for the ahi tuna? 4. Don't I get a steak knife, too? (He ordered hummus and pita) 5. Which of your bread puddings is the most healthy?
Because of the restaurant's close proximity to UCLA, we receive a fair share of potential college students, as well as their proud parents. Bridget and her bitchy mother, Brenda, deigned to dine in my section one afternoon after touring the Westwood campus.
"Is this the full lunch menu?" Brenda asked with a snarl before I could even say "Hello."
"No," I responded, "I bring it out in installments."
"Not a lot of salads," she said, ignoring me. "At least not a lot of good salads."
I was ready to be a bitch to the daughter as well, until she turned out to be gracious and polite, no doubt used to compensating for mama.
"We'd both like waters with lemon to start, please," she said. "And Mom, didn't you want a glass of wine?"
"Not here," she replied.
(As a quick side note, our restaurant actually features an impressive, eclectic, and usually farm-to-table list of menu options. Our wines hail from some of the finest vineyards along the Western coast. The stick up Brenda's ass was without warrant.)
Brenda eventually settled on a quinoa and kale entree, while Bridget opted for the burger.
"Careful," Brenda said, "You don't want to get those Freshman 15 early."
"Oh, get what you want," I scoffed. "Better to have a burger now than try to justify one in your 30s."
"You would know?" Brenda said with sass.
"Yes," I laughed. "And if that's the standard, I can't imagine how long ago you must have given up burgers."
As I refilled their waters, I overheard Brenda bitching about everything - the weather in L.A., the weather back home, the traffic in L.A., the traffic back home, their friends, their family, even life itself. She wasn't even witty or bitchy about it; just dour and miserable.
Finally I cleared the plates. Whereas Bridget ate about 3/4 of her burger, Brenda licked her plate clean.
"Oh, I see someone liked her meal," I said patronizingly.
"Well, I was hungry," she said quite defensively. How dare I insinuate she enjoyed something! I can only imagine the pre-coitus pep talk her husband must give himself before sex.
They skipped dessert and Brenda paid. She left a 12 percent tip.
I don't know where Brenda and Bridget are originally from, but I gather it's far from California. I hope Bridget elects to attend UCLA so she can put some distance between her and that miserable mom of hers.
Once my shift was finally over, I decided to treat myself to dinner at the restaurant bar. I ordered a burger, and I loved every damn bite of it.