I Dreamed a Dream

All servers have them: those horrible dreams where you are the only waiter in a giant restaurant. Your station goes as far as the eye can see and there is a revolving door of customers pouring into the restaurant who all need to order right away. It’s like one of those awful fever-induced dreams where nothing makes sense and you wake up in a pool of cold sweat. Jolted from your dream, you find yourself sitting upright in your bed and then when you lay back down again, your sheets are damp with perspiration. I hate those waiter dreams. I have been told by former servers that they still have them even though they haven’t waited tables in decades. Does this mean that I can look forward to those dreams for the rest of my life? Probably.

I had a server dream last night, but it was little bit different than usual. In it, I was not at work as the sole waitron. I was simply eating dinner in a warm pub-like restaurant with some friends. When I got up to go to the bathroom, someone at a table motioned for me to come to them. I was wearing all black, so I must have looked like a waiter. They asked me for something and rather than tell them I didn’t work there, I just went to get it. The dream is slipping back into my subconscious so I don’t remember what it was. I think it was like they wanted water and since I could see a pitcher nearby, I just got it for them. No biggie. When I returned from the bathroom, another table told me they were ready to order. Again, I just went with it and asked them what they wanted. “Can I get a medium plain pizza with a small salad?” they asked me. I told them it was no problem and went to find someone who worked there to pass it on. I went up to a waitress and asked who had the second booth. “Tina,” she said and pointed towards a girl on the other side of the restaurant. I went to Tina and told her that table two had ordered and she thanked me and put the order into the computer. I went back to my table and continued my meal.

So what the fuck? So now even in my dreams I can’t enjoy going out to dinner? Isn’t it enough that when I go out to eat I constantly have to observe the servers and watch the interactions with their co-workers? I scan the sidestation to see how it’s organized. I watch the hostess to make sure the seating rotation is even. I can’t just sit back and be a customer and I hate it. And now even in my dreams I am unable to sit at a table and let someone serve me. I have to get up and take some fucking orders? If this is what the future of my dreams are, I’d rather not have anymore, thank you.

I had a dream. I dreamed it for you, baby. And it wasn’t that I would take Tina’s goddamn pizza order.

I dreamed a dream of time gone by. And it was of a time when my dreams were about good things and not working in a fucking restaurant.

I dreamed the impossible dream. And it was of me having a life that did not revolve around burger temperatures.

Once upon a dream. And then I woke up in a puddle of sad and salty sweat and tears.

Why can’t I just dream of Jeannie?

Click here to follow The Bitchy Waiter on Twitter.
Click here to find The Bitchy Waiter on Facebook.

25 thoughts on “I Dreamed a Dream

  1. Erin

    I waited tables for three years in high school and college. Now I'm 32 and anytime I'm stressed, I have the overworked waitress dream.

  2. Krissy

    I only waited tables for about 9 months, but that mindset never leaves when you are observing at restaurants. At least not for me.. However, I don't normally have waitron (as you put it) dreams anymore that I can remember.TalkativeTaurus.com

  3. Stephanie

    It's not just your profession…it's others too. Becoming a published author has pretty much ruined recreational reading for me. Rarely can I sit back and lose myself in a book…I see it's flaws, it's grammar mistakes…all the ways I would have phrased something differently (and better!).Hope the dreams/nightmares end someday! 🙂

  4. Michael

    It's been decades – I still have them. Also the theatrical version where it's 15 til curtain and you don't know what play you're in or who your character is, can't figure out much from the costume you're wearing and have no recollection of rehearsals or any lines or cues whatsoever.

  5. not_the_mean_anonymous

    I'm still in high school but I sometimes dream about having a really big test that I didn't even know about and I can't even figure out what subject it's on so I can't study but all my friends are cramming and freaking out. *sigh*

  6. Kathy

    I was a server and worked in fast food during college. I had the waitress in the weeds dream more than once. What really bothered me was the fast food dreams where I was trying to hand food out my bedroom window, apparently I was working drive thru in my dream.

  7. fuckmytable

    I hate work dreams. I tend to have them the night before I actually have a scheduled shift. My dream is ALWAYS set in the section I will have in real life, even if I don't know in advance what section I am scheduled for. It creeps me out. Not to mention my work dreams are always horrible. Then I have to get up and work the same fucking section that day. It's enough to make me want to strangle my customers.

  8. Yvonne

    Had this awful dream about this one horrible woman I had at a table one Saturday night. She yelled at me for not giving her a larger slice of lemon in her water. She's all "this is a sliver of lemon, I asked for a slice!" So later that night, I dreamt that I was alone at my restaurant, and all 300 customers were her! Just 300 of this awful woman, who ran me ragged and barely tipped.. I woke up with a slight case of post-traumatic stress disorder. Lol!

  9. Anthony Kimber

    Bitchy, I think you should undergo some dream analysis, and see if maybe you should have been a professional, well-paid whiner for hire….Just think, kid's parties, women's luncheons all those pathetic, dull events that could use a good dose of well thought out, hypochondriacal bemoaning! You'd be the rockstar who's # would be on speedial, dude!

  10. Sperls13

    I have had weird work dreams all my life, but none as bad as 'server hell' dreams. In my fifteen years of serving and managing, I have racked up quite a few. My way of combating them: as soon as I figure out I am stuck in a 'server nightmare,' I just start going off (flipping tables, telling people off, knocking over drinks, etc) – it has become very theraputic!PS – thanx for your rants. So many of your stories are super relatable to my past restaurant world. Thanks for adding some spice to an otherwise boring work day.

  11. chocolateangel

    I've been in the restaurant business for two decades now, and it's all been in the kitchen. Cooks and dishwashers have those dreams too. Even though I haven't set foot in a Bob Evans in 15 years, I can still hear that blasted oven timer going off in my dreams!

  12. Mary A.

    I used to work for a rental car company & so did my roommate. I came home late one night to find her walking in her sleep — she was trying to rent the couch.

  13. Clear thinking

    I waited tables for a loooong time. When we go out I sit faceing away from everything hopefully towards a wall or I stop talking and observe all night. My friends hate it but its a horraible habbit. When I was a floor sup I started dreaming about work every night and I felt like I had been at work for 2 weeks straight it was horriable and I went a little crazy for awhile and endedup up sleeping between breakfast and dinner rushes in the booths because I was sooo exhausted. It got pretty bad. Good luck.

  14. Practical Parsimony

    When I was seventeen, my first job was in a private dress shop. My job between actually selling was rebuttoning and zipping everything. Plus, I folded sweaters and tshirts. When I left that job, I walked and shopped but always stopped to straighten the sweater table. It made me crazy because I could not make my hands stop. It took me 50 years to stop straightening things and folding when I shopped for clothing. I hated it when I caught myself doing it. Okay, I still am not over it. Sometimes it's just a strong urge. Sometimes I stop and help the clerks fold, button, and zip.

  15. Jen

    It's totally true. I waited tables for 5 years..I've been out of it for 3 years. I still dream of being in the weeds every few months. I always wake up ticked off that I still have these awful dreams.

  16. KB

    I found this awesome blog yesterday after Googling "waitress nightmares" because I had just woken up from one. My favorite thing to do when I realise I'm having one is to look at my table and say, "Can you hold on. Watch this!" and the voila! I wake up. It feels great!Just Like-ed you on Facebook, too. Thanks for writing!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *