Here in New York City the weather has seemingly skipped right over spring and we have moved directly into summer. Since spring is the only decent weather we ever have here, it really sucks. Spring 2011, was about two days long. I feel bad about all those cans of Aqua-Net I went through in college (don’t ask) because I know that I somehow contributed to the hole in the ozone layer and the resulting global warming. I worked last night and the air conditioning was a futile puff of chilled air that quickly dissipated within inches of leaving the vent. The restaurant was really more of a sauna last night. With the humidity from outdoors and the heat from the open kitchen, it made for a night of sweat and apathy. All I could think about was a shower.
The first thing that has to be done when opening the restaurant is sweeping the whole place and then mopping it. By the time that was done, I was a big sweaty mess who looked like I had just taken a dip in a pool of perspiration and dried off with a wet paper towel. The ceiling fans whizzed overhead but all they did was move the stuffy air around. I was miserable and I had only been at work for twenty minutes. This was going to be a long night. The walk-in cooler was the go to destination of the evening. Normally I only need one trip there where I get lemons, limes, ketchup and butter. Last night, I turned it into many trips. After the fourth visit, I really didn’t have a reason to go back once I left, so I checked my email and tweeted on Twitter for a while in the cool air. I seriously considered re-organizing the meat shelf but came to senses. Sure it was hot outside the cooler, but I’m not gonna go crazy and do something that I wasn’t even asked to do. I stepped out of the fridge and back into the balmy discomfort.
With 95º+ temperatures and then a huge thunderstorm, you can imagine how many people came into the restaurant. The first table didn’t show up until 45 minutes after we opened. She wanted soup which we didn’t have. Personally, soup is the last thing on my mind when the humidity level is 100%. “Gee, it’s sweltering today. I want shrimp gumbo or maybe a big bowl of chili!” She ordered a glass of wine and left ten minutes later. The next table came in a full hour later. The night plodded along like that with me looking at my watch every 10 minutes and each time being surprised that more time hadn’t passed.
We closed at 11:00 and I walked out at 11:20 with $21 in my pocket. My credit card tips were a paltry $33. For an eight-hour shift I made $54. Not a good night at work. Between my melted face and the lack of cash, probably my worst day at work in a long time. When I got home I pulled the twenty-dollar bill out of my pocket. It had gotten damp with sweat on the five minute walk home. (Yeah, I work right down the street from my house.) I smoothed it out on the dresser and looked at the picture of Andrew Jackson. He looked hot and uncomfortable, but not as hot and uncomfortable as me. The shower rinsed off the sweat and disappointment. By the time I got out, even Andrew Jackson looked a little better. I put him in my wallet and promised him that he will be be spent on something refreshing like Tasti-D-lite, a bag of ice or a frozen pina colada.