Okay, last night was one crazy night up in that place. I was working the final show of a world renown singer who has a career that has spanned 60 freaking years. It was her final show last night so everyone and there grandma was trying to get a ticket to our small intimate venue that seats 121 people. We had reservations for 145. So needless to say it, it was not pretty when we opened the doors. Lordy, lordy look who’s praying for forty. Forty no shows., that is. But they all showed up as did about twenty other people. There were famous people all over the place (Oh, hello Cybill Shepherd and Tyne Daly, how are you? Hi Rex Reed and Lucie Arnez, you’re famous too.) These celebs were squished in right next to Joe Blow at the same booth.
When we opened the doors, I got the shudders because there were people as far as the eye could see. They were all clamoring at the host stand like it was the last helicopter out of Saigon. These people were desperate to see this show. My station was the one closet to the host stand so therefore the one that could grow the easiest. More and more tables came from downstairs and we just kept extending the row until the last table was right next to the bus tub and coffee maker. Seriously I told the folks there if they needed another ginger ale, just help themselves and if they saw we were out of coffee, could they please just make it for me. They thought I was funny. I was serious though. The two other servers were just as crazed as I was, but we made a conscious decision to just have a good time and go with it. We squeezed our way past the tables and carried drinks way over our heads and I managed to keep a smile on my face the whole time. Even though my station was effectively cut off by five standing room only people, a rolling cart that had been moved into my area and a man in a SUV of wheelchair, I persevered. When I couldn’t reach someone to personally hand them their Manhattan on the rocks, I just gave it to someone else and pointed at who it belonged to and let it makes its way down. When someone gave me the nod that they needed my attention, I filed it into my mental list of people to attend to right after the other 43 people who also needed something. At one point when the show was just starting and I still had at least fifteen people who needed drinks I started to get stressed. And then I remembered: I am a waiter. This is not life and death stuff here. If someone waits a little longer for his Irish coffee, he will not go into cardiac arrest. If the lady does not like the chocolate mousse cake, she will not sue me for damages. I am a waiter. It ain’t no big thing. Three deep cleansing breaths later I plowed through the crowd with my second round of drinks, proud to have vowed that serving tables sometimes stinks.
At the end of the night, we servers were commended on how wonderfully we were able to navigate through the throngs of people. It was seriously crowded up in there. Like I think some people became intimately familiar with one another because they were forced to be so close to each other. People were on chairs, stools, the floor, laps and each other. (Fifty years from now: Grand kids, I met your grandma when we were at a show together that was so crowded, the only place there was to put my penis was inside her vagina. And that’s how how your dad was conceived.) I went up to the singer after the show to tell her good bye and she gave me a hug and thanked me for doing such a good job. This woman is so cool. I really admire her and I think part of the reason I was so determined to deal with the craziness was because I respect her so much. She is a consummate professional who brought in all these people to see her show. The least I could do was show her that I too am a professional and give those customers the best service possible despite that fact that they were stacked on top of each other and packed in like sardines on the 6 train at 5:15 on a Friday.
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