Give me patience to understand that my whole entire section will be full of two-tops all night and that even my prime booth that seats six people will only have two lovebirds who want to sit on the same side.
Help me understand that all of my customers will think they are the only important people in the world, even though I have at least twenty other guests who will be thinking the same thing.
Give me the power to not laugh at the sad straight man who went to Walgreen’s today and bought a teddy bear in a coffee mug to give to his girlfriend as a symbol of their shining true love. I will also need some extra power to not smirk when he hands her one of those stupid fucking plastic roses with a light inside it. And just a little bit more strength to not throw up when I see baby’s breath.
Help me find the fortitude to explain our pri-fixe menu to every table so my customers will understand why the menu prices are higher than they were yesterday for the same boring crap.
Please help me find a way to score an extra chocolate molten lava cake so that I can stuff it into my mouth in the side stand when my manager isn’t looking. Let that cake be the nourishment I need to carry on for the night.
Give me the resilience I will need to make it through this night of constantly being in the weeds when I know I have to open for brunch tomorrow.
Open my eyes to the opportunity to receive an extra glass of Chardonnay that maybe the bartender poured by accident or, if not that, then guide me to any bottle so that I can pour myself a glass.
Finally, dear Martha, please find it in your heart to bless me with 25% tips tonight. My one true Valentine is my wallet and it needs to be shown some love.
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young woman named Svetlana. She had jet black hair and huge dark eyes that peered right into a person’s soul. She came to America full of the same hopes and dreams of so many others who came before her. She imagined roads paved with gold and endless opportunities of success, but instead it appears that she became a two-bit Craigslist hooker who ended up sitting at Table 16 with a date who looked like a fucking handyman and was old enough to be her father.
It is 10:37 and we close in 23 minutes. With a temperature outside of 15 ° and the last customer leaving forty minutes earlier, I have already gotten it in my head that I was done for the night. The coffee is dumped, the bread put away, the silverware is rolled and all that is left is for the manager to decide to lock the doors fifteen minutes early. The restaurant door squeaks open and I see a young woman and a much older man walk through the curtain that is hanging to block out the cold night air. Her low-cut black lace dress belied the frigid weather outside. He is wearing baggy jeans and a flannel shirt, his grey scraggly beard in direct contrast to her perfectly coiffed hair. She looks like a hooker. He looks like a handyman.
“Keetchen is steel open, yes?” she asks.
I smile a forced smile as I pick up two menus and let them know they can sit wherever they like. They walk past the eleven two-tops and head directly to one of the only two tables in the restaurant that is set for four people.
“Let’s sit back here,” he says, “where it’s more private and quiet.”
Yes, it’s so loud up in the front of the restaurant with all of those non-existent people. By all means, sit as far away from my computer and side stand as possible.
He sits on one side of the booth and she attempts to sit on the other, but he encourages her to sit next to him. She does so, but it looks like it’s not exactly what she wants to do. At first, I can’t tell what their relationship is. It seems like a date, but I can’t imagine that the two of them have much in common. It slowly begins to dawn on me that they are in the middle of a business transaction and the one thing they have in common is a Pay Pal account so that he can pay her for her time.
Harry the Handyman wants to know what we have to eat and what’s good and I wonder why I even bothered handing him a menu if he doesn’t plan on opening it. As I remove the extra place settings, I rattle off the the items on the menu that can be made in the shortest amount of time exclaiming how delicious the pasta is that takes about six minutes to prepare and conveniently leaving out the roasted chicken that takes twenty-five. He needs to think about it, of course, so I walk back to the bar and stare longingly at my coat and gloves that I had already brought upstairs from my locker.
Two minutes later, he is walking up to me.
“I think she might want some coffee, so why don’t you go ask her how she takes it.”
I know how she will be taking “it” later and it will probably be with two condoms while her eyes are squeezed shut and she’s trying to imagine anyone but Farmer Fred laying on top of her. Of course, she wants coffee so I make a whole pot just for her since the only coffee I had was poured down the drain not five minutes earlier.
They decide on their meal of pan-roasted cod for her (eight minutes) and a medium rare burger for him (ten minutes). After he orders, he again comes up to me at the bar to tell me he is going outside to smoke a cigarette and asks me to “keep an eye on her” while he’s gone. The only thing I have my eye on is the clock and it’s one minute past closing time. As he smokes, I watch the woman constantly check her iPhone and text. I assume she is talking to one of her other prostitute friends about how crappy their jobs are and how awful their customers can be and for one brief moment I completely understand her world.
The kitchen breaks a new record in getting their food out quickly and after I serve the meal, I settle in for what I am sure will be a long rambling dinner as the two of them play footsie and make googly eyes at one another. To my surprise though, they both devour their food with a sense of urgency and they are ready for their check ten brief minutes later. Their expediency only confirms my suspicion that this “date” is on an hourly basis and Larry the Lumberjack doesn’t want to pay for overtime. He hurriedly throws down a couple of twenties to cover the check. I see the woman look at those two twenty-dollar bills with envy, but I know she has already gotten her money for the night. Or at least some of it; maybe he had to put a down payment before dinner and the balance is due after the date ends. I know not how these things work.
He helps her on with her coat, carefully pulling her long dark hair out from the collar and I can’t help but notice that she looks annoyed at him for touching her. He leaves me a good tip and I wonder if he will leave her one later. Or maybe he will give her “just the tip.” Again, I know not how these things work. They vanish into the cold night air and I lock the door behind them. Off they go to make the most of their night together. Two souls joined as one for at least an hour. That is the story of the hooker and the handyman.
Attention all New Yorkers! On Wednesday February 18th, I will be a guest at a live recording of the awesome podcast, Tell The Bartender. The host of the show is the equally awesome Katharine Heller. The show is happening in a lovely far away land called Brooklyn and it’s a bargain at $10 in advance/$12 at the door. While you are there, you can even buy beer and cocktails so it really doesn’t get much better than that. The other guest on the show is Broadway superstar, Norm Lewis. He’s been on Broadway forever and just finished a run as the Phantom. You can see him on ABC’s Scandal and he was nominated for a Tony award a few years ago for Porgy and Bess, so he is the real deal. Two guests! One, a legitimately brilliant stage actor with solid credits and a real career and the other a needy attention starved waiter who writes a shitty little blog. How exciting!
Basically, it’s like a talk show and I plan on drinking during the whole thing. If you want to come, please buy tickets in advance because I am told that it will sell out. I would love to meet you guys so if you’re in the area, please try to come. And I apologize in advance for anything I may say under the influence of vodka gimlets.
Norm Lewis (Scandal, Phantom Of The Opera, Porgy and Bess)
The Bitchy Waiter (Today Show, Dr. Phil, ShiftGig)
PLUS a special appearance by Jordan McDonough!
Wednesday, February 18th
Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm
Union Hall – Brooklyn, NY
$10.00 in advance/$12.00 at the door
It will be a night of stories, games and fun! One lucky audience member will get a chance to win a prize with the game, “Bar Talk”, PLUS we play everyone’s favorite game “Craigslist Ad or Casting Notice” with Jordan McDonough! Prizes sponsored by By Brooklyn.
Being a server is not easy. We all know that. And if you have ever had the (dis)pleasure of working someplace that is always crowded with throngs of people milling about your workspace, you know how much more difficult it can be. Allow me to introduce you to the saddest waitress in all the land today. I don’t know her name but she works at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Last night she was just doing her job carrying some beers to customers as grown men in shorts chased a little orange ball around hardwood floors. Suddenly, a very tall man named Mason Plumlee ran up to her and knocked all of the beers off her tray spilling them all over the floor, the waitress and her customers. Supposedly, Mason was trying to keep the ball from going out of bounds, but it looks to me like his sole intent was to give the waitress the worst night of her life.
I mean look at that video. It’s like he thought, “hmmm, where the fuck is a waitress with a full tray of beer that I can knock the fuck over?” After he totally ruins her night, he throws his arms up in disgust like it was her fault for being in his way. Umm, Mason, you’re in her space; she’s not in yours. And then he just walks away like, “Yo, whatever.” That waitress was not happy, you can tell.
And what about those people who took a beer shower with? Here they are just trying to enjoy a Saturday night of watching men in shorts play with balls and now suddenly they smell like they rolled all around on the floor of a dive bar.
No word on whether or not the professional game player apologized to the waitress and no word on whether or not the waitress was all, “fuck this shit I’m outta here.” The real story in all of this are all the O-faces in the background of the top photo.
The guy in the center: “This is the best show in town and ain’t nuthin’ gonna slow me down when it comes time for this popcorny goodness.”
The guy in the Wizards jersey: “Awww, hell no!”
The guy in the cap: “Hey, pull my finger!”
The white-haired guy in top left corner: “Jesus, take the wheel.”
The dark-haired woman on the right: “At least it wasn’t my nachos.”
Good luck, Verizon Center waitress, whoever you are. I hope you made some damn good tips that night.