One of the best things about working in a restaurant is usually the people you work with. I can’t tell you how many times I have kept a job for longer than I should have simply because I so enjoyed the people I worked with. (Okay, I can tell you how many times: three.) Maybe the business has dried up or the menu has changed and the business is slow but all your friends are keeping their jobs, so you keep yours too. Plus, it’s easier to keep a shitty job than go out and look for another one that may end up being even shittier. Yes, a shout out to our co-workers. This is a story about a woman I worked with at The Black-Eyed Pea in Houston, Texas on West Gray.
I always liked Connie. She was older and had been a waitress for a long time. She could always make me laugh and never took the job too seriously. Like me, she held on to the belief that “it’s only lunch and there’ll be another one tomorrow. Chill out.” One time as I was carrying a huge bus tub of dirty dishes and pretty much balancing some glasses on my head, she got right up in front of me and said, “Hey, I’ve been meaning to ask you a question.” I was thinking, “Really? Right now is when you’re gonna ask me something?” But I was young and naive (and not yet bitchy) and patiently waited for her to organize her thoughts. I readjusted the bus tub. Connie paused and said, “yeah, uh…when you…uh…oh shit I forgot what I was gonna say…oh yeah. When you…oh never mind.” She started laughing and I realized she was just fucking with me to see how long I would be nice before I told her to get the fuck out of my way. It doesn’t seem that funny now that I write it out, but then it just made me laugh.
Most people at The Pea didn’t like Connie. I was new and didn’t know any better I guess. After a few weeks I heard someone say “Bus Tub Connie is at it again.” I looked over at a side stand and saw Connie eating scraps of food out of the tub of discarded dishes. I saw her eat a handful of fried okra. Now, I am all for grazing while at work. Always have been and always will be. A french fry here a cup of soup there. But to eat off of someones plate after they have finished with it? And out of the bus tub even? Oh hell no. My opinion of Connie changed immediately. Cool Connie was actually Bus Tub Connie? I asked another waiter if this was a regular occurrence and the smart ass said, “Why the fuck else would we call her Bus Tub Connie? That bitch is always eatin’ out of the fucking garbage.”
After that day, Connie didn’t make me laugh anymore. She sorta made me feel sorry for her. I felt like I should save scraps for her and slide them into her purse or buy her a can of cat food for dinner. But she definitely left an impression on me. Chalk it up to one of those people that makes your job at a restaurant even more interesting.