Last night at work was exceptionally busy. The show had about 102 people in the audience meaning all 102 of them were sat at the same time and each needed two drinks within the course of a 70 minute show. It may sound easy, but it’s not. And then when the show was over, we had thirty minutes to get all of them out, turn the room over and get ready for the next show that had about 45 people in the audience. Needless to say, that thirty minutes between the two shows is a total shit show. Every man for himself. Pay your check, get out. We have a complimentary coat check downstairs for the benefit of our guests. It is downstairs though so in order to take advantage of it, people have to, you know, use the stairs. They are the same stairs that I go up and down all night with racks of glasses, buckets of ice and plates of food. However, some people act like we just told them that if they want to check their coat, they have to take an express bus to the Bronx and then walk from the Bronx to Egypt and then from Egypt they have to fly to the moon and back. It’s one flight of stairs, people. It’s next to the bathroom, so just kill two birds with one stone while you’re down there and take a dump too. It’s not that hard.
So during our turnover time, we were all running around trying to bus tables when this lady approached a fellow server and handed her the claim check for her coat. “Excuse me, but will you run downstairs and get my coat for me? Thanks. I think that’s my ticket. I found it on the floor. My coat is black.” Hey lady, it’s New York City. Everyone’s coat is black. This server was standing at her computer closing out her checks so she handed the claim check to the busser. “Can you go downstairs and get this lady’s coat for her? Thanks. It’s black. ” The busser took the ticket even though he was holding rack of glasses. This busser is very sweet. Young, quiet, eager to please and kinda shy. I intervened.
“Nick, you don’t have to do that. You’re busy. Give the ticket back to the lady.”
“Oh, it’s alright, I was going downstairs anyway,” he said.
“You’re busy and that is not your job. Let me give the ticket back to her. I love to tell people things like this.”
“No, it’s okay… I guess I have time…uh…it’s okay…”
I could tell he didn’t want to do it, he just didn’t know how to say “no.” I know how to say “no.” I took the ticket from his hand and said, “You finish what you were doing, I’ll take care of this.”
I went up to the lady to make sure she was not old or infirm. Had the lady been feeble and weak, sure. On crutches, yes. With a walker, absolutely. She was none of those things. The only ailment that was apparent was that she had a serious case of bitch face which does not affect one’s ability to walk down stairs. She was chatting with a group of people and it was clear that she just didn’t want to bother herself. Plus, if she went down to the coatroom herself, she may have felt obligated to to leave a tip and you know she didn’t want to do that. I tapped her on the shoulder. “Hi, is this your claim ticket? Yes? None of us have time to go down and get your coat for you so you’ll have to do it yourself.” I pressed the ticket into her palm and smiled. I wasn’t bitchy. I really wasn’t. It was just the truth. And you know what she said? “Oh, okay.” And miracle of miracles she managed to walk down that flight of stairs all by herself and get her own coat. She didn’t collapse or melt or pass out or faint or die or break out into hives or anything. She simply got her own coat, just like the other 101 people did. Maybe she learned a lesson. I doubt it, but maybe. Maybe she learned that she is a a competent human being who can set goals for herself and then achieve them. Why tonight could be just the beginning for her. Perhaps she will now be able to open the door at the bank for herself instead of expecting other people to do it for her and then not say thank you. Or maybe she will realize that she can open her own tea bag when she orders hot tea. Maybe even some day she will learn how to wipe her own ass instead of letting her poor put-upon husband or maid do it. (I’m not sure that she doesn’t wipe her own booty, but she seems like the type.) I’d like to think that I set this woman on a journey of self-exploration and independence last night. Lady, if you’re reading this, you’re welcome. And fuck off.