It happened again: I had a server nightmare and now my sheets are damp with cold sweat that smells like tequila, disappointment and bedroom funk. Why? Why must my subconscious treat me this way when I have the utmost respect for it by never paying it any attention? When I lay my addled head on my pillow, all I ask is for six or seven hours of moderately uninterrupted sleep, but last night my brain went all bitch on me and gave me one of those nightmares that only servers have. The worst part is that I am told the dreams keep coming even after you hang up your apron for good. The humanity!!!
In my dream, I arrive to work at my new job. It’s maybe my second day and everything is still new. The place looks like a Outback Steakhouse made a baby with a neighborhood dive bar; it is musty inside with lots of wood paneling and a big long bar. I get there at 4:00 thinking that I have at least a half hour to do sidework and get my bearings straight. As I am waiting at the computer to clock in, a server comes up to me.
“Hey, I need two Aringolds.”
“What are Aringolds?” I ask.
“Beers? I need two beers and you’re bartending tonight. You’re supposed to be ready to go at 4:00. Hurry up.”
I look at my watch and see that it is 4:01. Panic hits because I am not a bartender. I was not hired as a bartender and I was not expecting to be bartending.
“I just started yesterday, I thought I was trailing again. Are you sure?”
“Dude, I dunno, I just need two Aringolds and you’re on the schedule as bartender. Chop chop.”
Never mind the fact that in my dream I created a whole new kind of beer called Aringold. How did I do that? It’s like this one time I dreamed I watched this amazing Broadway musical and when I woke up I realized I had written the music and lyrics, designed the set and costumes and directed it. In my sleep, I’m a fucking genius.
I rush behind the bar and see that Aringold is on draft. “Okay, I can do this,” I think, so Igrab two pint glasses and pour them, putting them at the end of the bar. When the server comes over to pick them up he looks at the beers, clearly upset.
“These need to be in Aringold glasses, man! C’mon, get your shit together! Fuck!”
I search the shelves for an Aringold glass, but find none, so I call out to a busser to see if he knows where the Aringold glasses are.
‘We don’t have that many of them. I think we only have two. Lemme go look.”
The server waits for the two beer glasses instead of just taking the two that are fucking sitting there sweating with perspiration. After what feels like an eternity, the busser returns with the two glasses.
“I found them.”
He sets the two glasses onto the bar. It is obvious that he removed them from a bus tub because both of them are dirty, one with beer foam and the other is half full of ice with some guacamole on the side of it.
“Can I get these washed?” I ask, but it’s too late. He is already walking away from me. Meanwhile the server is still standing there.
“What is the fucking problem? Just fucking wash them and pour my beers. Who the fuck hired you as a bartender?”
This is when I wake up. It is 4:20 AM. In the corner of the room, I hear the breathing of my dog Parker. My husband is sound asleep and all I want to do is go back to sleep and dream about something nice like cheese fondue or chocolate waterslides. When I close my eyes again, I am immediately back at Outback FuckHouse or whatever the name is of this hell place I am working.
I grab the two glasses and start running them under water and using hand soap to wash them. Suddenly, I see a familiar face: my friend Abbie who, it seems, is managing this restaurant now.
“Oh my God, Abbie, I’m so glad you’re here. I don’t think I’m supposed to be bartending tonight. Shouldn’t I be trailing to wait tables? There’s been some mistake!”
“Hello?? My Aringolds!”
I pour the drafts into the oh-so-important fucking Aringold glasses and give them to the server. Abbie comes up to me, her face serious and stern, and says, “You didn’t punch in. I’m gonna have to write you up because you’re not supposed to be on the floor if you’re not on the clock. Sorry.” She then made that “wamp wamp.”
This is when the printer spits out an order for 10 more Aringolds.
“But I don’t have any Aringold glasses!!!” I scream.
Again, I am jolted wake. It is now 5:16. Parker jumps into bed with us, snuggling between our legs and I slowly fall asleep again. The dream does not return this night, but it’s only a matter of time before another server nightmare makes me afraid of going to sleep.