A busy night. I was cleaning tables
, answering phones, running food, and absorbing complaints and mild insults from irate customers
as usual. It got busier. One of the waitress
es phoned in sick. My manager turned to me, the lowly
support girl, and immediately I realized that I would finally get my chance. I could do it, I knew it. Everyone knew it. I was the only one who didn't break under stress
, didn't throw trays
, didn't hide in the bathroom when customers
wanted to throw them back.
He told me to grab a table and I smiled, dancing to pick up a tray and pad of paper. My first table ever! This was my chance to prove myself! Finally!
Two families of four, squished together at a crappy table. One dollar off my tip. They laughed at my joke. One dollar added. I took their orders. No ginger ale. Another dollar gone. But I can make something better by mixing coke and seven-up, I said with an inventive grin. Dollar reinstated. I left on even ground.
The drinks weighed down my tray, but I brought them anyway, all together, trying not to wince. What the hell was I trying to prove? I placed the tray on the edge of the table (beginner's mistake), only then noticing the sleeping baby in a little plastic cradle under the table. Cute. Soft. Gurgly.
And then the crowning moment of my waitressing career. I removed the drinks from the wrong end of the tray, weighing down the side hanging off the table, flipping the entire tray of root beer and ice cubes onto the floor....oh wait....not the floor....no, the floor would have been a blessing....onto the sleeping cute soft gurgly baby taking up the floor's space. Shit shit shit shit shit! Crying, followed by complete silence in the restaurant. Disapproving hisses from the old women at the next table. I could hear them all thinking "She likes hurting babies." or at least "thank god I'm not her." But really, who puts a fucking baby on the floor? Well, maybe I would. But I also dress up cats in Barbie clothes just so I can laugh at them. Silly cats.
I did what I could, cleaning the ice cubes off the baby and running to get more paper towels. I gave them free food. They left (no tip) without saying a word. That's the worst kind of angry. I wanted to yell at them as they left: "I DON'T NORMALLY DROP THINGS ON BABIES!" but I couldn't, I just couldn't.
I have never felt so completely and utterly despised in my entire life. When I look back and laugh at myself, it's still with a little hint of pain. For now, I think I will stick to selling books.