DELVING BETWEEN THE TOES OF LIFE....I AM TOEJAM


2003-05-19 - 11:43 a.m.

I wake in the morning in a really good mood. I love to wake in the way wee hours and know that I have a whole new day sprawled in front of me. I enjoy getting ready for work even, I love driving to work, I like the quiet hour I have setting the restaurant up before we open. I love it when my fellow employees start filtering in; enjoy the good mornings, the silly banter that goes on. I am highly motivated in the morning. I think about my day, think about going to the gym, then to the bookstore, maybe run a couple quick errands and then come home and be productive for a while, have a nice talk with E. on the phone before bed….in the morning my days are full, productive, happy. And then the customers come in. Even then I am hopeful for my day, but it usually only lasts for a moment. Usually the first thing out of any given customers mouth is negative. And slowly, as the morning progresses it passes over into my co workers and we all become this negative bunch of people trapped within dingy walls of a really depressing place where the only solace can be found in a really smelly bathroom that usually has poop stains on the toilet seats. By the time I leave work at the end of the day I want to crawl into a hole. It takes every ounce of energy I have left to do those things that I had happily and energetically planned in the morning. Take for instance this morning.

I got to sleep in because we don’t open until 8 on Sunday’s. Instant good mood maker right there. My hair looked good, I felt good, I was happy. I went to work earlier than I had to because I was really motivated to do a couple projects that had been neglected while I was in France. So I worked on my plants trying to recover the health they had lost without my care, I cleaned the syrup dispenser and warmer, peeled the two months worth of built up syrup and toast crumbs from the counter underneath and then I took extra setting the restaurant up just because it felt good to be taking pride in my work. Employees started coming in, banter was going, no one came in crying or hung over…the makings of a good day. And then the doors opened. First table.

“Good morning!” I croon.

Nothing.

“Can I start you two off with something to drink?”

Nothing.

“Coffee?” I try.

“We need menus.” the man mumbles.

“Sir, they are right there on the table.”

Nothing.

I walk away.

I go back.

“Are you two ready to order?”

Nothing.

“Do you need some more time?”

“Well, I would be ready except you don’t have anything with just one egg and I can’t have two eggs.” The woman whines.

“Ma’am, you can get however many eggs you want, if you just tell me what you would like I will figure out the best way to get that for you at the best price.”

“It’s not fair that if I order two eggs it is the same price as if I order one egg.”

“Ma’am, if you just tell me what you want I can figure it out.”

“I want this number 4, but I don’t want two eggs.”

See this is something people complain about all the time. We have these breakfast specials, the #4 is two eggs, bacon or sausage, toast and a beverage. On the weekends this combo costs you $4.61. Of course she can order it with one egg, but it’s going to be the same price because you see these are breakfast SPECIALS. It is a SPECIAL price. Basically you are getting an egg for free because if you order one egg, bacon or sausage, toast and a beverage ala carte the price is $4.57. It is a SPECIAL. You don’t go to the grocery store that is having a buy three get one free sale and buy two and expect to still get one for free. It’s the same thing, it is a SPECIAL, on this special you get two eggs for the price of one.

I finally talked the lady into the number four and then had to deal with the man who was pissed because a bagel instead of toast would incur a .40 charge when ordered with a special. I reminded him, “Sir, it says toast, not bagel or toast,” I explained that bagels, when ordered ala carte are $1.50 and toast in ninety cents so actually getting the bagel and paying an extra forty cents is a deal. He told me to just forget it he would just have toast even though he didn’t like toast. And he said it like I should care that his day was ruined because .40 was going to break him.

So I bring them their food after having to bring them not one, but THREE different pots of coffee, this first being not hot enough, the second being too strong and the third tasting burned.

And then I check on them. “How is everything?” I ask.

Nothing.

I walk away.

When I see their napkins on their plates I go back to get the plates and drop off the bill.

Woman says, “There were egg shells in my egg.”

“Oh? I’m very sorry, would you like another egg?”

“I said I couldn’t have two eggs and I already ate one.”

“Ma’am I am really sorry, you should have said something before and I could have replaced that egg for you.”

“Well you were no where around.”

I stare.

Then I put their bill on the table.

Man says, “Aren’t you going to take anything off?”

“For what sir?”

“Because there were egg shells in my wife’s egg.”

“I’m sorry sir, she ate her egg and there was nothing I could do, I would have been happy to replace the egg but no one mentioned it.” At this point I am getting really mad because not only did I check on them and they didn’t answer me, but I have also been by their table at least ten times and not once did either of them try to get my attention. But instead of telling them to fuck off I just took off fifty cents. And then I got really mad about people. Because it’s always the people that are complete asses that get a deal. It’s the mean people, the people that are stupid, the people that are fuckers that get whatever they want…meanwhile, the nice people pay full price for everything, the nice people get lacking service while we are running around manically trying to please the people that are asses. So from that moment on I decided that asses are no longer going to get my attention. That from now on I will cater to nice people. It is a waste of my time to try to please asses because they number one will still complain about something and number two, never leave a decent tip because they somehow believe that I have screwed up and am a bad waitress while the nice people, though they didn’t receive the service they should have still leave good tips. I’m sick of it.

AND…I am sick of the way this world is turning out. The world appears, from my perspective, to be stagnating in some murk of misery. I swear I remember a time when more people were happy and nice. While I was pondering this proliferation of negativity I started wondering if it maybe had something to do with the fact that I had been working at this restaurant for six years, the same people, the same co workers for six years. Maybe I was just in the wrong place, maybe the restaurant was just a place where really negative people went to fester. So when I was invited by the owners of my favorite bookstore to a brain storming meeting to try to save the store from falling prey to stupid ass Barnes and Noble, I was excited. I had thought that I could spend some hours with people that surely must be different. People who loved books and loved life. I went to this meeting last night only because I was looking forward to being around people that didn’t bleed negative vibes.

And the first thing I heard out of anyone’s mouth was…”you know I’ve been sick, right?” And then a five minute diatribe about the sickness and how devastating it was. And then, through the course of the rest of the meeting, people brainstormed ideas for the bookstore and each idea anyone had was something to do with getting something for free. So now I am convinced that this world is indeed filled with only negative people who want everything for free. It’s really sad. And now I really miss being in France. Like I had said to E. upon my return here…at least if people complain there like they complain here I can’t pick up enough of their words to actually understand them.

I don’t know where all the negative stuff came from. I don’t know when the disease of misery spread through this world like a plague…but I am tired of it and I refuse to cater to it any longer. From now on if the first words out of someone’s mouth to me are negative I am not going to waste my time standing there because they are beginning to just suck me down with them.

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