September 25, 2009

Thanks to the readers who have commented and shown their support. I still feel kind of stupid for being this upset over a cat, but apparently it’s normal. Oddly, ever since he received a subcutaneous fluid injection and we put him on Prednisone, Old Cat is actually doing better than before his diagnosis. Thus, my emotional state is pretty confused right now. He has cancer, he’s going to die…aaand he’s eating again and moving around more? What the hell? Anyway, I am going to try and resume normal posting–if things worth writing about happen, that is.

My cold has cleared up, school has started, and I have finally scheduled my driving test (yes, I’m way behind the curve). Aside from the inevitable dead cat, things are hopefully going to get better soon. But with my luck, I’ll just end up with swine flu come October/November. Hooray for pessimism.

Bad News

September 15, 2009

I have several half-finished posts, most of which are going to remain half-finished for awhile, due to some bad news I recieved today. Turns out my geriatric cat, who I’ve owned my whole life (at least, as long as I can remember), has cancer. At 18 years of age, he’s too old to handle chemo or surgery. As he is rallying right now, the vet will be giving us some medicine for pain and nausea, but once he starts declining again, he will have to be put down.

I realize how stupid and/or immature this probably sounds, but think back to your first pet, the first one that was really yours. For me, that is this cat. So, right now I don’t really feel like writing snarky and/or thoughtful posts about working carryout (had a real bitch and a real awesome person tonight though, I’ll have to jot something down so I remember to write about them later). With class starting next week, a head cold, and now this bullshit, all I really want to do is keep to myself for a bit.

How Depressing…

September 9, 2009

Working at a restaurant that primarily serves the elderly can be extremely depressing at times. Solo diners sit at counters and tables, their posture and behavior belying the fact that eating alone is something they’re not quite used to doing. A few bring books, but the majority bring newspapers. With pens in their withered hands, they scan the obituaries, looking for friends and acquaintances who have joined the choir invisible. The resultant circles and x’s are reminiscent of a macabre lottery ticket. What strikes me is that none of these people seem at all fazed, and I can’t help but wonder, at what point in their lives did they gain this seeming indifference to death? At what point in my life will I behave the same way?

Many of these apparently grief-immune people are regulars. Many of them have been coming to The Restaurant for years. As a result, we often get to know them very well. When a regular stops coming in, the first thought that comes to mind isn’t of how I might have driven them away. Rather, I wonder if they’re all right. Sometimes they are–the elderly are prone to health issues. Sometimes, they never come back.

I had one, a sweet old man, who came in every Friday and ordered two swiss steak dinners with mashed potatoes and gravy and side salads. He always called them “two of ’em li’l lettuce salads,” which I found extremely endearing. He was always friendly, cheerful, and tipped well. He hasn’t been in in months. I hope he and his wife just got tired of swiss steak every week.

The Friday before last, a man came up to the register to pay. “How are you doing?” I asked him.

“I’m okay…” he mumbled. Then he looked me straight in the eye and said, “Don’t ever get old.”

“Excuse me?”

“Don’t ever get old. It’s not worth it. I just got back from the doctor. I spend more time there than anywhere else.”

Once again, I felt like a jerk wishing him a nice weekend.

One of Those Days…

September 6, 2009

Do you ever have one of those days, where you go to work and it feels like your first day all over again? Not in the good “I’m starting a new job and I’m nervous but cautiously optimistic” way, I mean in the “Wow, I seem to be fucking up every single thing I do” way.

Friday was like that for me. I worked 11am-2pm and 3:30pm-close, and I was in retard mode about 90% of the time. Over-ring the register? Check. Forget how to deal with gift certificates? Check. Snap at a retarded cook? Jump at small noises? Fuck up a bunch of people’s orders, at least one of which was a pretty goddamn big mistake? Check, check, check.

Part of it was working the day shift, again. Yeah, I know I said I like it, and I do, but it’s very…different from the evening. It’s busier, for one, but the real difference is that we have a pretty regular day staff. Antediluvian (so named because she’s been at The Restaurant forever), Ex-Junkie, and Snitch work almost every day, and Antediluvian in particular is one of those people who has to have things a certain way. Furthermore, we have a ridiculous number of both carryout and in-store regulars, and they also like to have things just so. In short, there’s an established order, and I don’t have a place in it. I felt like an intruder the whole time, and it made me pretty gun-shy.

That uneasiness carried over into my second shift, and that combined with a brand-new and not very competent fry cook meant I was about ready to tear my hair out by the end of the night.

In happier news, I found out that I have been accepted by the university I applied to. This means I’ll be graduating from the community college this quarter and starting in the winter. For once in my life, my hard work actually paid off. Perhaps with the spectre of rejection no longer looming over me, I might become a little less on-edge. I wouldn’t count on it, though.

1) The customers are much friendlier. Sure, we’ve got the rushed lunch hour crowd, but everyone else is extremely laid back. Maybe it’s because they’re all regulars, maybe they’re just less tired and cranky, or maybe lunch is simply a less serious affair than dinner. Whatever the reason, they’ll all happily sit at the counter and chat with complete strangers. And carryout customers seem to have a greater tendency to tip!

2) I usually have something to do. Lately, nighttime carryout has been nonexistent. But during the day, more people are willing to take their food with them. Even if I don’t have a lot of carryout, in-house customers come up to the register at regular intervals, or the phone yields people inquiring as to the specials. A whole lot less staring into space (newspapers, books, and crossword puzzles have all been banned). An added bonus: if carryout dies, I get to go home early.

3) My boss’s slightly hilarious “conversations” in the kitchen. I don’t get involved, I just listen to him rant. Today the topics ranged from the evils of technology (“Kids only think they need this stuff because society forces them to use it; we got by just fine without it…”) to…a possible Jewish black market organ-harvesting conspiracy? Something about a rabbi being involved in selling kidneys and livers. And no, I do not support his bizarre Antisemitic viewpoints, nor does anyone else I work with. I just find it highly entertaining, the way he so often combines urban legends, conspiracy theories and his own prejudices into some of the most fantastical bullshit I’ve ever heard in my life.

Unfortunately, school will start again soon and I won’t be able to work during the day anymore.

I heard every single one of these questions tonight.

“Which is better, x or y?”

Real answer: I don’t fucking know, eat whatever the fuck you feel like eating. Ten to one you’re not going to order either anyway.

Answer I gave: They’re both good.

“No seriously, which is more popular tonight?

Real answer: Are you fucking kidding me?

Answer I gave: They’re about even.

(on the phone, taking an order) “So, how much is that going to be?”

Real answer: I just wrote this down, I’m not a calculator, and this isn’t Wendy’s. If it were, you wouldn’t be calling in anyway.

Answer I gave: Ahaha, I’m not sure, sorry, I have to do this by hand.

“Can I get (insert item we don’t carry)?”


Answer I gave: Sorry, we don’t have that.

“How late do you take carryout orders?”

Real answer: Until we close, but that doesn’t mean you should order a bunch of steak dinners and milkshakes ten minutes before we close you dickless wonder.

Answer I gave: Until we close.

(when all the booths are clearly filled) “Do you have any booths?”

Real answer: You’re retarded.

Answer I gave: No, sorry, they’re all full.

(five minutes before close) “Are you guys closed?”

Real answer: Yes.

Answer I gave: No, come on in!