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.

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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.

I am dealing with graduating from my current college and applying to a new one, and all the bureaucratic red tape is sapping my will to write (and live). Things should be on track again in a few days. I also have a guest post for The Only-Slightly-Cranky-Waitress cooking, so be on the lookout for that.

Morning Shift

August 5, 2009

Ah, I’m tired. Had to get up at 6:30 AM so I could be at work by 7:30 to basically be Owner’s helper, i.e. a prep cook/cashier/carryout girl.

The morning staff is so different from the evening staff. Almost everyone is an adult well out of college. Everyone seems more tired, more burnt out. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s early or because they’ve been in foodservice so long that it’s worn them out.

Helping in the kitchen was surprisingly fun; maybe just because I was doing different things. Except dicing onions. That wasn’t fun, and having Owner laugh at me the whole time was also not so fun.

The rest of the shift was boring; I had a lot of regulars ask who the hell I was, and very little to do besides take people’s money.  A side note: saying things like “I guess I have to give you money now” is not original or particularly funny. Acting put out because you have to pay for your food just makes you seem like an asshole. Maybe I lack a sense of humor–or maybe I’m just tired of hearing it every goddamn shift–but if you make those kinds of jokes, you should stop. Before I start seriously considering creative uses for a chef knife.

By the way, Owner said I handled the Ring Pop lady situation correctly. Go figure.

Hosted tonight and nothing that entertaining happened. It was N’s last night but that mostly consisted of a couple random people making him a disgusting salad and a disgusting milkshake and he ate it anyway because it was the last night he was getting free food. There were no shenanigans, no fights, nothing. Meh.

As you may have inferred from a previous post, my family has been on vacation and I have been taking care of the house. People ask me “Why would you not go on vacation?” and I laugh at them because I am on vacation. Vacation from dealing with my family’s shit. Vacation from picking up the crap in a room and putting it away and it stays put away. Vacation from being asked where I’m going and when I’ll be back.

Despite the fact that I have done very little, I have greatly enjoyed my freedom. It would only have been improved if I could actually go somewhere, but frankly, I like just being able to loaf around and do what I want without being questioned. Yes, I spent most of today watching old Zero Punctuation videos, but fuck it, I had nothing better to do and I enjoyed myself.

I’ve also greatly enjoyed having my privacy. That includes Boyfriend staying over, though I’m not going into details about that. It also includes wandering around in my underwear, dancing around and singing along to Barenaked Ladies, scratching my ass, whatever. The point is, this has been a vacation for me, and one far more fulfilling then going up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan with my mother and two 15-year-old boys.

Long-winded exposition aside, here’s my actual point: you know that feeling, when you’re on vacation, and you know you’ve only got a couple days left and then it’s back to the boring drudgery of your daily life? That slow-onset, soul-crushing depression? Yeah, that’s where I am right now. And while this experience to some extent strengthens my resolve to move out, my shitty job and lack of transport are still major obstacles to overcome.

The only bright spot in my day is the fact that this blog’s views jumped from 8 yesterday to over 60 today, so thanks to whoever put my site on StumbleUpon. And thanks to you general 8-10 people who actually seem to check this site regularly. I apologize for the lack of entertaining things today, and for the general bitchery, but like I said, I have the blahs. Tomorrow is a proper carryout day, and you know what that means–bitches who want 20 milkshakes, rude people, and hair-tearing frustration. Should be a good time.