when you have to do something you thought you might like but half way through you decide you hate it and all you want to do is to get out.
That’s how I felt about halfway through my first waitressing stint, which I’ve just completed. Truth be told, I think this is one of the “nicer” establishments: I did find myself thinking (before the main rush of customers arrived, and all hell broke loose), I was thinking hmm, this place is really nice. There is a pleasant choreography of action here, and all sottovoce: a little murmur, once in a while, of “chef”, and the occasional “bling!” of the service bell, after which a waitron would rush quietly to take the steaming dish (say, medallion of springbok “crepenette” with braised savoy cabbage) to whatever poncy person was greedily waiting for it.
No names mentioned, but this is one of the top 10 eateries in town. The waiting dress code is subtle and classic: black pants, white shirt. About 80% of the clientele were booked in from the ponciest hotels: Sheraton, Grace, Table Bay. You get the picture. (Also, there were a remarkable number of women who looked very German, the thin, straight-haired, square spectacle wearing kind of German. Like a Teutonic Nana Mouskouri. Rather beautiful but a little scary also. They ate the most.)
Then the rest arrived, and suddenly the pretty choreography was gone, and Chef, who had been rather nice and Plain Jane until then, started getting irritated with me for not recognising the secret nod of the head that means “Clean the side of the soupbowl with your dishtowel and the take it to table fifteen, NOW”.
I didn’t have a dishtowel and I had even less of an inclination where the hell table fifteen was.
(What is with table numbers in restaurants anway? They never make any bloody sense!)
So, all in all, it was a pretty horrible experience. The food did look good, but after four hours of it and some nasty burnmarks on my hands, all I could face when I got home was the new Cadbury’s Boost that I’ve been saving for just the right occasion.
I’ve eaten it now and it was really really good. Almost like a Tempo in the good old days, when Tempos weren’t wusses and didn’t behave like the weh-fer thins that they are now.
Maybe it was all worth it after all.