Geronimo last night: NDN Market, 220 tops, lots of people dropping glasses, staring into Aloha and saying “fuck” under their breaths, etc.
The other back waiter in my section blamed me for being too slow, and therefore making him feel stressed, which caused him to rush, which caused him to slam into someone who was running a plate of lobster, which caused the lobster to fall onto a $40 plate as it broke in the middle of a pathway, which caused the kitchen to yell at him, which caused him to (constructively) scorn me in harsh whispers for the duration of the evening.
He kept pulling me aside to tell me I needed to move faster. I apologized for causing slack, asking what I could prioritize to make my work more efficient. Then I would go back to what I was doing, because I do understand what is priority, and that is being at ease and communicating with people so that they feel understood. Whenever I saw him I looked him in the eyes and smiled. He smiled back.
At the end of the evening he talked me through how I could improve, which I appreciated because what he said was accurate and helpful. I am slower than people who have been doing this longer. I don’t take it personally.
My captain said I had done an “awesome job,” and 3 of the tables asked how many years I had worked there, one of them commenting that I was one of the best servers they’d had. This is probably because I was observing their experience rather than thinking “it has been x time, I should clear their unfinished plates.” Also I make fucking great jokes and I’m real pretentious.
I held the entree plates, bread and butter plates, individual sauce dishes and various silverware of table 43 with my left hand. As I de-crumbed the table with my right hand they asked where I had worked before, I said “Santa Fe Dry Goods… SITE Santa Fe, KIT Brain Research Lab… They asked about my career plans and I mentioned grad school, feeling thankful for their interest and for the fact that I’ve been doing 100 bicep curls twice a week (it was easily 25 pounds of quality table settings). Once in the refuge of the kitchen I eased the weight onto my freshly laundered, white, French-cuffed, slave-cotton Brook’s Brothers shirt.
I wouldn’t say that I did an “awesome job” but this tactic of aiding my improvement provides confidence, while the negative feedback I received will spur momentum (just hopefully not into other human bodies carrying hot plates).