First off, general reflection: I LOVE WORKING. Of course, I realize my situation is a little artificial. I’m not working to pay the rent or put food on the table. But being out of the house, having responsibilities to fulfil and customers to please, even driving home late at night – it all adds up to a measure of independence and accountability that I find new/challenging/fun.
I like that my job is not glamorous. I’m quite literally at the bottom of the food chain: I bus food from the basement kitchen to the lounge upstairs. That’s half the job; the other half is about never standing still, essentially doing anything I can to help the chefs below and waitresses above. I try to do as much as possible, and it’s not really self-serving, because no matter what I’m still taking home minimum wage when the night is over. I like that a lot. It’s a far, far cry from what I’ve done in summers past, which – I’ll be honest – was about getting myself ahead. Many of you have inquired, so I’ll tell you: summer ‘08: family followed Lulu’s orchestra on tour in Europe; started learning chemistry and physics so my school would let me take them concurrently as a sophomore; tennis camp. ‘09: Russia and Sicily with the family; went to summer school (by choice!) to finish my requirements early so I could take a military history elective in the fall. ‘10: Germany and southern France with the family; interned at a psychiatric genetics lab in Boston for the rest of the summer.
|with our awesome cousins in berlin.|
Summer ‘11 is definitely a learning experience too, just of a different kind.
Okay. Now, purely for fun, I want to sketch a recent encounter that has to do with (!!) parenting as well...
Last Friday night.
It was a slow evening in the restaurant, so when we got a reservation for a party of 26, we eagerly accepted. We should have known better: their first question was, “is this place like Chili’s?” No, not really. The burgers here have a hint of Picasso. Desserts are evocative of the Guggenheim Bilbao. They showed up anyways; the group turned out to be some kind of elite, 16-year-old travel baseball team...plus an entourage of overprotective helicopter moms. You could picture them sauntering onto the field while the dads struggled behind like pack mules under duffel bags of gear. Right from the get go, they made a huge fuss about everything. All hell broke loose when I brought out the burgers. “I don’t like cheese.” “This relish is gross.” “I have a gluten allergy, take away the bun or I’ll die.” YOU’RE A TEENAGE BOY, EAT WHAT’S PUT IN FRONT OF YOU. Maybe that’s too callous. At least tell us you need it prepared with sterilized tongs and a string quartet before we cook it! Whatever you do, don’t take it out on the servers. A furious, blonde mom in capris almost had the waitress in tears. “My boy played a VERY STRESSFUL GAME today and he’s been waiting 45 MINUTES for his pizza!” She threatened to “post horrible reviews of this place online” and told me to can it when I apologized for the late pizza. I overheard the boys say they were considering Yale. Well, I hate to break it to you. You can be the best shortstop in New England, but you can’t walk into college with your mommy holding your hand. I like to think this is where tiger cubs have a slight advantage. We are not pampered, so we learn to solve our own problems No hard feelings, though. When the Yale coach comes courting, I hope for your own sake you’ll man up and eat the relish.
On that note, I’m psyched to be a Yankees diehard in Boston next year. I am ready, nay, super-pumped to be pelted with trash by belligerent fans at Fenway.
So that was a little Q&A, family history, and ranting mixed in. Anybody working in the restaurant industry with customer horror stories? Or work stories in general? How about advice for good college jobs? Leave me a comment :)