As your "typical" starving artist, I work part-time in a restaurant.
But it's actually pretty solid work, and incredibly hard work at that. I am a Host at a brunch restaurant on the weekends and as a result, I spend my weekends getting my step count in and my love for Mondays is really indescribable. (If you remember that Bangles song 'Manic Monday'- clearly no one in that band worked brunch service... Sunday is not what I'd deem "my fun day".) As a Host, I know I'm not your favourite person when you're coming in... because I'm basically the Brunch Gatekeeper, a Brunch Bouncer if you will- but I'm still a human being, with feelings, and I really think people forget that sometimes.
Look, I get it, you are:
b) On your way to the airport and need to eat NOW
c) Hoping to bring in your bridal party and need a table for 15 in an hour
d) Old and can't stand for long, so can you be pushed to the head of the list
e) A parent and your child is not screaming at the moment so can we make a move on it and get you sat before your kids lose their minds in 20 seconds?
f) You're running late for a funeral*
(*Okay, if you are running late for a funeral and you've chosen to brunch... personally, I don't think you really want to go to the funeral. And yes, someone said to me once that they were running late for a funeral.)
I absolutely understand that you don't want to wait to eat, you've just woken up and you're "hangry". But if I could offer any tip to anyone heading out for brunch, it'd be to pack a little snack. Seriously. You know how you should never grocery shop on an empty stomach? Well, same goes for brunch if you ask me! Grab a banana, a pack of nuts, whatever... because you're likely going to encounter a wait, be it a short one or a longer one than you planned on. And some people just don't like to hear they'll need to wait, which I understand and yet I don't understand why no one seems prepared. I tell people they have to wait, and they look at me like I've told them Christmas got canceled. But do I need the commentary and the shade folks throw at me? Of course I don't. And for the love of Pete, HOW am I supposed to reason with people who get mad at me that there's NO LINE???
You read that right. I've been yelled at by grown-ups when they're able to sit right away.
Give that a moment to roll around in your brain.
The usual "reason" is that they were expecting a line, and they're not hungry right now.
Give that a moment to roll around in your brain.
I started working in the restaurant industry later in life, I started my life later in life really, but I was in my 30s when I began serving at a diner here in Toronto. I needed a change, and that job literally changed my life in the best way possible. It wasn't easy though, the gawking and general icky-ness of some customers looking at you in a way that makes you want to run. The talking down to. My not being able to read your mind. BUT, it wasn't the majority of my experience there- thankfully. But it was there. I do wish that EVERYBODY did a bit of time serving or working in a dish pit or as a barista just to experience how we treat one another, because it's truly fascinating. And not always in a "I got a new puppy!" kind of way. Someone is making your food, pouring you a coffee... it doesn't make your status higher than theirs. Yes, you're our customer but we're in this together! Teamwork makes the dream work!!
I do my level best to judge when your table might be ready, I use no computer system or App at the restaurant, it's just me and a piece of paper and a pen. (The compliments I receive on my penmanship is really appreciated, though... it is!) And hey, sometimes I'm on the nose and sometimes I have no way to know table 19 is going to sit there for another hour chatting after they've paid...
We have these short little interactions with each other, but they can have a big impact- I know that. I have to hide how I'm feeling a lot of the times at my job and it's hard, and sometimes I'm not great at keeping it together but I'd like to hope that the majority of the time I do.
I work a 7 hour shift every Saturday and Sunday, and I WERK my buns off. Everyone in our restaurant does. Sure, some days we mess up or handle a situation in a way that wasn't great... but we're human. And I want your experience to be great, but I'm also in my 40s and pretty certain I'm perimenopausal so forgive me if I get ansty when you're standing behind me telling your partner that I'm really terrible at my job- look how much longer they've had to wait! (It happens.)
And hey, staring at me for 45 minutes won't make your name move up that line-up faster! What it will do? Stress us all out more quickly!!
I swear, adults need those colouring books more than kids do some days. Heck, I need a colouring book some days... it can be hard to keep a sunny side up smile on my face when I'm being spoken down to by strangers.
But! BUT... then I have moments of seating a woman who's about to meet a relative she only learned about doing her ancestry dna test, or greeting a regular who has just completed her chemo, or it's a little girl's birthday party and she really wants a donut. And that's always awesome to be a part of.