Awkward Exes Serving Awkward Exes

Being a server sometimes means you’re gonna have to serve tables that know either too little or too much about you. In my case, I have on occasion had to wait on my ex-boyfriends’ exes. Not just exes, but the women who had broken my ex-boyfriends’ hearts. Which would make them the “big love” my boyfriends had lost at some point not too long after. And these women always seem to know who I am.

I’m starting to confuse myself, and probably you, so let me throw some examples out there.

Years ago, after I recently broke up with my first boyfriend, Cameron, I had to wait on his high school sweetheart, someone Cameron had a hard time letting go of after they had ended their relationship. Needless to say, it was someone he had loved hard for and I knew this while dating him. They had also kept in touch during my relationship with Cameron, always making me wonder if he was ever over her. It didn’t really matter anyway, considering Cameron and I didn’t work out. But what was awkward was that I knew certain private and personal things about her and she definitely knew certain private and personal things about me.

So when I announced my name (which is incredibly unique) and that I’d be taking care of her, I knew the smile on her face was purely superficial and nervous. This, in turn, made me uncomfortable, so for the duration of her dining out, everything was tense.

Irony, I think. Why is it that the ex-love of my recent ex-boyfriend somehow ends up sitting in my section when I know they are entirely unaware of my existence at The Restaurant? Especially when we had never met before?

But it doesn’t get anymore awkward than having the ex-WIFE sitting at your table. THE ex-wife your ex-boyfriend talked to you about for hours, telling you things she probably wouldn’t want you to know. And, as far as you know, she might know things about you that you wouldn’t want HER to know. And not only is it an ex-wife, but a recent one at that. Tricky, tricky…

I had never met her before, but had heard plenty. I also knew she was aware of my existence, but it was hard to say if she could recognize me by looks alone. I knew she would know my name, though. So, as I watched her tiny figure gracefully sit, looking with those extremely arched eyebrows, puffed out cheekbones and lips, I had to consciously restrain myself from going in multiple directions like a chicken with its head chopped off. For a split second, I felt guilty. Maybe it was because I had felt like a mistress when dating this man. Being hidden from his personal life always made me feel like I was in an affair and that if the wife found out, I would be in huge trouble. But it was his EX-wife. And he was now my ex-boyfriend (or more like a whim/fling/situation #2…refer back to situation #1 for clarification). “Boyfriend” doesn’t seem to fit this particular guy anyhow.

Still doesn’t change the fact that it was nerve-wracking. I swiftly passed by the table without greeting the ex and her date, and grabbed Ethel, another server, saying, “I can’t take this table. It’s HIS ex.” But really, I could have; however,considering it was dead in the restaurant, I knew Ethel could take it off my hands. I just didn’t feel like testing out my acting skills at that particular moment. I was just happy she didn’t walk in with her daughter. I could just feel the bile rise up my throat if that had happened. He did such a good job at hiding me from his daughter, how ironic would it have been if I got to meet her through his ex. Not that I wanted to be hidden, but he felt it best for his daughter not to know about me. Again, the Mistress title being labeled onto me. And again, I want to vomit. If only I was a Super Ex-Girlfriend, I wouldn’t feel so pathetic…Yes...this is more like it.

There was always another reason to vomit, and it was because I knew he had really loved his ex-wife. She was his “big love” just like Cameron’s high school sweetheart was his “big love.” And both ended up in my section. Years apart, but in two separate states, and yet still the same irony. Still the same awkwardness. Because, I too, was an ex. And I hate serving exes.

The Malibu Whim

It’s mid June and my friends, Anthony and Mat, and I decided to take a trip out to Malibu beach to see Anthony’s girlfriend and my best friend Rachel. We rented a spot at Malibu RV Park to pitch up a tent—it was the cheapest way to stay there for four days. We had our concerns, but after pitching up a four bedroom tent on top of a small mountain with a bird’s eye view of the Pacific ocean, hearing the waves crashing against the distant shores, camping wasn’t such a bad idea.
The beach was about walking distance and there were cute little seafood restaurants lining the shore.
After wrestling with the four bedroom tent, which took all four of us and a giant rock to hammer the stakes into the ground, we were able to take a quick dip into the ocean before having dinner at a super fancy Mediterranean restaurant across from the beach.
Quick note on beach: the waves were incredibly strong where we were. I got body slammed a few times while Mat, Anthony and I attempted to body surf.
At the restaurant, Mat and I already started on a few drinks—rum and coke, Tanqueray and tonic—while waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. Rachel had invited two of her friends from the music camp she was attending at Pepperdine University. By the time we sat down, I was already very tipsy. The bartender was surely not frugal on the liquor. But I decided to have a refreshing mojito to be my second drink. By the time I had that one half way down, I was drunk. I couldn’t really tell if Mat was feeling anything, but I think I remember him telling me he thought the drinks were really strong.
In any case, I ordered what I thought to be a delicious lobster and linguini dish. I scarfed it down without a second thought. At this time, I could tell that I was getting fairly emotional. I had this horrible feeling that Rachel, my very closest friend, was annoyed with me. Earlier the evening, she had turned and scolded me about how we were all “in a very nice restaurant.” I have a big mouth and there are many times where I will let it fly on subjects no average human being would dare share with others.
Unaware of our newest guests, I was on the topic of how my period finally started regulating after years and years of having surprises. I was excited to share that with everyone. Thus, Rachel turning to me and saying, “We’re at a nice restaurant…”
For some reason, that struck a wrong cord with me and my body literally went numb—a tell-tale sensation that I was gonna start crying at some point or another.
Well, after drinking up my third Tanqueray and tonic, totaling just three drinks all night, I ended up in the bathroom in tears, blubbering about something along the lines of how my best friend is ashamed of me and how “I shouldn’t even speak at all” because people find me obnoxious. Rachel, of course, is comforting me all the while.
Thankfully, this lasted a total of ten minutes, if not less, and I was back to my bubbly self, ready for more.
Rachel had to return to her dorm while me and the boys returned to our tent. Mat pulled out Parcheesi and Anthony pulled out Bud Light. I hate Bud Light, but I was drunk enough to not care. So all three of us played Drunk Parcheesi that we were never able to finish.
It was six in the morning and I suddenly woke up in a cold sweat. I had only had four drinks total the night before, but I was all too aware of my stomach’s existence. One thing to know about me is that I never throw up. I have thrown up a total of four times, once when I was three, once when four, once last year and once more this year. So when I dragged myself out of the tent to rush to the bathroom, you should already assume I’m not very good at this.
I sat on the bathroom’s cold floor for about thirty minutes with nothing happening. The wave of nausea began to subside so I pulled myself up to rinse my face. As soon as I moved to the sink, I felt it come. I missed the toilet by an inch, red liquid spilling out of me. The flavor in my mouth was that of sweet seafood, probably the worst taste I have ever experienced. I rushed to the sink to rinse my mouth out, and then came another wave. This time chunks of lobster and linguini, undigested, came hurtling out of me. I couldn’t see it at the time, but there was no mistaking the feeling of it. I did it once more into a different sink before the vomit-frenzy subsided.
Quite frankly the most awful vomiting experience of my life, even though it was only the fifth time. I was quite surprised by myself as well; I never get sick after only four drinks. Then, to top it off, about an half an hour before 8am, our tent neighbors woke up…along with their kids. For about the next few hours straight, none of us could sleep through the high-pitch screaming and whining their young toddler decided to torture us with. That toddler also decided to run around our tent, yelling out “Ball!” as though “ball” was the only word it knew how to say. I nearly committed murder that morning.
After the neighbors left and after a few more hours of recuperation, I was ready to begin again, starting at the beach. But the experience has now ruined my love of lobster, unfortunately.
Mat, Anthony, and I spent all day at the beach. We jumped waves, fought against huge pieces of kelp, and we made Anthony into a sandman. Needless to say, the day was quite perfect, sans morning. We had dinner at Duke’s, a Hawaiian restaurant directly off the shore of the ocean.
That evening, we decided to take it easy and get some rest before the next day where we would be spending at Disneyland. We fell peacefully asleep to the crashing of the waves below us…
…until rudely awakened by a radio and loud and drunk kids laughing which lasted until 2am. Again…murder.
So when morning came around and it was time to get ready for Disneyland, you can imagine how tired we all were. But the big whopper was when Mat said, “Great. I’m surrounded by ants.”
“You’re kidding, right?” I said. I hate ants…passionately.
“Nope. Not at all,” Mat responded, not quite happy either. He didn’t have an air mattress, so the only thing he had under him was a sleeping bag…which the ants surrounded like a mote. Mat carefully observed the ants and was thankful to find they stayed off of him. “They seem to have an interest in one of my socks, though,” he said, “and…my shorts…and my bathing suit…”
“Well, at least they’re distracted,” I commented, as I searched around my own bedding area. No ants, phew.
As Mat began to eliminate the ants with the bottom of a water bottle—which, in my opinion, is a very inefficient way to kill ants considering the elevated bottom of a water bottle—Rachel and I made our way to the bathrooms to get ready for the morning.
All of us were ready in a little over a half hour, hopped in the car, and started the hour long drive to Disneyland. We were originally planning to get there when it opened, but we didn’t make it in time. That was okay, though, we still managed to beat the massive crowd that would have surely been there if we hadn’t arrived when we did.
The four of us skipped for joy into Disneyland’s gates, as if we were ten years old again, and quickly decided which ride we should head towards first. Making a note that the Matterhorn didn’t have a fast pass—which is STUPID, I might add—we decided to ride that one first.
However, we had a slight detour that was needed in order to get Rachel coffee and something to eat. Inside Disney’s little market, we saw two places: an empty coffee shop with plain fruit and a small assortment of Danishes, and directly across, a restaurant with a full breakfast spread. Rachel considered the full spread until looking at the massive line that had formed…of course, there was no way.
So we quickly dashed into the empty coffee shop, grabbed Rachel and I a small coffee, and she, a bite to eat, and then we rushed over to the Matterhorn which, thankfully, the line had not gotten too long.
Our first ride started the day off to a good start. We seemed to have plenty of time for all the best rides. We climbed Tarzan’s tree—with me miserably failing the Tarzan rope—ventured into Indiana Jones’ Temple of the Forbidden Eye (or whatever you call it), blasted into Space Mountain and had a rough ride to Endor on Star Tours, got shrunk by Dr. Szalinski…again, checked out some mansion we were debating on renting…until we found out it was HAUNTED!!!—and floated down the river of the Caribbean and saw a very real looking Johnny Depp. Depp was actually really disturbing in the sense that he was so life-like, we could have sworn that he was a real actor.
For dinner, we were lucky enough to get riverside seating inside the Blue Bayou restaurant for Anthony’s birthday. Unfortunately we had an asshole of a server. I, myself, work for a restaurant, I can vouch that this guy was, in fact, a dick. It is a good thing the four of us are such good sports…
Oh yeah, and did I forget to tell you, we were all in Star Wars?
All in all, the whole day was probably one of the best days we had had altogether. Even Anthony kept getting “Happy Birthday” wishes by complete strangers everywhere we walked. Too bad that didn’t get us at the front of the line…
As soon as we got back to our tent in Malibu, we all passed out in exhaustion. And for the first night that week, it was a silent night—sans annoying drunk people and crazy babies.
The next day, Rachel, Anthony, Mat and I had lunch—forget breakfast—at a Seafood Bar with the most deliciously amazing fish I have ever had! And then it was time to say our goodbyes to Rachel. It wasn’t easy leaving Rachel behind in Malibu, especially for Anthony. But we had to get back to Arizona and she had to go back to her music camp.
I have had a lot of amazing adventures with my friends and family, but I have to admit that this trip will be one of the best that I will always remember. I am so glad that, before we all move away from each other, we had the opportunity to make the best memories possible…together.

It’s mid June and my friends, Anthony and Mat, and I decided to take a trip out to Malibu beach to see Anthony’s girlfriend and my best friend Rachel. We rented a spot at Malibu RV Park to pitch up a tent—it was the cheapest way to stay there for four days. We had our concerns, but after pitching up a four bedroom tent on top of a small mountain with a bird’s eye view of the Pacific ocean, hearing the waves crashing against the distant shores, camping wasn’t such a bad idea.

The beach was about walking distance and there were cute little seafood restaurants lining the shore.

After wrestling with the four bedroom tent, which took all four of us and a giant rock to hammer the stakes into the ground, we were able to take a quick dip into the ocean before having dinner at a super fancy Mediterranean restaurant across from the beach.

Quick note on beach: the waves were incredibly strong where we were. I got body slammed a few times while Mat, Anthony and I attempted to body surf.

At the restaurant, Mat and I already started on a few drinks—rum and coke, Tanqueray and tonic—while waiting for the rest of our party to arrive. Rachel had invited two of her friends from the music camp she was attending at Pepperdine University. By the time we sat down, I was already very tipsy. The bartender was surely not frugal on the liquor. But I decided to have a refreshing mojito to be my second drink. By the time I had that one half way down, I was drunk. I couldn’t really tell if Mat was feeling anything, but I think I remember him telling me he thought the drinks were really strong.

In any case, I ordered what I thought to be a delicious lobster and linguini dish.

Lobster Linguini
Lobster Linguini

I scarfed it down without a second thought. At this time, I could tell that I was getting fairly emotional. I had this horrible feeling that Rachel, my very closest friend, was annoyed with me. Earlier the evening, she had turned and scolded me about how we were all “in a very nice restaurant.” I have a big mouth and there are many times where I will let it fly on subjects no average human being would dare share with others.

Unaware of our newest guests, I was on the topic of how my period finally started regulating after years and years of having surprises. I was excited to share that with everyone. Thus, Rachel turning to me and saying, “We’re at a nice restaurant…”

For some reason, that struck a wrong cord with me and my body literally went numb—a tell-tale sensation that I was gonna start crying at some point or another.

Well, after drinking up my third Tanqueray and tonic, totaling just three drinks all night, I ended up in the bathroom in tears, blubbering about something along the lines of how my best friend is ashamed of me and how “I shouldn’t even speak at all” because people find me obnoxious. Rachel, of course, is comforting me all the while.

Thankfully, this lasted a total of ten minutes, if not less, and I was back to my bubbly self, ready for more.

Rachel had to return to her dorm while me and the boys returned to our tent. Mat pulled out Parcheesi and Anthony pulled out Bud Light. I hate Bud Light, but I was drunk enough to not care. So all three of us played Drunk Parcheesi that we were never able to finish.

It was six in the morning and I suddenly woke up in a cold sweat. I had only had four drinks total the night before, but I was all too aware of my stomach’s existence. One thing to know about me is that I never throw up. I have thrown up a total of four times, once when I was three, once when four, once last year and once more this year. So when I dragged myself out of the tent to rush to the bathroom, you should already assume I’m not very good at this.

I sat on the bathroom’s cold floor for about thirty minutes with nothing happening. The wave of nausea began to subside so I pulled myself up to rinse my face. As soon as I moved to the sink, I felt it come. I missed the toilet by an inch, red liquid spilling out of me. The flavor in my mouth was that of sweet seafood, probably the worst taste I have ever experienced. I rushed to the sink to rinse my mouth out, and then came another wave. This time chunks of lobster and linguini, undigested, came hurtling out of me. I couldn’t see it at the time, but there was no mistaking the feeling of it. I did it once more into a different sink before the vomit-frenzy subsided.

Quite frankly the most awful vomiting experience of my life, even though it was only the fifth time. I was quite surprised by myself as well; I never get sick after only four drinks. Then, to top it off, about an half an hour before 8am, our tent neighbors woke up…along with their kids. For about the next few hours straight, none of us could sleep through the high-pitch screaming and whining their young toddler decided to torture us with. That toddler also decided to run around our tent, yelling out “Ball!” as though “ball” was the only word it knew how to say. I nearly committed murder that morning.

After the neighbors left and after a few more hours of recuperation, I was ready to begin again, starting at the beach. But the experience has now ruined my love of lobster, unfortunately.

Mat, Anthony, and I spent all day at the beach. We jumped waves, fought against huge pieces of kelp, and we made Anthony into a sandman. Needless to say, the day was quite perfect, sans morning.

Duke's Restaurant
Duke's Restaurant

We had dinner at Duke’s, a Hawaiian restaurant directly off the shore of the ocean.

That evening, we decided to take it easy and get some rest before the next day where we would be spending at Disneyland. We fell peacefully asleep to the crashing of the waves below us…

…until rudely awakened by a radio and loud and drunk kids laughing which lasted until 2am. Again…murder.

So when morning came around and it was time to get ready for Disneyland, you can imagine how tired we all were. But the big whopper was when Mat said, “Great. I’m surrounded by ants.”

“You’re kidding, right?” I said. I hate ants…passionately.

“Nope. Not at all,” Mat responded, not quite happy either. He didn’t have an air mattress, so the only thing he had under him was a sleeping bag…which the ants surrounded like a mote. Mat carefully observed the ants and was thankful to find they stayed off of him. “They seem to have an interest in one of my socks, though,” he said, “and…my shorts…and my bathing suit…”

“Well, at least they’re distracted,” I commented, as I searched around my own bedding area. No ants, phew.

As Mat began to eliminate the ants with the bottom of a water bottle—which, in my opinion, is a very inefficient way to kill ants considering the elevated bottom of a water bottle—Rachel and I made our way to the bathrooms to get ready for the morning.

All of us were ready in a little over a half hour, hopped in the car, and started the hour long drive to Disneyland. We were originally planning to get there when it opened, but we didn’t make it in time. That was okay, though, we still managed to beat the massive crowd that would have surely been there if we hadn’t arrived when we did.

The four of us skipped for joy into Disneyland’s gates, as if we were ten years old again, and quickly decided which ride we should head towards first. Making a note that the Matterhorn didn’t have a fast pass—which is STUPID, I might add—we decided to ride that one first.

However, we had a slight detour that was needed in order to get Rachel coffee and something to eat. Inside Disney’s little market, we saw two places: an empty coffee shop with plain fruit and a small assortment of Danishes, and directly across, a restaurant with a full breakfast spread. Rachel considered the full spread until looking at the massive line that had formed…of course, there was no way.

So we quickly dashed into the empty coffee shop, grabbed Rachel and I two small coffees, and she, a bite to eat, and then we rushed over to the Matterhorn which, thankfully, the line had not gotten too long.

Our first ride started the day off to a good start. We seemed to have plenty of time for all the best rides. We climbed Tarzan’s tree—with me miserably failing the Tarzan rope—ventured into Indiana Jones’ Temple of the Forbidden Eye (or whatever you call it), blasted into Space Mountain and had a rough ride to Endor on Star Tours, got shrunk by Dr. Szalinski…again, checked out some mansion we were debating on renting…until we found out it was HAUNTED!!!—and floated down the river of the Caribbean and saw a very real looking Johnny Depp. Depp was actually really disturbing in the sense that he was so life-like, we could have sworn that he was a real actor.

Blue Bayou
Blue Bayou

For dinner, we were lucky enough to get riverside seating inside the Blue Bayou restaurant for Anthony’s birthday. Unfortunately we had an asshole of a server. I, myself, work for a restaurant, I can vouch that this guy was, in fact, a dick. It is a good thing the four of us are such good sports…

Oh yeah, and did I forget to tell you, we were all in Star Wars?

Star Wars
Star Wars

All in all, the whole day was probably one of the best days we had had altogether. Even Anthony kept getting “Happy Birthday” wishes by complete strangers everywhere we walked. Too bad that didn’t get us at the front of the line…

As soon as we got back to our tent in Malibu, we all passed out in exhaustion. And for the first night that week, it was a silent night—sans annoying drunk people and crazy babies.

The next day, Rachel, Anthony, Mat and I had lunch—forget breakfast—at a Seafood Bar with the most deliciously amazing fish I have ever had! And then it was time to say our goodbyes to Rachel. It wasn’t easy leaving Rachel behind in Malibu, especially for Anthony. But we had to get back to Arizona and she had to go back to her music camp.

I have had a lot of amazing adventures with my friends and family, but I have to admit that this trip will be one of the best that I will always remember. I am so glad that, before we all move away from each other, we had the opportunity to make the best memories possible…together.

View from our tent
View from our tent

Can I get you anything else?

 

*the names used are not real for privacy purposes
“Um, yeah,” says the boy, probably in his early twenties or late teens, sitting next to his girlfriend, staring up at me with one of those vacant expressions. “…can I get some ranch?”
“Sure,” I reply, smiling. Of course smiling doesn’t have anything to do with being happy. The table I was waiting on that day was one of those tables. It was one of those tables where the minute I greeted them, they greeted me with the infamous deer-in-headlights stare, staying silent for a few aggravating seconds as though I was some sort of alien deformity, then finally saying in quiet little voices, can I get a coke. It was one of those tables where they claimed to be ready to order, then lost their brains somewhere along the way when I asked what they would like, while I’m busy as hell and don’t have time to stand around until they finally retrieve their runaway brains and figure it out.
Being a good server takes a very special kind of talent: unlimited patience. Not to mention the multi-tasking brain of a computer. I consider myself to be a “good server” after being put to the test at *The Restaurant and Brewery where a server can be triple-sat (meaning three of your tables got sat at the exact same time) with six to seven-top tables (that means six or seven individuals) while the rest of your section is already full (that section being as big as seven to eight separate tables). A good server can handle all of this without freaking out and I have successfully passed this test. 
To be a server at The Restaurant and Brewery you must have a certain level of tolerance. The table I described earlier would be a type C (A being great, B being okay, C being tolerable, F being bad, bad, bad—there is no D). I have never understood why some people don’t speak up to servers and look them in the eye, as though they’re deathly afraid of us.
Thankfully most tables range from A to B and are very normal. And yet, I cannot seem to escape the annoying tables. Imagine a table with five women. They’re nice, but short with you, so you know they’re not in the mood to socialize. That’s fine; it’ll save you some time to visit your other tables without worrying that one will take up too much of your attention. They have ordered a round of beer, which you have already gotten for them, and all five of them are drinking happily. Then you pass by and ask if there is anything else you can get them. They don’t pay too much attention to you, even though your voice was loud and clear, but one lady does turn and asks you for a water. You smile and nod, saying to the other ladies, “is there anything else I can get you—nothing, okay,” then returning a minute later with a water, after you’ve already been pulled over by other tables needing something. Easy. So you set the water down and suddenly the rest of the four women turn to you, each one saying, “Oh, I’ll have a water too.” As they say this, you see that another one of your tables has been sat. So not only do you have to greet the new table and get their drinks, but have to make an extra trip carrying four more waters because these women didn’t pay you any attention. All you’re thinking is why couldn’t they ask for waters when their friend did?!!
Not that bad of a situation, really. Just irritating as hell. I would rate that table a B. Then there are the tables that don’t listen at all. Picture this: one person asks for a coke, and you respond with “is Pepsi okay?” The next person asks, “Can I have a diet coke?” and you respond with “is diet Pepsi okay?” Then the next person asks, “Do you have Coke?” and you say, “No just Pepsi products” when you really want to scream PEPSI!!! in their face.
I also love the tables that think you have eight arms. Here I am carrying two hot and heavy plates on my left arm and hand with another hot plate in my right. I set them down in front of the rightful owners on a table of six. I was only able to bring three plates on this trip. One woman says in a condescending tone, “Where’s the rest?” I look her straight in the eye, smile and say, “They’re coming.” But what I’m really thinking is, “sorry I left my other two arms back in the kitchen, let me reattach them just for you.” 
Then there are the F-type tables. These tables can be obvious or clever. And I hate them. We all hate them, and I know of some servers who claim to take revenge on them on their last day of work. There are many different types of F-tables. There’s the typical “something in my food” table, the incredibly rude and needy table that is impossible to satisfy, the table that complains about what we offer in the menu to either me or the manager, the table that leaves without paying the bill, the table that comes in automatically in a bad mood (don’t go out if you’re in a bad mood!), and then there’s the infamous “verbal tip” table. This is what I call the sneaky F-table.
This kind of table is what we all consider to be an enigma. Thankfully these tables are rare. However, they can really put you in the worst of moods. I had a couple once that, I thought, loved me. Everything was fast and efficient, and on top of that, I was “working it.” They also proceeded to tell me how wonderful I was, that I was a “great server.” After they left, I picked up the bill and gawked: four dollar tip on a sixty dollar bill. My initial reaction was to chuck the bill book across the room, hoping it would hit the exiting couple. But instead, I stood at the computer in a controlled, inner fury with a dash of sadness, my last thought echoing what the fuck! I certainly can’t pay the bills with a fucking “you’re great” tip. A totally irritating enigma! F, F, F!!! 
I try to remember the faces of those kinds of people for next time. However, I always seem to forget about it by the next day. I suppose that’s a good thing for many reasons. My job is to serve you, but remember, in order to get your food and drink, you have to go through me. 
Can I get you anything else?

“Um, yeah,” says the boy, probably in his early twenties or late teens, sitting next to his girlfriend, staring up at me with one of those vacant expressions. “…can I get some ranch?”

“Sure,” I reply, smiling. Of course smiling doesn’t have anything to do with being happy. The table I was waiting on that day was one of those tables. It was one of those tables where the minute I greeted them, they greeted me with the infamous deer-in-headlights stare, staying silent for a few aggravating seconds as though I was some sort of alien deformity, then finally saying in quiet little voices, can I get a coke. It was one of those tables where they claimed to be ready to order, then lost their brains somewhere along the way when I asked what they would like, while I’m busy as hell and don’t have time to stand around until they finally retrieve their runaway brains and figure it out.

Being a good server takes a very special kind of talent: unlimited patience. Not to mention the multi-tasking brain of a computer. I consider myself to be a “good server” after being put to the test at *The Restaurant and Brewery where a server can be triple-sat (meaning three of your tables got sat at the exact same time) with six to seven-top tables (that means six or seven individuals) while the rest of your section is already full (that section being as big as seven to eight separate tables). A good server can handle all of this without freaking out and I have successfully passed this test. 

To be a server at The Restaurant and Brewery you must have a certain level of tolerance. The table I described earlier would be a type C (A being great, B being okay, C being tolerable, F being bad, bad, bad—there is no D). I have never understood why some people don’t speak up to servers and look them in the eye, as though they’re deathly afraid of us.

Thankfully most tables range from A to B and are very normal. And yet, I cannot seem to escape the annoying tables. Imagine a table with five women. They’re nice, but short with you, so you know they’re not in the mood to socialize. That’s fine; it’ll save you some time to visit your other tables without worrying that one will take up too much of your attention. They have ordered a round of beer, which you have already gotten for them, and all five of them are drinking happily. Then you pass by and ask if there is anything else you can get them. They don’t pay too much attention to you, even though your voice was loud and clear, but one lady does turn and asks you for a water. You smile and nod, saying to the other ladies, “is there anything else I can get you—nothing, okay,” then returning a minute later with a water, after you’ve already been pulled over by other tables needing something. Easy. So you set the water down and suddenly the rest of the four women turn to you, each one saying, “Oh, I’ll have a water too.” As they say this, you see that another one of your tables has been sat. So not only do you have to greet the new table and get their drinks, but have to make an extra trip carrying four more waters because these women didn’t pay you any attention. All you’re thinking is why couldn’t they ask for waters when their friend did?!!

Not that bad of a situation, really. Just irritating as hell. I would rate that table a B. Then there are the tables that don’t listen at all. Picture this: one person asks for a coke, and you respond with “is Pepsi okay?” The next person asks, “Can I have a diet coke?” and you respond with “is diet Pepsi okay?” Then the next person asks, “Do you have Coke?” and you say, “No just Pepsi products” when you really want to scream PEPSI!!! in their face.

I also love the tables that think you have eight arms. Here I am carrying two hot and heavy plates on my left arm and hand with another hot plate in my right. I set them down in front of the rightful owners on a table of six. I was only able to bring three plates on this trip. One woman says in a condescending tone, “Where’s the rest?” I look her straight in the eye, smile and say, “They’re coming.” But what I’m really thinking is, “sorry I left my other two arms back in the kitchen, let me reattach them just for you.” 

Then there are the F-type tables. These tables can be obvious or clever. And I hate them. We all hate them, and I know of some servers who claim to take revenge on them on their last day of work. There are many different types of F-tables. There’s the typical “something in my food” table, the incredibly rude and needy table that is impossible to satisfy, the table that complains about what we offer in the menu to either me or the manager, the table that leaves without paying the bill, the table that comes in automatically in a bad mood (don’t go out if you’re in a bad mood!), and then there’s the infamous “verbal tip” table. This is what I call the sneaky F-table.

This kind of table is what we all consider to be an enigma. Thankfully these tables are rare. However, they can really put you in the worst of moods. I had a couple once that, I thought, loved me. Everything was fast and efficient, and on top of that, I was “working it.” They also proceeded to tell me how wonderful I was, that I was a “great server.” After they left, I picked up the bill and gawked: four dollar tip on a sixty dollar bill. My initial reaction was to chuck the bill book across the room, hoping it would hit the exiting couple. But instead, I stood at the computer in a controlled, inner fury with a dash of sadness, my last thought echoing what the fuck! I certainly can’t pay the bills with a fucking “you’re great” tip. A totally irritating enigma! F, F, F!!! 

I try to remember the faces of those kinds of people for next time. However, I always seem to forget about it by the next day. I suppose that’s a good thing for many reasons. My job is to serve you, but remember, in order to get your food and drink, you have to go through me. 

Can I get you anything else?

*the names used are not real for privacy purposes