Industry Studies: I Serve Dead People
That ether you wish you spit burns slower without a purpose.
Serving is a lot like any other study of life in that we are constantly carving paths of understanding. As caretakers of both the weird and normal, we are very susceptible to picking up on your innocence as well as your bullshit in-between bringing you ketchup, cocktail straws snatched up by bare hands and wrapped in napkins to ease your germ neuroses, and denying you drinks due to you thinking that you were clever in using only half of your drink ticket for that chardonnay. I mean, really. Tear a dollar bill in half and see if the Walgreen's pharmacist will recognize it as a legit two dollars toward your Valtrex. Please, lady. Did you really think you were the first to try and flip three corporate drink tickets into six half-assed attempts to get tanked? I admire the unabashed effort, but there's no sympathy A's to be given out here.
Shit, sometimes it's easier to just pretend to understand. I bring you a Moscow Mule in a regular rocks glass as opposed to the usual copper mug and your world spirals into a tizzy? You claim it must be a gin gimlet? You tell me you tried it, but you've literally been my sole focus for this eleven second interaction and I definitely did not see you sip and/or even sniff said cocktail? The fuck are you, the cocktail whisperer? Because that would be awesome. Useless, but awesome. Well...useless, as long as you're not in a room with Cosby.
My mistake, I might have grabbed the wrong cocktail. I'll be right back.
It wasn't my fucking mistake. It was a Moscow Mule in a rocks glass. There's thirty of you fuckers and twenty-eight of you are drinking the same shit. We have like, twelve copper mugs. Do the math fuckboí. While you calculate that, just know that you're in luck fuckboí. Turns out a copper mug was just cleaned. This saves you from me finding a dirty one and sloshing your shit into it. Here you go. Drink up. Oh! Much better you say? Fuck, I'll sleep well tonight.
If you think I haven't already sized you up based off just how you ordered the chicken, then you underestimate me. I'm literally poking and prodding for your appreciation...while making fun of you in the back - but no harm and no fucking foul. Dude likes his fowl very, very well done. Dude probably has ancestral memories of great, great, great grandma dying from some seriously rancid turkey. Or, sees pink and has flashbacks to that one time he ate pussy and was so turned off that it made him almost long for the days of Catholic clarity. He freaked it. That's code for priesthood cock coddling. Cuddling. Whatever. Not my fucking business. I'll let the chef know. No I won't. The chef's a cock.
Moral police over here. Arresting based off sandwich selections. But, I'd rather punch up than down. I don't like to pile on. I like to direct the pile. And there are definitely certain demographics I'm a lot more patient and civil with. Autistic and disabled individuals? Granted, should you be in a wheel chair and act a dick...fuck me, don't give me such ammunition. Poor people are a no-touch subject. I mean...unless you're an asshole while tipping like shit, because then I'm hitting you with every stereotype in the book. The shy and meek amongst us are good people...unless you're creepy and start showing up everyday to see me. Cut that out. Ew. Crazy and morbid widows I admit, take up one of those few instances where I don't really have a line you can cross. I am absolutely and beyond words, uncomfortable with your ass, but can't help to not appear understanding.
Which is exactly how I ended up taking a reservation for a dead guy's party, and serving a completely different dead guy's table.
Looking for the restrooms? They're actually going to be out on the patio to your le-
Actually, I have a request for you. My partner...he recently passed away, and I and a few others, maybe six of us, would like to hold a service here for him. We probably won't spend a lot. Maybe just a small brunch group? I noticed it's loud in here, TV's, people. What do you have for a group outside?
Sometimes in life, you just don't have the fucking words.
Ok...so, just so I understand, you, um. First off, I'm sorry for your loss. Yes, it tends to be louder inside the dining room. We don't always play the sound on the TV's, but there's a game, and on these particul...it's quieter on the patio. Yes, we have we tables on the patio, but they aren't movable so...but we can get you extra chairs...does your party of six number include your husbands, uh dedication? Memorial. Tribute? Should we have a seventh chair? I mean he can sit over here if he, you, are comfortable with it. We could use the table next to this one, if that's necessary, it's usually not a problem...I mean shit, you can have the whole patio right now. I don't care where he sits.
Partner, not husband. We lived together for a long time. He loved this place. He drank a lot of beer. Really liked this place. We just want to do something nice. We won't spend a lot. Maybe a beer placed at the end over here in his memory? Nine chairs I'm thinking. Do you think that would be too crowded? He'll enjoy this.
Right, partner. Sorry. Nine now? Thought we were at six. Wait, I thought this nigga was dead. Sorry, sorry. Sorry again for your loss. I'm sure we can accomodate this. No, no, I get that. Won't spend a lot. That's totally fine. I'll tell you what, Ill pass you along to my GM and we can figure something out.
When in doubt, pawn shit off to management. Every time. Every, fucking, time.
...six days after...
Hey what's up you two, my name is Mil-
Ok so, we have a request and I hope you can accommodate, what's your name? Miles? Ok Miles. So my husband passed away recently and he really enjoyed coming here. So we are going to have a tribute to him and, we'll say that he's going to be sitting right here. He was a Budweiser man, so he'll take a Bud Light and if you could make it look nice - maybe a frosty mug, and just put it right here so we can toast. Barbara you're the drinker. What would you like? What'd you have last time? Baltimore something? Give her a Bud Light also. I'll take an iced tea.
Here we fucking go again.
Um. Ok...sorry for your loss, first of all. (I'm getting good at this shit) We unfortunately do not have Bud Light, but what I could get him...you, a sample of is our blonde on draft...but, uh, we also have Coors Light in a bottle which is similar...
No Bud Light? Well I've never heard of such a thing! I'll just flail my fucking arms around and make huffy sounds until you're so fucking uncomfortable that you feel compelled to honor my lunch coupon for $5 off at 7:45pm that expired four months ago.
I'll get him that sample. You. I'll get you that sample.
Where the fuck is management.
Usually when I reference this quote, I'm about to get into some deep and dark shit. This is not one of those moments. Unless you consider an increasingly unsettling amount of guests at my restaurant approaching me about the wishes of their dead significant others, deep. I would agree to disagree, as I find it more on the spectrum of ... how do I word this; awkward and fucking creepy. What kind of fucked up perception do these people have of me? How much have the expectations of being a server really evolved? I know you feel like twenty percent tips are only deserving of impeccable service, but fuck me. Am I a walking Ouija board that also can bring them an iced tea? I thought I just had to remember your fucking order lady and smile periodically? I'm longing for nostalgia right now. Nostalgia, and to be fucking cut. Let me explain further now that I've relived a sliver of these weird fucking conversations after eating half of this pot cookie.
In the span of a week, I have literally been asked to serve two different dead guys. Like, what in the actual fuck. I can't tell if I'm the harbinger of death, or if my life just really sucks enough for this to be a relevant issue for me. I already know the answer. Spare me.
It's not even cool deaths either. Why can't I get the celebrity traction like that hack on E! gets. You know, Tyler Henry. The twink Hollywood medium. No, you don't know who he is? Because you have better things to be concerned with. Gotcha. I'm just saying though. O.J., you out dawg? Hit me up, cuz' I would love to serve Nicole Simpson. Who fucked Heath Ledger? It was one of the Olsen twins right? Someone snatch me up one of those homeless looking bitches, I got questions about the Batman movies. I think Sinbad died in all of our imaginations the day we found out he wasn't in Shazam. I wouldn't even know how to track down a Sinbad hoe. I'd have to conduct that shit through some grainy ass Def Comedy Jam YouTube video investigation. That's like finding a needle in a haystack that was never in that haystack. It was a lamp. And Shaq was in it.
Shit, what about some important deaths? Can I be that asshole that brings up J.F.K.? I think I can be and that's withstanding any gambles with them all being dead as fuck. I'll probably need some distant relative of Marilyn Monroe considering all the Kennedy's were killed off. Minus the one that married Arnold Schwarzenegger. She barely counts. In fact, I haven't even done any serious research into her being of said Kennedy lineage. Who wants to talk to that scary lizard lady; it's honestly no wonder that he fucked the maid. What other politically motivated mess of a lizard family could I reach out to? Can I get someone that Hillary suicided? Allegedly? Trying not to collect two shots to the back of the dome forced by my own hand today, thx.
hold up - hold up - hold up
Purposes gathered with little explanation better come hardened.
And yet I feel it to be both my positional obligation, as well as my obligation toward humanity, to cater to these crazy bitches. I don't know how else to explain it other than I would like to think someone else would do it for me. Like, if this were alternate universe loop #784 and I was some sad fuck looking to spend very little while someone picked out beer samples for my deader-half, I would want them to not openly ridicule me. Just, in the back where my ego wouldn't be put into jeopardy. What's the big deal anyways. I'll have to serve whatever the fucks in my section no matter what. Might as well be a dead guy. If you haven't already picked up by now, I'm probably not the poster-server for hospitality. Serving a corpse is honestly a good way for me to really sharpen up on my people skills. I mean, it's not like there's a whole lot of ethereal beings taking over bodies and leaving Yelp's ala Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Ooo! Swayze, there's another one to serve. I just need myself a Whoopi. Too soon? I could say the same about this very shift.
What happens though when I receive a message from the great beyond that conflicts with what she thinks her husband wants? This is a legit concern. What if I bring the guy a sample of beer that I know he would like. The lights flicker, forks float, coasters burst into flames, the hostesses' eyes roll back and all sorts of other creepy shit occurs in obvious agreeance. What if she sends that shit back? What's the extent to my moral obligation in being the middle man here? I just got sat again. Do I really have the time to argue with this bitch when I know damn well this dead guy really dug my recommendation? Who's side do I take? I mean I know who I'm siding with; only one of them has a fucking debit card still.
What if it goes beyond ignorance. What if, this bitch... is lying to me. What if my interdimensional server instincts lead me to innocently expose a cunt. That's some heavy shit, guys. This isn't just telling someone they have bad breath and to back the fuck up. This is me telling you, possibly in front of your own company, that you're full of shit. In the worse way too. Using a dead person as a way to get a come up? Some free shit? Even just undeserved sympathy? Despicable. Although, I will say this. We've all had that one time back in high school where we ditched class knowing damn well we were going to drop the atomic bomb of lies the next day:
"Where were you yesterday for the algebra final, Miles?"
It's fucked up, but you know you did it too. And if you didn't, then the excuse at least crossed your mind. And that makes you the same as me. I just had the confidence to carry out my bullshit. I'm not proud about it. Hey, my grandma died a year ago. I suppose my clairvoyant-server self just released a statement about it twelve years prior. Judge me more for being gifted! I got an extra day in before my final. Those crazy bitches got some beer samples and my attention. My shit's more impressive.
Hardened purposes and humility. My very own oil and water.
That's the game though, right? I'm in the business of listening and understanding. And refreshing as it is at this very moment, you're my captivated audience. So here I am. Soap box and all. And the fucked up thing? That your life was a cumulative build up of splintered paths discovered through blind choices and reactions. That if maybe those ladies had zigged when they zagged, they never would have met that dead guy most likely. Might have gotten tired of being in Phoenix and moved off to Hollywood for glittery dreams. Might have gotten knocked up by Sinbad and cashed in on those royalties of whatever it is that he's done. Worse, might have encountered a Cosby. Wait, even worse! Might have ended up in one of the Olsen twin's sweatshops. I would have never then been creeped the fuck out to the extent necessary to write all this bullshit. In a way though, I'm really glad it all happened. That's right - I just said that I'm glad that I was forced to listen stories from widows that spent very little. Because that "grandma" punchline earlier was fucking gold.