i think i’ll take brooklyn

When I waited tables in Manhattan, the following exchange was common:

Customer (waving): Hi, hi, yeah, we’re ready to order.

Me: Okay, great. What can I get for you?

Customer: Mmmm, I think I want….

Me: …

Customer: What do I want?

Me: …

Customer: Wait, Bob. Bob? What did you get that time with the tomato and the arugula?

Me: Why don’t I give you another minute?

Customer: No, no, no, don’t go. We’re ready. Noooowww, what do I want?

While working at restaurants in Manhattan, I frequently heard things like:

Can you describe the eggs benedict?

I don’t know what I want to drink. Something strong?

What’s the burger like?

Can you turn down the music?

I’m a regular here.

Now that I’ve been working in Brooklyn for six months, I don’t hear stuff like that so much. To be fair, I’m working in a bar and restaurant that cater to a younger, much more local crowd. I don’t deal much with tourists or gallery owners, I wait on people my age heading to band practice, I pour beer for guys who tip too much and laugh at my jokes and have been wearing the same t-shirt for six months (I’m not being hyperbolic– I think one of my favorite regulars will get married and be buried in the same crusty ass Iron Maiden shirt).

It’s a relief. Sometimes when I worked, I felt like I was dealing with customers who were trying to have every lifelong need met during a single dining experience. Hand me this, I need more of that, where’s my, oh wait this isn’t, can you please, we need the, but you said this cost, doesn’t this come with spinach? I was a short stroll from the ding farm dealing with customers and their needs and wants and demands.

Now I don’t huff and puff as much as I work. There are the occasional rogues– some princes and princesses who sneak in and try to tell me they can only have grass-fed this or that, and I smile, offer them a Miller High Life, and keep walking. I don’t mind doing a job, I don’t mind supplying info or being accommodating, but life has been a little tricky for a while and when I approach a table and someone launches into a litany of no this and do you have that, I just want to say shut the fuck up and eat your burger like everyone else and if you have some desires that need tending to, put your energy into finding a therapist or do what I do and go home, listen to the Counting Crows Pandora station and cry into your pillow. Now do you want mayo with that or not?

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new friend

Screen shot 2013-06-13 at 9.27.45 AM_2I have a lot of friends who blog– Lynn and Ray and Cara and Sam all have blogs that I read religiously– but I haven’t really ever made a friend through blogging. I met the Bitchy Waiter when I was taping the Huffington Post Live segment– he has a blog about being a waiter (as I was reading, I was nodding my head and making those little “hmmm” sounds of agreement)– and it was great to connect with someone who balances his creative aspirations with the demands of a full-time job. One day we’ll meet up in New York and trade stories about babies at brunch, drunks at happy hour, and how every table always has that one jerk, that one asshole who flags you down, insists she is ready to order and then turns to a dining companion and asks “I don’t know what I want yet. What should I order?”

Say hello at the Bitchy Waiter.