Cafe Time!

November 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

Here’s a little note from the work world.  For those not intimately aware of every detail of my life, I work part-time at a restaurant called The Cafe.  I like it, despite all the sane voices in my head telling me to quit.  (Query:  sane voices in one’s head?  An oxymoron?)  Here is a short list of hostess rules I wrote out at a time when I was training some new girls.

Hostess’s Jobs:

– Upon entering the restaurant, clock in.  (This is simple but often times I am too busy mentally preparing myself for the evening of slavery and drudge work to remember to clock in.)  

– Pull the chip rack into the kitchen.  Do not leave it in the middle of the floor. Slide it back into the little room where the paper towels are kept.  At the end of the night, pull it back out, please.  The chip rack is your job and I don’t need the lunch shift grumbling to me about how they had to waste 5 seconds of their lives pulling the chip rack out and why haven’t I trained the hostesses properly and is it really that hard to do??   (Hi lunch shift, you’re not actually reading this, are you??) 

– Always check the reservations book so you know exactly what’s happening and can set up for it right away. 

– Update the Specials sheet.  Get the prices, starch, and veg of the day.  On Saturdays, there is not usually a new Specials Sheet, but you need to find the one from Friday, make sure it is correct, and give it to the servers again.  (This is because they often lose or misplace theirs and can’t be trusted.  You, however, are a responsible hostess.  You help them.)  Make sure the Specials board is correct.  While you’re out in the foyer, might as well glance at the doors and make sure they’re not smudged.  If they are, Windex them.  While you have the Windex out you might as well do the dessert case too.  Have fun! 

– Always make sure the little globe lights that are above the outside tables are on.  You can turn these on by the little switch that is on the top left side of the door.  Always check the bathrooms.  Make sure there is toilet paper, paper towels, and that the floor is not gross.  Let the dishwasher know if there is more paper needed in the bathrooms.   If there is a party in the nouveau room, make sure the bathrooms back in there are good too.

– Always help the busser and server set up the dining room.  If you arrive first, start without them.  Always wipe down the knives.  Always check the glasses for smudges before you put them out.  Always wipe off the bread plates.  Try to avoid gross color combinations of napkins on tables.  No one wants to sit at a table with hunter green, maroon, sky blue, and purple napkins.  Honestly, no one will sit there except people who are tripping on acid.  And if that happens, tell the kitchen staff to get back to their spots and stay out of the dining room.  HAHA.

– Always look at the dessert case in the beginning of the night and add any desserts if needed.  Especially the Key Lime mousse because the Ice Age could defrost faster than that stuff.

– Never hesitate to help anyone who looks really busy, especially the bartender, since your podium is in his/her area.  It is not your job to stand around at the podium except when customers are approaching.  (In that case, greet them cheerfully and watch as they approach you at, typically, a slow to medium-slow speed and generally ignore your friendly greeting; or in the case of old men, respond to it a little creepily and over-enthusiastically, and usually with some sort of terrible pun about A. The Weather, B. How Hungry They Are, or C. Your Outfit.  C is the worst kind of old man.  AVOID HIM.).   

Anyway, it’s not your job to stand around at the podium.  It is your job to feature tables, refill water glasses, bus plates, clean off and re-set tables, help the bartender put glasses away, get desserts and generally do whatever needs to be done to make the service run smoothly.  Seriously.  Don’t stand around.  Unless Mike is.  Then it’s ok.

– Make sure all the candles are lit and stay lit throughout the evening.  Make sure there is always music on.  Even if it is that terrible song about “going to the mountains”.  Make sure the countertop by the register is clean and uncluttered, it just looks better.  Answer the phones.  If someone comes up to the counter and the bartender is busy, see how you can help them.  If its something you’re not sure on, ask a server or someone.  Just make sure that people are acknowledged.  Make them feel wanted.  Make them feel loved. 



"It's Time to Die!" "No, not I!"

November 3, 2009 § 2 Comments

If you were about to die, and you knew it, what would be the one thing in the world you would focus on the most?  If your life was about to end forever, what would you admire, what would you recall, what would you contemplate?

According to my REM cycle, I’d admire my MAC make-up brushes.  That’s right.  MAC. MAC

Let me explain.  I had a dream last night.  In it, I was sitting on the front porch of my house during the night time.  It was dark and cold outside.  I remember looking at the stars.  I could see a lot of the different constellations.  I was there with about half of my family.  I remember Dad was there.  Not sure who else.  Mom was at CVS, down the street, for some reason.  We were sitting on the front porch because we were watching flood waters rise in the streets.  We knew we were going to die.  It was a matter of mere minutes before the waters rose up and covered us.  I was resigned to this death.  I was afraid but I knew there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop it.  I sat on the steps, thought about how dark and cold the water would be and how I hated the idea of drowning.  Then I looked down at my hands and discovered I was holding all of my MAC make-up brushes.  I stared at them for a few minutes, pondering the uses of each (eye shadow brush, foundation brush, fan brush for blush, etc…)  In the dream, I quite clearly spoke out loud and said that at least I’d had an opportunity to use my MAC brushes before I had to die.  The waters lapped at my feet. 

I shook myself awake at around 4 AM.  And promptly burst into (silent) laughter for such an absurdly shallow and nonsensical dream!  What was I doing?? Thinking about make-up brushes when death was at hand!?  Why was I not praying??  Why wasn’t I remembering Danny and the love we shared??  Or why wasn’t I trying to rescue my siblings??  That’s something that struck me the most about this dream, because 99% of the time when I have ‘bad dreams’ it’s because I’m trying to rescue my little brothers and sisters from some terrible fate and I just can’t do it in time.  But no, I merely sat there and ran my fingers over the bristles of #217 Blending Brush, waiting for death.

Ah well.  It got me thinking.  I was driving into work, still chortling at my absurdity, and also feeling grateful that I do not have to fear ‘death’.  I might sometimes fear the finality with which we feeble-minded humans view death, but as a practicing Catholic, I just keep reminding myself that it’s only the beginning.  Like my favorite quote from The Chronicles of Narnia:

“All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page; now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.” Chronicles of Narnia- The Last Battle. 

There is no reason for me to fear death.  It is a doorway to Christ.  This life, these struggles, they will fall away.  Death is not something I should fear, but a reality I should long for, as the proper next step in my life as a baptized child of God.  And if I live my life as Christ intended, who knows?  Perhaps I can be the first patron saint of make-up artists!  Dude.  Yes!

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