I have a full bar, 8 tables, and a service bar that is making that dreaded printing sound every two seconds. I am out of cold glasses, out of side plates, and out of silverware. I am pouring a Tall Coors Light in a just washed (ok, more like rinsed), lukewarm glass when the keg kicks. It sputters and shoots out the last of the foam. UUggghhhhhhhhhhhh. I have at least three appetizers and two entrees in the Red and the kitchen is a scene straight out of Titanic as it starts to sink. Everyone is running, screaming, and has no clue what is going on. Did I mention that Table 41 needs more Ranch and the kid at Table 43 just spilled his mom’s full glass of Pepsi?! Just as I think things couldn’t possibly get anymore insane:
- The father at Table 36 waves me over to tell me his Well Done Steak in “Burnt” and he wants a new one.
- One of the servers brings back a Mojito to inform me that the lady at her table didn’t like how “squished” the mint and lime are. I explained to the server that we muddle the two together to help release the mint oils and lime juice. She leaves to tell the lady what I had just educated her on. When she returns, she tells me the old bat wants something else, something easy, because I didn’t know what I was doing. So she ordered wine.
- My service printer runs out of paper…
- I just ran out of ice…
- And in a collective chorus line I start to hear the faint callings of, “86 Baby Back Ribs!” No. No way. This can’t be. I am definitely hearing things. One of the managers comes out to swipe his card for the tenth time tonight to give comps and discounts to disgruntled “guests.” He leans over the POS and says, “Hey Shep, you heard 86 Baby Back, right?” I just stare at him. “What about the three I put in ten minutes ago?” Now he is staring at me. “Yeah… We only have one to sell.” #Winning
This is how my dreams would typically pan out after working 2-3 eleven hour shifts back to back. I would get off of an eleven hour shift smelling of old grease and spilled whiskey, take a hot shower, and then crawl into bed only to be haunted by another eight hour shift in my sleep. An extremely weeded, chaotic, mass hysteria filled eight hour shift. Now, this isn’t to say that I only experienced this kind of horror in my dreams. You better believe that all of the above took place on a regular Friday or Saturday night shift.
I was in the restaurant industry for many years. Even after I left, there would be random nights I would wake up from an eight hour shift sweating and feeling like I had just ran a marathon. The dreams have happened less and less over the past several years. But I still have them. Except now they are a mix between my old life and my new life.
Last night I had by far the weirdest restaurant dream to date. You see, what I have been doing over the last few years is vastly different from my bartending days. Now I spend my time with legal documents, case files, dockets, and typing my way into carpal tunnel oblivion. It’s incredibly exciting and mind blowing each and every day.
So this dream:
I am not in a restaurant. Instead, I am at my desk at work.
Visual Idea of What My Desk Looks Like:
My desk is fairly large; it is in the shape of a big L. All around my desk, there is a kind of half wall with a ledge that is wide enough to fit a plate on. So I guess it kind of looks like a bar. On my desk I have two large monitors, a fan, a phone, a label printer, and a shit ton of paperwork.
The dream starts out with me answering a bunch of emails. All of a sudden, my label printer starts printing out service bar requests one after another. I stand up and start pulling tickets out of habit. I look around and my “desk” is now covered in liquor bottles and there is a tap at one end of it. My computer monitors are still there, only now they have a restaurant screen on them. I am yelling for glasses when all of the attorneys come up and start asking me for drinks. So I now have a “full bar,” and I am frantic because I can’t find glasses and I don’t have any ice. I start pouring beers and the room changes around me. The entire office now has tables full of people. But I am still at my Desk Bar. The people start to change and I am noticing familiar faces and some new faces. One of these “New Servers” walks up to my makeshift service bar area and just stares at me.
For those that have never bartended with a service bar, you couldn’t possibly imagine how fucking annoying it is for a server to stare at you while you are totally weeded, expecting their service drink to be ready within the 2 seconds of them ordering it. They fidget with the fruit caddy and ask, “Hey, did my ticket come through?” Only #Newbies do this. Seasoned servers know better. In fact, seasoned servers that you have a great relationship with, will ask if you need any ice/beer/clean glasses because they know you are neck deep in Mojitos, Margaritas, Mudslides, and Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris. Certain seasoned servers who you trust wholeheartedly will even offer to jump on service bar to help get out the 50 Flavored Lemonades that were just rang in. I raise my glass to you, seasoned servers everywhere, who know what the fuck is going on. As for all you fresh blood newbies, go in the back and roll some silverware. Take those three minutes of you standing around doing nothing and do something productive. Check on Beverage or ask the Expo if he needs anymore damn side plates!
At this point, my dream starts to shift and I am now making drinks and being asked to cite check a legal brief at the same time. And then my phone rings; one of the attorneys needs me to print out every single deposition from a certain expert and organize it into exhibits for him. Just as I am starting to feel like I am drowning and start to lose all control, I wake up. Sweating. And feeling like I had just ran a marathon.
I am sure there is some dream meaning in all of this. But truthfully, I don’t need one. When I have those dreams it reminds me of a world that helped mold me into who I am today. And there are days where I truly miss all of the chaos that came along with working in a restaurant. Sooooo does anyone need a guest bartender for a night??