Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Waiter Nightmares


In one dream, my college roommate told me she'd be walking down a peaceful tropical beach, when she'd suddenly come upon ten tables that all needed service right then.

A friend of mine who worked the insane schedule of the lunch shift at Boulevard followed by the dinner shift at Jardiniere told me he had a recurring dream in which he'd be working at both restaurants at the same time, and somehow had to take all of his orders and put them in the computer at Boulevard, then manage to get across town on the Muni to deliver all of the food that must have come up on the line by then at Jardiniere. Ouch!

My waiter nightmares are usually a simple re-hash of the stress of the shift I've just finished. It's usually pretty bad when I start a new job (and they never went away for the entire four months that I worked at one of San Francisco's top restaurants this spring) but then taper off after a couple of weeks. I haven't had any since starting work at the New Restaurant, which is a good sign.

I think that because a restaurant shift is so fast-paced, there isn't much time to process the stress of the job during the shift. It's wham, bam, thank-you ma'am (especially in a busy lunch place, where 200 covers are crammed into three hours), and you're off work with a shot of Fernet in hand. It's not until your body has time to relax and de-compress during sleep that your mind can think about the stuff it's gone through that evening. I sometimes wake up with a start, remembering in my sleep some small error I'd made--did I give that to-go box back to the table? did I adjust the tip properly or did I short myself again? why was the GM giving me the hairy eyeball at 9:23pm?

5 comments:

nina said...

restaurant work dreams are bloody torture!!! i've had three this week alone. one was a costco sized tgifridays lounge, that didn't have enough water glasses. yuk! i would kill to dream of rainbows and unicorns.

Anonymous said...

Worst dreams I've had about working in a restaurant involved famous people coming in and wanting everything immediately and then the other tops wanting the same service and upon not getting it- manage to riot in the aisles. Worse yet- when I was a bus girl, I often had nightmares about my hostesses (Nasty old biddies)making me bus naked after having spilled bleach down my black suit.

hedonics said...

I have worked in every phase of restaurants, bars and clubs... I'm 52, with 30+ years in the business.

I still get waiter nightmares. You can't get your food out of the kitchen...wrong table, wrong order...waiter mash-ups, (two waiters fighting, falls, opening by yourself because others failed to show... anxiety attacks.. wakeing up in a sweat.

Ah, yes! The Hospitality Industry...

Party of two? Right this way please....

P.

Alicia said...

I just started a new job and the nightmares just keep coming! They are like a little record of everything that went wrong during the day...or all your wrongdoings mashed up in one dream.It feels like I never get off work, cause even when I'm sleeping I'm working. Then you wake up tired from working and having to get up and...go to work.
Bad times.

Vieve's Verdict said...

I've had a dream before where I was completely swamped with so many tables that I could not possibly handle. Shudder