Saturday, February 21, 2009

65 Effing Covers

I'm back in full force. With my A Game on. I worked my first Friday night at The New Restaurant last night and it was like getting kicked in the face. Some restaurants serve 65 people dinner and drinks in one night...I personally served 65 people dinner and drinks last night (and I'm only one of four waiters working at any given time there).

I arrived almost an hour before I was scheduled to; The Restaurant has more than 40 wines by the glass, all of which I'm required to know, none of which I knew before starting work there a few weeks ago. I have a growing stack of flashcards stuffed in my purple suede Mariano Toledo bag (a relic of my life as a fashionista in Buenos Aires), and when I went to retrieve them a thin gay coworker with a fondness for jazz hands shrieked at me, "Is that your bag? I just stole it. It's mine now." 

I missed working in restaurants.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I'm back, bitches!

For reasons that will be explained later, Restaurant Girl is back, after a two-year hiatus. When I left my last job and said I'd never wait another table again, my funniest co-worker said, "Honey, NEVER say NEVER!"

He was right.

I'm back working at a Restaurant, a really good one. Waiting tables fits into my life perfectly; so perfectly that I'm living in my first home in San Francisco and I'm not even having any wait-mares this time around. My focus lately has been on wine, and this New Restaurant has a killer wine list.

This time around, I can finally speak Spanish. I spent the last two years living in Buenos Aires with my Che, and while it sadly didn't work out between us, I was left with a good understanding of Spanish--the reason I travelled to South America in the first place. I wanted to learn what my bussers were saying about me.

The bussers in the new Restaurant are great--the best I've ever worked with. Tonight, the The Wolf and Romeo were on the floor. They're the only bussers I've ever seen drink wine at the end of their shift (most bussers pound cerveza) while still on the floor (this Restaurant gives its employees the respect they deserve, which includes an end-of-shift drink). 

I dropped the check on my last table and headed toward the bus station, rubbing my stomach. I've gained about 15 pounds since working harvest and being on vacation, and while it's mostly muscle it doesn't sit well. I've decided that this newest incarnation of Restaurant Girl will not pork out from late-night snacks and post-shift cocktails.

"Hey, you feeling sick?" asked Romeo, in Spanish.

"No man, I'm not sick." 

"So why you touching your stomach like that?" he asked.

I decided to go for brutal honesty. Latinos always respect the straight-up, especially when it comes to body image.

"I'm not sick in my stomach, just fat there," I responded in Spanish.

I began to struggle through my sidework (it's always hardest the first week or so) as the two bussers compared their glasses of Syrah.

"Hey Lobo," Romeo said, as he peered at me over the rim of his Spiegelau Bordeaux. "You think the new girl is fat?"

The Wolf looked me up and down with an objective eye.

"Where you think you look fat, New Girl?" he asked.

I thought about it. "Right here," I answered after a pause, rubbing my lower belly and muffin top. "I gained a little weight last month."

The Wolf and Romeo looked me up and down again.

"Naw, you still look all right," said The Wolf (who could take on any street thug in any neighborhood in this city).

"Don't worry about it."

"Thanks, guys..." I said as I turned back to my sidework. 

I knew they would tell it like it really is. Bussers always do. I remembered a huge fight I'd gotten into with my busser at the last restaurant I'd worked at, two years ago. He told me if I got any fatter I wouldn't be cute anymore. I flew off the handle and accused him of sexual harassment...then dated a Latin man for two years and appreciated the honesty and objectivity he always presented me with. 

Sometimes, things just come across better in Spanish.