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In The Weeds: If I List It, They Will Come

September 22, 2009

It’s been a curious week to be sure.  I have no idea how to piece all of the happenings together with a common theme so I’ll just make a random list.  Everybody knows that God threw in a lot of cool features when designing the homosapien, one of which is a brain that can’t get enough of reading numbered lists.  We’re impervious to the lure of Top 10s, 5 Best Evers, or 21 Ways To, even when held together by the thinnest of bubblegum and shoestrings.  I just used The Google to search “random lists” for this column and found a site specializing in exactly that.  It’s called and just the first page contains “The Top 7 Movies Featuring Ensemble Midget Casts,” “9 Celebrities Who Quit Twitter” and “9 Cartoons With Seriously Sad Deaths.”   Here is my list.

4 Unrelated Things That Happened In My Life This Week

    1.  I contemplated taking the advice of fellow Frothygirlz contributor Sara by starting my bar shifts with an ego-boosting cocktail just to take the edge off, but having already endured a termination this summer, I thought I’d play it safe and endure another sober shift.  In truth, it was the Hubs who forbid me to give up until I gave it the old college try.  Hmph, he didn’t know me in college.For several weekends behind the bar now, I have been like a girl in dance class with a furrowed brow thinking 1,2,3  1,2,3… trying to stay in step.  But this weekend, I danced.  In this biz (and most others I suppose), we call it being “on” or “in the zone” or “flowin.”  You know it when it happens and so do your guests.  I mixed drinks, I told jokes, I kept up with dirty glassware, I never let my lipstick go unrefreshed, and several guests offered to buy me a drink at the end of my shift.  That’s bar regular speak for, “Hey, we really like you. You did a great job today.”  It’s about the highest praise you can aim for because the restaurant manager will only give you, “You really need to remember to hit the To Go button when you ring in a to-go order,” which pretty much means the same thing.
    2.  I was given and devoured a book by Phoebe Damrosch called “Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter.”  She had some good stuff in there including ending each chapter with a piece of advice for the dining public.  My two favorites were
    Please enable us to give you what you ordered by making enough space for it. There should be at least ten inches in front of you that are free of: hands, elbows, silverware, bread plates, teacups, wineglasses and ample bosoms.
    and . . .Please do not ask us what else we do. This implies that (a) we shouldn’t aspire to work in the restaurant business even if it makes us happy and financially stable, (b) that we have loads of time on our hands because ours is such an easy job, and (c) that we are not succeeding in another field.
    I, of course, was insanely jealous that she had gotten her book published.  But I haven’t written a book, so that makes it a little hard to compete.

    3.  My chef husband left work on Thursday before dinner service and said he didn’t feel well.  I’ve known this man for 6 years and I’ve never seen him leave work or even see a doctor.  Like all respectable chefs, he tapes his fingers back to his hand after a cut, pukes in the dish pit during the flu and fights fever chills under a heating lamp.  By 2 a.m. on Friday, he was in surgery getting his appendix removed.  He is recovering well but says his back hurts from too much sitting.  Go figure.  Most people would complain of back pain after working 12 hour days on their feet for nine years.  As I sat in my car eating fast food in the hospital parking lot shortly after his surgery, I had to wonder, where is his appendix now?  The hospital loomed large in the early morning light and I couldn’t help but think that a part of my husband remains in there…probably in the basement.  Or was the steam from that pipe sending his DNA into the atmosphere?

    4.  People ask for all kinds of crazy when you are serving them.  But a guest on Sunday had a truly unique request. Thank heavens one of my former colleagues was having a drink at my bar and was able to witness it.  We literally had to avoid looking at each other after the exchange to keep from cracking up.  I had served the woman a tall draft beer (the least tasty beer you can think of) and she asked for extra limes to add to it.  I couldn’t argue with her trying to boost the flavor.  A few minutes later she kind of started or jerked and then froze.  I looked at her with concern and she said, “Oh my god.  There is a fly in here.  You have a fly.”  Relieved, I said oh and let my face relax.  She became more intense, “It flew around my head!  It touched my face!”  There was an awkward three-second pause where nobody moved and it became clear she expected something.  “What shall I do?” I asked.  “Well, it touched my face! …. If you see it ….kill it!”  I had to walk away and pretend to make a drink so I wouldn’t succumb to the hilarity of the moment.  If the leader of the free world can handle a fly, surely this lite-beer-loving lady could, too.  I did see the fly near the vodka a few minutes later.  As I let him fly away, I wished he could know that the lady had saved his little life.


5 Responses to “ In The Weeds: If I List It, They Will Come ”

  1. Sara on September 23, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Trust me, if you start off with a cocktail you’ll reach that ‘Zone’ much more soon. In fact, I think I’ll have one right now!

  2. Pam Reed on September 23, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    CJ, I’m getting better at this. Just wanted to let you know that I love you as being my Son’s wife.

  3. Gareth Fuller on September 24, 2009 at 4:27 am

    A missive of support from downunder. It is my considered opinion that a person who cares for their craft and customers, as you clearly do, and has drunk, well ever, will find their own way of serving over that beautiful section or wood that is a bar. (Or marble, stainless steel, polished brass, chip board, slate or even leather. Yes I have worked behind all of them.) Thank you for you great posts and remember, unlike on the floor or in section, the bar is a stage…Cheers ;)

  4. Gareth Fuller on September 24, 2009 at 4:29 am

    Oh and am old fashioned of sparkling looks REALLY similar to flavoured mineral water or lem./lime soda.

  5. sommelier on October 9, 2009 at 12:57 am

    hey CJ hows it going been busy opening Julian, and it is great come in some time and i will buy you and your yummy hubby a drink anyway call me and let me know where you work so i can come in and harrass you, kisses