So I started my new job on the 18th. Because my boss is amazingly cheap, training days are unpaid (yes, that’s legal). I had worked there before, I only really needed a refresher on the cash register. Monday and Wednesday were my official “training days” not that I needed training on Wednesday, but like I said my boss is a cheap bastard (the man knows how much each individual napkin costs, he’s that cheap) and nothing is cheaper than free labor.
Noe before I get into anything, let me give you the cast of characters:
There’s S1. A cute little 16 year old girl who acts like a cute little 16 year old girl, which makes me ever so happy that she normally works the second shift because I’d have to strangle her happy peppy ass one day.
S2 is her sister. S2 is older than S1 by a year, however she seemed to have missed the happy peppy train that S1 caught. She’s also not quite as cute.
Cook. He’s the cook. He’s also a pretty good singer. Or at least he can carry a tune while singing in Arabic. I have no clue what any of what he’s singing translates to. It could well be some Arabic version of Baa Baa Black Sheep and you have to really suck to fuck that song up.
The Amazing Beulah, or TAB for short. She’s a dishwasher. I gave her that name because she looks like she could well have been some middle eastern female wrestler at some point in her life. She’s bulky (not fat, but very square) and she scares the hell out of me. Plus I don’t think she likes me too much.
Boss. This should be pretty obvious. He’s the boss. He’s also the owner of the restaurant and a tight fisted penny pincher. I defy his miserliness with no problem because I need my damn tips. Screw his overhead, I got bills.
Mo. A waiter/cook/manager. He’s a bit younger than me. S1 has a crush on him and flirts with him as often as possible. He happily flirts back. Apparently no one has made clear to him just year that here in the US, a 26 year old guy can go to jail for messing with a 16 year old girl. I wonder if I should tell him….NAH!
Mel. A waitress. I’ve met her once. She mostly works night shift on days that I don’t work at all. She probably won’t get much mention.
Ok, I should also state that besides me, S1, S2, and Mel, everyone there is Arab and speaks Arabic as their native language. This means most days it’s just me and a gang of Arabs, and when they don’t want me to know something, they start chatting away in Arabic. I’m not yet convinced that they’re talking about me, but then again you never know. My conversational Arabic is limited to a few…impolite words.
Anyway, back to my story.
S1 “trained” me my first day, though I figured out more by myself the second day (working with Mo) than I did with her. Day one’s tips were ok. S1 and I split the tables so I would have made more if we hadn’t. Day two’s tips…meh. Again, table splitting with Mo.
Thursday and Friday I had off. My legs and feet were thankful. By the end of Wedsnesday I felt like my legs had been beaten and not in the fun way. Adidas are definitely NOT waitressing shoes.
Saturday was the worst fucking day of waitressing I’ve ever had. Ever. And I’ve done a lot of waitressing. In the course of 7 hours, I made $4. From take out orders. We had not one sit down order. I worked with S2 that day. Four hours after opening, Boss came in bitching at us because we were sitting around (what did he expect us to do). I came pretty close to telling him to kiss my ass, but held back. S2 had to leave early, which she discussed with Mo, but Mo failed to discuss this with Boss. Mo also failed to call me or leave me a note saying that I was supposed to be training S2. Apparently S2 didn’t know this either. I didn’t find out until after S2 had left for the day. Fucking yay.
Sunday, day off. Yep. I only work three days a week for now. I’ll probably pick up more days after The Kid starts school.
Monday, it was just me. Well, me and the health inspector that showed up two weeks early. I called Boss to let him know, and he got there quick (why he doesn’t get his ass in that fast any other time is beyond me). She pointed out some stuff that I had a feeling she was going to point out, large containers of hummus and baba ganoush were dumped for being 5º to warm, cooked chicken had heat turned up under it for being 5º too cold. But beyond all that it was a pretty good day. Pulled a little under $40 in tips and was one damn happy camper (my tank and wallet were both on E thanks to Saturday’s bullshit). I treated myself to an Epsom salt bath soak. All was right with the world.
Tuesday I woke up with a phone call from my sister. She didn’t really want anything. Just to chat. I hung up with her to go potty, if I had waited for her to decide to hang up first I’d have wet the damn bed. That woman doesn’t stop talking.
I got up, did my usual morning routine of coffee and some half assed breakfast along with checking email and RSS feeds. Around noon my sister called, but my phone had been in the basement with me which meant I was roaming (an extra $2 if you’re with sprint). I took the phone upstairs and left it. She hadn’t left a message so it must not have been very important. I was quite mistaken.
I called her back 15 minutes later to hear her say “Aunt N*** died.”
I did a mental double take, “Wait…what?”
“Aunt N*** died.” she sniffled.
I still wasn’t really comprehending what she was telling me, “What? When? What happened?”
“They found her this morning. Grandma B**** talked to her last night before going to bed, this morning they found her dead.”
I was stunned. Completely blown back. This was my grandfather’s sister.
My greatgrandparents had 11 kids. My grandfather is oldest of them all. The youngest is younger than my 50 year old father. My greatgrandma (Grandma B****) just turned 88 this year, so yeah she was pretty young when she started (but that was about WW II, so it was pretty common). The aunt that died was one of the younger children. About mid-50s.
After I got my head together I drove to my sister’s house where I was greeted with hugs and kisses from The Kid (who is staying there until school starts, or until after xmas -which we don’t celebrate- if she has anything to say about it…she doesn’t). I instantly felt better. My sister and I watch novelas, munched on home made cookies and chatted while we waited for my mom to finish up her vet appointment so we could all go to visit my greatgrandma together (GGM and Aunt N lived next door to each other).
When we pulled up, we heard the most miraculous thing coming from the house: laughter. A few of my other aunts and uncles were there helping to get things set out (clothes for Aunt N, pictures so the mortuary would know how she looked). GGM was on the porch with some family friends (and family) chatting. It took me a bit to realise that she was the reason there was laughter and some lightness.
GGM is from Mississippi, she grew up during Jim Crow, and God only knows what she was subjected to as a black woman of the deep south. She’s nothing if not stoic. When I was 11, she watched her husband wither away to near nothing as pancreatic cancer slowly took his life. No doubt she cried, and cried hard. But she never asked for pity, or sympathy. She never used her husband’s disease or her widowhood to get something. She accepted his disease and death as being God’s will. And what struggles she had with God and that will privately, I don’t think we’ll ever know.
While at her house I watched her. She laughed and smiled and chatted like it was a normal day. But it wasn’t denial. It was acceptance. She told someone over the phone “Ain’t no use getting upset and beatin yourself up over it. God takes what’s His. Ain’t a thang we can do bout it.” Thus the family matriarch sets the tone for the next week until my Aunt’s funeral. And if my greatgrandfather’s funeral was any example, there will be no loss of dignity, no melodramatic moaning and wailing, no flinging of ones self over the body, no hollaring or carrying on. There will be mourning, dignified and quiet, but nothing to cause embarrassment. GGM will be the rule by which we measure ourselves that day.
After leaving there we went to an italian restaurant and indulged in desserts that are most fitting for three women in a state of mourning: rich, sweet and chocolate.
I eventually went to bed around 1am. How I managed to actually sleep is beyond me, but I did.
Today I refused to call off. I was going to go to work and stay there come hell or high water. Unfortunately it went down hill pretty fast. After the second cash paying customer I was completely out of 1s, 5s and 10s and Boss was nowhere to be found. Add to that the fact that I had four tables, all of whom would want to pay eventually, and the stress began to build. Then the credit card machine gave off an error message. Still no Boss. Still no change. More stress. Then I had a table that wanted a carrot juice. I’ve never made carrot juice. I had no idea how to hook up the juicer, neither did Cook. Once we got it together, there was no where that I could plug it up AND use it. After fighting with it, failing and having two people walk out unserved, I cracked. I went to the table and apologised profusely. Trying really hard not to cry. I did though. I had to explain to her that it wasn’t just the juice, but the juice on top of other problems plus the death of an aunt and I was sort of having a plainly crappy day.
Yes I looked like a flake, but at that moment I really didn’t care. I hurried back into the kitchen and composed myself (after crying a little more). Cook knew what was going on with me and called Mo to come in early to take over for me. Mo didn’t come in early (I kinda didn’t want to), but after that cry I felt a lot better. Carrot juice table paid and I gave them change out of my own wallet (oh, don’t worry I got my damn money back). I took care of my remaining tables (who had, fortunately, come in post-breakdown). I then snatch $40 from the till (all we had were 20s), ran to another pita joint down the street (which was doing more business than we were at the moment…and they were hiring…hmmmmm), got change and came back in time to find one table seated and a to go order that Cook had already started prepairing (God bless that man) I just had to ring it up.
After that, smooth sailing. I pulled in about $32 in tips. Eventually Boss showed up. He was mad about something having to do with the inspection. What exactly I don’t know. He was busy yelling at Cook at TAB in Arabic. After a while he cooled off a bit.
You know…now that I’m employed I can’t use the tag Unemployment Blues. I need a new one. But I can’t think of one. Dammit.