Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Actor and my First Shift

-A Description of The Actor-

The Actor is in his late 30's/early 40's. He stands 6'3'', and weighs about 240 lbs. He has short, well-kept dark hair that he keeps in place with large amounts of hair product.

The Actor is gay, but he is not flamboyant. He is effeminate when he speaks naturally, but at his tables, he affects a masculine, macho persona. He says he does it to keep him and the table comfortable. Apparently, there are still some folks who get nervous around homosexuals. Maybe they're afraid they'll "catch gay" if he handles their food too long.

The Actor is dirty. Not Pig Pen from Peanuts dirty. Porn star dirty.

The Actor is an incredible thespian. He can sing, he can dance, and he can act. Working shifts with The Actor is always entertaining. Once he comes into a side station, he breaks into one of his characters. It's a sight that must be seen to be believed. Two of his more colorful characters were:

The Mildly Retarded Boy- think "Warren" from There's Something about Mary. But instead of "Have you seen my baseball?" he goes around asking "Can I touch your boob?" and lamenting, "I left my helmet on the bus."

Vlad the Eastern European Immigrant- He actually played this character onstage, and then brought it into the restaurant one night. He waited all of his tables as Vlad, and he got loads of comment cards saying how wonderful his English is and how wonderfully amazing he was as a server.

There are tons of stories involving The Actor. I will start with the first.

-The Actor and my First Shift-

I walk in the door for my first training shift at the restaurant. I am incredibly shy at this point in my life. That's part of the reason I want to wait tables. I want to reinvent myself as a socially comfortably person.

Thankfully, I won't have to deal directly with customers today. I am training on the expo line. I have to learn the plate presentations and the proper garnishes for our dishes.

It's Saturday night at 5 o'clock, and it's already busy. I make my way to the back. Valerie is doing paperwork.

"You learning expo tonight. You know Spanish?"

"Poquito." Never mind that I failed Spanish in school. I know enough to get by.

"Good, you working with Paco and Paco. Same name, different guys. Oh, and watch out for The Actor."

I walk back to the expo line. I introduce myself to Paco and Paco. Both are Mexican. On wears a backwards hat and a shit-eating grin. The other wears sports goggles and a house arrest ankle collar. They are both friendly.

I mull over why Valerie would warn me about The Actor. I ask Paco.

"Oh, he pinche Maricon, wey. He like you culo." Great. He's gay, and he'll like my ass. I'm glad I wore my tight jeans.

All thoughts of The Actor are quickly pushed to the back of my mind as the dinner rush begins.

Backwards Hat Paco moves with lightning-quick precision. He explains what he's doing as he preps plate after plate after plate. I'm trying to keep up while absorbing as much information as possible. I quickly fall behind, and I struggle to catch up.

After a few hours, the rush lightens. For the first time since I met Paco, I am able to leave the expo line for a drink. I have cotton mouth.

I turn around to head towards the main sidestation, located between the dining room and the kitchen. Standing in the sidestation are two attractive waitresses and The Actor. The Actor is holding both his hands waist-high, palms up, and he's pantomiming a squeeze. Both the waitresses are laughing.

When he sees me looking, The Actor slowly lowers his hands and smiles at me. He picks up a cup of coffee and sips on it, his eyes never leaving mine. I realize that he and the two waitresses have been checking out my ass.

After years of football training, including thousands of squats and power cleans, my ass is tighter than a drum, and I'm proud of it. I decide to test my new "socially comfortable" persona on The Actor.

"What? You want me to bend over the expo line?" I ask, thinking he'll be shocked that I'm so dirty. I was wrong.

The Actor takes another sip of his coffee, and calmly remarks,

"Sweetie, we don't have enough lube in this place for that, and I really hate making little boys cry."

The two waitresses are rolling, and I feel my face turn beat red. I force myself to smile. I know when I've met someone with superior verbal bantering skills. I've yet to meet anyone with a wit as sharp as The Actor's. Trying to think up a comeback would be pointless.

Instead, I introduce myself, and The Actor and I make small talk for a few minutes. He's a good guy, and soon we're laughing and talking like old friends. Unfortunately, I have to excuse myself to return to the expo line. He heads back to his tables.

Less than five minutes later, I hear a woman's scream from the sidestation. Thinking that she's either fallen or cut herself, I run around the corner to see if I can help.

The Actor has one of the waitresses pinned up against the wall, legs spread. She's screaming and laughing while he mock thrusts into her. He's shouting, "Take it, you dirty little whore!"

I'm speechless. I'm wondering how The Actor is going to avoid a sexual harrassment lawsuit. Then I look around. All the other servers have gathered to stare at the spectacle. Most are laughing. Some are even cheering The Actor on. The waitress is laughing so hard she has tears in her eyes. I didn't know it then, but in this restaurant, sexual harrasment is practically part of the job description. Weird.


A customer is standing at the doorway of the sidestation, holding a tab book and a fistful of cash. His expression is that of a man who wants to be anywhere but where he currently is. The servers scatter like cockroaches in a NYC apartment when someone turns on the lights.

The Actor continues to pound away. He glances over at the customer and lifts his hand in greeting.

"Hi! Do you need some change?" The Actor doesn't even slow his pace.

"Uh... take it!" The customer stuffs the money into the book and exits as quickly as possible.

The Actor releases the waitress. All the scattered servers regroup. They're all laughing.

"How much did he leave you?" one asks.

The Actor checks the book. "About fifteen dollars."

"How much was the check?"

"About 25 dollars." The Actor is smug, and he returns to his coffee.

"Geez, the guy has that image burned into his retinas, and you get 40%"

"That's what he gets for coming in the back."

I return to the expo line and think about what I've just seen. I wonder if the customer will ever be able to eat out again. The thought of what goes on in the back rooms of restaurants will always hover at the back of his mind.



The Server said...

sorry for the delay on this one, everybody. I promise there won't be as long a wait for the next one.

Hari said...

Hey Server,
Good that you posted messages on Waiter rant. it will help you redirect traffic here. and by the way i am not dissappointed at all.
In some time you will be a new legend all by yourself,
Keep it up,
Best luck