Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cupid's Revenge

Valentine's Day is coming, and I, for one, just cannot wait.

Not because I have a particular affection for the day, nor because I have a true love for whom this day is always the most romantic of the year thanks to my carefully planned, consummately considerate and unnecessarily extravagantly expensive shower of gifts large and small delivered at various times of the day including dinner at the most romantic restaurant in town.

No, for precisely all the reasons listed after the word 'nor' in the above overburdened sentence, in fact I have a particularly loathing for Valentines Days that is not only earned, but richly deserved.

I'll not speak--much--of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1999 that was the worst service experience not only of my life but of at least half a dozen other veteran waiters, those of whom are still in the business recall it with a shudder and no doubt we all still have nightmares about that night. I had ten two-tops; seven of them were seated within ten minutes of each other, and there were ten waiters that night in the same situation.

No, that's not it , but it could be. Oh, it could be. If you were there, you know.

And, though I love my beautiful and decidedly romantic and opulent gift loving bride very much, she shares my loathing for this false holiday. At least, she pretends to actually 'loathe' it when simply 'hate' would probably be enough. And, though it doesn't hurt to give her a pink and white card on the day (or a thirty character text message), as long as we've been together, which is the same length of time that I've been employed in some manner in some restaurant or club somewhere as a waiter, she's never had even the reasonable expectation of eating out at a restaurant. Why? Well, because we have, quite frankly, seen way too much of how you idiots do it to ever want to act that way ourselves. I mean really.

By today, which the day before the day before the actual freakshow, I've already had way too much of you. Oh but dammit, you won't even start filing into the restaurant, Noah's Ark style (two-by-two), for another two days.

Hence this rant, and here's the reason. It starts when too many people ask the same question of me, over and over again. This makes me start to go a little crazy, especially because I am expected to sound all bright and cheery about it.

Now, hard though it might be to believe for the fools trying to secure the reservations, especially at the last minute, of course those exact emotions--cheery and bright--are about the last two feelings I have under consideration. No, I'm actually trying to give another clueless idiot 'the spiel' about what it is 'we are doing' that evening. For chissakes man, we serve dinner here. That's what we are doing! I've got a better question, what the hell are you doing?

Ok, I've answered the phone, so now, depending on at what point it is in the reservation cycle, I have to either listen to complaints about how expensive it is or excuses about why they are calling so late. This goes on, oh, for say, a few months, then, in the last few weeks, we get to the guys, and yes, it is about 200-to-1 guys, who call up and play mindless games like 'Ummm, have you got anything available for next Thursday?'

So that's where we are now. Hmm, they don't even know what day it is? Do they imagine that by pretending not to know what day it is, that they think maybe they can get in by way of their simply being stupidignorfuckingramosness?

Ok, I know that's not even a word of course but it has to be made up, just to be used in this context. I am referring to the braindead guys who cannot fathom the idea of being romantic on any other day than Valentines day and the mediahyped girls who insist that the treatment they receive (or don't) on this day is the accurate measure of all the affection they deserve and/or have been (or not) getting. Further, there is an understanding between both parties that there is an inverse relationship between that feeling and the amount of sex that they will provide. Nuts. A lot of blue nuts at that.

They all--boy diners and girl diners alike--want a quiet romantic table and not be rushed and want the food to be extravagant, and want the wine to be bubbly, and want the waiter to make this the most romantic night ever for the two of them. But to us it isn't even remotely romantic and it is really difficult for us to pretend that it is. In fact, we may be lucky to be working on this 'most important' day, just because it is really sad work; like shooting fish in a barrel.

Honestly, if you love to serve people, you hate to work on Valentine's Day. But if you like sloppin' the hogs, well V Day's the day for you! Good waiters do it because they have to, and most can pull off the act, or they wouldn't be good. But like most actors, you have to really 'connect' with your audience to perform night after night, and on herd nights like VD, it's one tough crowd.

So, by all means, Mr. Desperate Guy, if paying a lot of money to be treated like a herd animal is your idea of a romantic dinner, well, go out on Valentine's Day. But think, man, with your big head for just a minute. For a quarter the cost, you can get all the same shit you're laying out big bucks for on the very next day (it's the 15th, by the way, or the day before,which would be the 13th) and still get laid. Yep.

And think of what she might do if you surprised her with a Valentine's day in say, March? Oh, no, of course not, that's not 'the' day, is it? Cupid is sure enough laughing at your sorry ass!

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