Monday, January 3, 2011

My Early Days

When I was a young thing, I decided to supplement our income by taking a job. I found one by looking in the newspaper ads. It was part of a nightclub. One side was very plushy with carpet on the floor and tables with white tablecloths. A bandstand in one corner and it had a small dance floor. Next to it was a coffee shop. I worked in the coffee shop as a waitress. The coffee shop was called ‘The Turf’. It was a very popular place to have lunch or nice meal. There was four horseshoe shaped coffee stands with stools. Those were on one side and the other side had booths.

It was a very popular place, and was open 24 hours a day. I was on the night shift. I was fidgety as a cat on a hot tin roof the first few shifts because I had no training in this field.
It was not a hard job to learn at that time. If you knew how to pour water into a glass and write, you qualified. They furnished uniforms. They were khaki colored and trimmed in dark brown.
We got the drunks from the nightclub when it closed as well as the people from the street.

One night I had one of those half-drunk customers and he ordered a burned grilled cheese sandwich. He made it very clear that it was to be burned black. I turned the order in and when the cook read it, he called me into the kitchen and informed me that we do not serve burned food. I argued with him, and asked him what difference does it make, if he wants it burned just burn it. “Do you not know how to burn a sandwich?” I finally won the argument and he said he would do it. When the order was ready he sent for me. I went back into the kitchen and he had the order ready with a white cloth napkin covering it. I asked, “Why the napkin?” He said, “I don’t want any of our other customers seeing it, just set it in front of him and remove the napkin”. The customer was delighted. Now the customer is happy and I’m happy and the cook is still grumbling about it.
Another customer once asked for an Iced coffee. I went to the head honcho and asked, “How do you make an iced coffee?” She said, “I don’t know, I guess you just put ice in it.” I hope you understand this was before anybody had ever heard of Starbucks. So I poured the man a mug of coffee and added some crushed ice. When I set it in front of him he began to laugh and he kept laughing until I wanted to melt into the floor. I was so embarrassed. He said, “It’s usually served in a tall glass”. “All our tall glasses are dirty”. I said. But he laughed even harder. I was glad when he left. I was such a greenhorn.
Two couples sat in one of my sections and when I gave them their menu’s one of the men begin to speak to me in a foreign language. His friends just sat there and said nothing. When he finished I said, “Well, if you do you’ll have to clean it up”. Everybody in the booth began to laugh so hard, I would still like to know what he actually said. Because what I said wasn’t that funny.

One night I had two ‘feeling no pain’ clientele sit in one of my booths. The lady ordered a filet mignon steak, and excused herself to make a potty run. I asked the man if he was ready to order and he said. “Don’t turn that order in, she thinks I’m paying for it and I just met her 10 minutes ago.” I said, “Oh, she must be a gold digger.” He said, “Yeah, and she ain’t got nothing to dig with”. He made a hasty departure and when the lady returned she looked around and didn’t see him so she left. I was glad I had not turned in her order.

Another time a customer asked if we had Scallops. I said, “Do you mean scallop potatoes?” I was raised in Oklahoma and it’s a little distance from the ocean so I honestly had never heard of the seafood called Scallops. I’m sure everybody in the state of Oklahoma knows what scallops are, but I was a little na├»ve. Maybe stupid would be a better word.
I only worked there for a couple months. I had a three-year-old at home and there was no way that I could get enough sleep. My husband worked the day shift. I never worked in that field again. Even though I was now experienced and knew what a scallop and an iced coffee was.

                                                        This is a picture of the experienced waitress