Tonight I serve three men who sit at table 33.
Two men drink water and one has a soda.
Their food takes forever because they ordered something extinct and no longer on the menu, but because I work at a restaurant where “one hundred percent guest delight” is the main focus, a manager went out to kill the last of an endangered species because it most closely approximated the taste of its extinct counter-part.
I don’t so much mark time by how long it takes their food to hit the table, but rather in glasses of water one of these men drinks.
“Here are your drinks.” I place three glasses on the table.
I turn around to wave good-bye to another table. I turn to take the table 33′s order, one glass of water is down to shuddering cubes of ice.
I re-fill this glass.
I go get bread.
The same glass is empty again.
I re-fill this glass.
I go get more bread, because all the bread vanished while I was re-filling the water-glass.
With more bread, when I return to the table, the water-glass is empty.
I take their order and put their order in the computer.
When I walk by the table to get their salad, the water-glass is empty.
I go get more salad, that guy can wait until I go get the salad.
I return with salad and the bread is gone. Also, this guy’s water-glass is still empty and he is sucking on the ice cubes.
I go get more water. More bread. With more bread, I see yet again this guy has drank all of his water.
You see how this is going.
This guy doesn’t go to the bathroom.
Not one time.
When the food finally comes out, he finishes another glass of water before he takes his first bite.
Now, I’m looking at him while I re-fill the salt shaker at table 38. I wonder if he’s suffering kidney failure. I watched an episode of M.A.S.H. once where Hawkeye saved a whole bunch of patients by discovering they were in kidney failure because, though hydrated, they weren’t peeing out the water they received in their iv. So they dehydrated the patients until the antibiotics worked. Because this guy hasn’t peed once in spite of having consumed close to twelve and a half pitchers of water, I decide his kidneys aren’t working.
Then I wonder where the water is going.
Then I decide he isn’t human.
He is actually a very refined machine that uses water instead of lithium or petroleum and the government is testing this engine in a humanoid engine before installing the technology on air-craft carriers, lawn mowers and hair dryrs.
I become afraid of the man at table 33.
I am especially frightened after I talk myself out of the sci-fi fantasy and decide on a sci-fier fantasy wherein this guy is from another dimension. Not another planet, no! Another dimension.
And because our dimension is grosser than the dimension he’s from, and because the air is less dense, the only way for him to assimilate to our vibrational pitch is by saturating his delicate and highly refined cells in our water, which is most excellent with a little splash of lemon.
I proceed to wonder why he’s here visiting from another dimension, what he wants, and when he’s going back.
Finally, as I drop their checks, I decide this poor bastard just hopped dimensions because he wanted a little Olive Garden. There ain’t nothing wrong with that. And I decided I was really glad I stayed so on top of those water re-fills, because I’d hate for him to go home to his own reality space/time and report that he didn’t receive any southern hospitality at that fancy Italian restaurant where he ate.
Tonight I was at work serving all the Poop, Salad and Breadsticks you can imagine. While having my mid-dinner rush cup of coffee, I asked a friend and fellow server about nursing school.
You see, most of the people I work with are on their way to another life destination. There are servers in college, beauty school, graduate school or they are looking for a job in their field but are serving tables while on the job hunt. I work with a server who has a culinary arts degree, and yes, someone in nursing school.
I ask about her program and how school is going because I’m excited for her. She is an EMT transitioning into the nursing program. This girl is obviously no slacker in life. She is currently learning how to remove an IV. This was the topic of conversation when I asked about her week in school.
“I can remove ‘em. It’ll be a few more semesters before I learn how to put one in.” She then turns to our busser who is a shorter version of Magic Mike. She says, “Look at those veins! Do they roll?”
I get in on it and we both mash on his most defined and protruding veins. We decide that they do not, in fact, roll. Leaning against the wall in the drink station she says to him, “I could hit those veins from here, and I don’t even know how yet.” He very suddenly found new tables to be cleaned.
Nurse Ratched, which is how we’ll refer to my friend from here on out, begins talking about a crappy table she’s dealing with. Crappy tables are part of the deal of serving tables, and let me tell you my friend, the actual furniture ain’t the problem. Yet, we refer to asshole customers sitting at a quite nice and unassuming table, as an asshole table.
Nurse Ratched starts talking about when she’s a nurse what it would be like if she ends up taking care of some of our restaurant guests. She gets this gleam in her eye I haven’t seen since her fiance proposed. You see, you may be an asshole table, but you’re also human and one day you might need an IV for dehydration or something; no one is wishing anything bad on you.
But Nurse Ratched, she pantomimes holding a large needle, and gripping someone’s wrist. Her mind has gone to a happy place. She starts talking about size 14 needles, and given what I know about the size of my ass when I’m in a size 14, I can only imagine the needle!
Then, from the depths of her fantasy she exclaims, “You tip me bad and then you’re gonna need an IV…” and the conclusion can be left unsaid.
This post isn’t so much about my Kitten Mind per se, but Kitten Mind still – in all its glory.
This post is also a public service announcement. Please remember that your servers and bartenders will one day, most likely, be hairdressers and nurses and dentists (I bet you didn’t even think of that one). They are human beings with feelings and also sometimes will have power over your life, looks and teeth. That is all.
When I was in the second grade Miss Idaho dressed me up like a potato. You’d think that’d be enough for her, but no. Her appetite for torture was insatiable.
I was a Brownie. You know the sort, where they make me wear a brown dress which is absurd because I’m a Summer, and we all know that brown goes better on an Autumn complexion. So I wear a brown dress and these knee socks with little orange tassels at the top. I hated those things and the indignity of those orange tassels. The worst part is that they weren’t Dolly Pardon like tassels that had any swing to them. No, the brownie sock tassels were stiff and didn’t blow in the breeze in any majestic way at all.
Part of the Brownie experience was “sponsoring” a Miss Teen USA. I had fantasies of hosting the beautiful Miss California or the southern belle Miss Alabama or Miss Georgia who was tan with this brunette hair that cascaded over her shoulders.
No, we get Miss Idaho. In this group setting I was to her left, whereupon I closely inspect a torn earlobe that reminded me of something like a snake’s tongue. I didn’t ask her about it, but I imagine Miss California yanking her earring out in a fight to be sponsored by the Brownies of Mobile, Alabama, of Saint Pious X elementary school. In the fray, Miss Idaho loses an earlobe but wins the fight by technical knockout when she burns the wig of Miss Cali with fire she breathed from her lavender lips.
It is hot outside. There is a parade. The Brownies of which I am a member are to traipse our Miss Teen USA competitor through the streets of Mobile, Alabama.
There are costumes. Now, when I think “costume” I imagine something with a little pizzaz. My mind goes to glitter and real tassels, not the lame tassels on the Brownie knee socks. My mind even conjures feathers. One’s costume is none of these things when the Miss Teen USA that is being represented hails from Idaho.
Normally I would have been excited to be chosen to be in a parade wearing a costume. On this day, however, I am dismayed to see Miss Idaho holding a burlap sack with leg holes and arm holes and some sort of rope that’s supposed to hold the whole thing together.
She wants me to put this thing on.
It is no secret that I was a fat kid. I was a fat Brownie and I was a fat second grader. It stands to reason that I will also be a fat potato, which is why I suspect they picked me out of the whole Brownie troop to represent.
They put my fat little ass in a burlap sack they called a potato costume and walked me all over Mobile, Alabama in the heat and humidity that is rivaled only by Mars (if it were humid on Mars, also).
This wouldn’t have been so terrible but for the burlap sack working like a cheese grater on my fat little thighs with every step I take. I am in agony after the first block, but this parade goes on for miles and miles. At the end of the miles and miles, wherein Miss Idaho is just smiling and waving with these Brownies and one pathetic fat potato in her wake, we have to walk back. Everyone except Miss Idaho, who must have gotten a ride, because we didn’t see her again.
When I get home, I notice that the skin on my legs is not only abraded to be damned but also bruised. There are little pieces of burlap embedded in my skin.
I do not take a shower. I put on a nice big night-gown and go outside to the swing set in the back yard and sulk. I spin the swing on its chains willing Miss Idaho not to win Miss Teen USA with my mind. I decide anyone with ear lobes like a snake’s tongue who will put a fat second grader in a potato costume completely devoid of sequins and fans should not represent the young women of this country.
Much to my pleasure, she wasn’t even a runner-up. Such is the power of my mind. I also promptly quit the Brownies. I didn’t need that shit.
Poltergeist was released in 1982, when I was two and a half years old. I did not watch Poltergeist when I was two, but I saw it before kindergarten. Probably I managed this with the new marvel VHS, which allowed me to watch not only one terrifying scene in which a toy clown attacks a kid but also Splash repeatedly, as well as The Best Little Whore House in Texas.
In these formative years, phobias develop. Dear Reader, I am not terrified of whores or of mermaids, but clowns stuck as the most horrifying thing in the world ever. I think, maybe, the movie planted the seed, but what really did it for me was kindergarten.
I hated kindergarten even more than I hated clowns and weak coffee. Any given morning you’d find me wailing and hollering that I did not want to go to school. As soon as my mother got a shoe on one foot and was planting the other in whatever Oxford I had, I’d already removed the first one she put on. As soon as she’d get my hair combed and move on to trying to get me to brush my teeth, I’d have my hair ratted like a tawny haired tyrant from the disco era.
I would do anything not to have to go to kindergarten. I hated the smallness of it. The little furniture and the wee little mats they tried to get us to lay on. The over sized crayons were just insulting to me, who was able to perfectly hold a normal sized pen. Don’t get me started on the special three lined handwriting paper, which was just dumb given that I could write in beautiful cursive since I was one and a half, thank you very much.
One day, I’m flinging myself all over the car while my dad, steel jawed and impervious to my terror, drives me to kindergarten. I am unresigned until I pass the threshold. On these days when they actually made me go in, usually meant there was something an adult had to do, like go to work.
When I walk in, I’m sulking and huffing tears up through my eyes. Two teachers take me by the hand and lead me into a vacant classroom where they try to calm me down. I leer at the tiny chairs; I refuse to sit in one. A very nice brunette lady pours me some red juice into a small plastic cup. I note the plastic pitcher and the condensation on its blue exterior. I note this because I remember thinking that the juice will be diluted from the ice melting in it. I was correct.
These two, they try to calm me down. And just as I begin to think that maybe kindergarten isn’t so bad, especially if they let me hang out in a vacant classroom so I don’t have to interact with all the children, the unexpected horror of horrors happens; a clown walks in.
By clown, I mean big shoes and red nose and white face paint. The last thing I remember of this day is the feeling of my lungs filling with air and my eyes growing wide with this horror of horrors before me. My memory blips out before I can recall the scream that filled the halls of this school.
At a later time, perhaps I have been pronounced mentally fit to enter academia and am now in the first grade, my parents get us tickets to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily Circus. My sister, Brittany, is about two and a half and I am in first grade age. I am excited about this circus business. I know there will not only be ponies there, but women in pink feathers riding on the ponies.
We have great seats. The opening act starts to make all sorts of circus music and maybe elephants amble around the center ring. But then it happens; horror or horrors. There are clowns descending on the Mobile, Alabama circus arena in droves. All of these clowns seem to file in through the same entrance and then spread in all directions like plague or locusts or burning kerosene.
Then, worse even than the horror of horrors, the horror for which there are no words; a clown on stilts.
Well I just go to climbing and screaming. I climb onto my dad’s head. My parents are completely striken and embarrassed by my sudden and seemingly inexplicable outburst at such a joyous show. I just keep climbing and screaming as my parents start to, “excuse me, pardon me, pardon, excuse me” over a whole bunch of people. Because this clown is coming for me.
Now, my little sister Brittany is crying, too. I’m climbing all over my dad and screaming the whole time, but I note that Brittany crying is sort of like tech support. She has the sense to think that if I’m that up-set there is something to be up-set about, or so I think, until I realize with no little resentment that the brat is not crying because of that horror we just narrowly avoided but because she doesn’t want to leave!
I realize, as an adult who maintains a quite dignified but very real disdain for clowns, that I have been climbing and screaming ever since that circus I never had to see. And when I go to climbing and screaming, you can’t do a thing with me, you just have to get me the hell out of there and give me a cup of coffee on our way. That’s all that can be done with me, when instead of running away with the circus, I run away with my mind – which is infinitely more entertaining most of the time.
You know that dream where you’re in your underwear in class? Or maybe you’re naked in a corporate meeting and you wake up relieved you are not only not naked but also you don’t have a corporate job?
How’s about walking into work without a bra on and you wear a flimsy white button down as part of your costume, er, uniform? No, wait, that wasn’t a dream, that happened last Saturday.
I’m all running around getting ready for work. My dryer is tumbling my costume, er, uniform, and I have pulled my now long and luxurious hair back into a bun of sorts with those brightly colored bobby pins we all know and love. I have schlacked my face with all manner of Bare Escentuals so I look like a real live girl and maybe my tips will be better. Wearing a tie and apron at work wears on a girl’s self-esteem.
I look at the clock and then run to the dryer, toss on the clothes and leave without a backwards glance.
I get to work with three minutes to spare, which makes me wish I’d have stopped for coffee. I can drink a lot of coffee in three minutes.
I walk into the place, Dean Martin turning ’round and ’round in his grave for his music being trumpeted through this restaurant well into forever. I see my manager and on my way to “check in” for my shift, am stopped by a co-worker who wants to say hello. From walking to stopping, I suddenly feel my boobs move a lot from my sudden change of motion.
I clasp my arms across my chest.
I wonder what is wrong. I have little tiny boobs that don’t move too much, especially when they’re strapped in the sports bra I wear to work. Then, I feel my pupils dilate when it dawns on me that somehow I forgot to put my bra on.
My co-worker looks at me startled because obviously there is something wrong; it is written all over my face. I fade from him and “check in” with my manager. I can’t get away from him fast enough, or cover enough of my tiny boobs with my large biceps to make me feel okay.
I run into the cafe, where servers congregate before and after their shifts. This is usually where I drink my pre-shift cup of coffee with no little amount of disdain for the environment. We talk, usually about the guests, and try to solve each others’ problems, which is why I run in there now.
The pregnant and glowing Paula is finished with her lunch shift. I bet she is wearing an under shirt. I don’t know why, but I am certain that wearing an under shirt and being pregnant are the same thing.
No, she is not wearing anything she can give me. If she’d have come off her bra, my little ta-tas would have swam around in those enormous cups all night, making me feel like my breasts were trying to make a break for it.
Mike is there, he just laughs but also would have given me an under shirt if he’d had one on.
Paula and her baby walk around to solve this. In the mean time, Sky, the friend who greeted me, comes into cafe. Though he doesn’t have an under shirt on, there is something that might work in his car, which he goes to get. Also, Pregnant Paula returns with a smiling George. He is about to be finished with his shift, too, and goes into the bathroom to take off his t-shirt to give me.
George emerges from the bathroom at the same time Sky returns with the black tank top. I go into the ladies’ room and put both of these shirts on.
Though still unrestrained, both boobs are properly buried beneath enough fabric to maintain my dignity while I serve one million salad re-fills.
I have to say, though, for those who think chivalry is dead – it’s not completely. Two men literally gave me the shirt off their backs. Thank you gentlemen. I’ve been single so long, I quite forgot how nice it is to wallow around in a man’s shirt and I got to do that with two of ‘em at once, which means maybe I had some sort of weird wardrobe ménage à trois.
Tonight my friend Colleen is at Circle K buying sundries and whatnot. As she is retreating from the big white shoe that is her car, she sees this woman wonking up into the parking lot with a jalopy with such a flat tire that it could have been mistaken for a pancake someone put on a rim.
The girl launches out of her jalopy and into Colleen’s face, “Please give me a ride home!” She cries, all but grabbing Colleen’s lapels, if she’d had lapels, and shaking her if Colleen had let this crack head get a bit closer. Of course, right then Colleen didn’t know this woman was a crack head.
When Colleen or I have problems with our cars, we tend to get this crazy “crack head” mania about us, ”Call 911 and AT&T rescue service! Call the National Guard!” Of all the things that will unhinge us, it’s car problems. This girl being a little wild eyed over the whole thing resonates with Colleen, we understand the desperation that goes with anything going wrong with your car.
While the girl goes in to get whatever sundry she needed, Colleen texts me the license plate number of the jalopy this girl woggled into the Circle K parking lot in. I then receive a phone call wherein I don’t have time to speak.
The call goes something like this, “Hey it’s me that number I texted you is this girl’s license plate who has a flat tire and I’m gonna drive her home but she already asked if I’m into girls and I said no but she’s coming to get in my car I’ll call you when I drop her off I love you bye.”
On their way to Jackson Street in the bowels of Pensacola, this girl, Christen she said, cracks open a beer. Colleen says, “Pitch that out!”
Christen looks at my friend with absolute incredulity. Colleen stops the car in traffic. Christen pitches the beer.
Then, as though her short-term memory ran out five minutes later, Christen cracks open another cold one to which Colleen replies, “Are we really gonna have this conversation again?” Out the beer goes. What a waste.
Now, Christen asks, “Do you do drugs?”
“Why would anyone want to do drugs?” Colleen now asks through clenched teeth. I’m sure if she has ever wished she had a high ball, she wishes she has one now so she can dose this crazy person and push her out of her car – face first – without stopping in traffic the way she did for the beer.
“Do you have any? I can give you some.”
“DO YOU HAVE DRUGS IN MY CAR!”
“No, no, there ain’t drugs in your car. Turn here.”
And so Colleen turns the big white shoe into the parking lot of a dilapidated motel/apartment complex/meth lab. Christen gets out of the big white shoe and Colleen drives off, swearing never ever to be a good Samaritan again, ever.
Colleen calls me as soon as she gets home. She is fine. Her car smells a little funny, like a cross between cheap beer and aqua net hairspray, but she’s fine.
Until she realizes her purse is gone.
And by gone, I mean that crack head stole her purse on her way out of the big white shoe.
Now, she doesn’t carry cash, she cancelled all her credit cards even as she’s on the phone with the police. But the worst part is that Colleen got a new fiesta donkey wallet at Target yesterday and it was in her purse.
How are you gonna steal someone’s brand new fiesta donkey wallet when they’ve given you a ride? Christen could tell you.
Of course, when Colleen and the sheriff get back to the motel/apartment complex/meth lab there is no sign of Christen. However, Colleen’s pilfered purse has been placed on the stoop in front of the door in question. The sheriff bangs on the door like – well, like a cop. No one answers.
No, of course no one is gonna answer, because that thieving bitch Christen is somewhere rocking a brand new hardly used fiesta donkey wallet she stole from someone who gave her a ride when her jalopy got a flat tire.
So I will beg this, my friends, if you see someone with about five inches of black roots growing out of a platinum coif and they smell like cheap beer and aqua net and also happen to be flashing a brand new fiesta donkey wallet around like they stole it, well they did. Get it back, please. There is a nine dollar and ninety-five cent reward on that fiesta donkey’s hide, the cost it’ll take to replace it. Please take a look at an artist’s rendering of the fiesta donkey so you will be able to identify him should you make contact. Thank you.
I watched Oprah interview Fifty Cent, aka Curtis James Jackson III, and I have decided that I need to marry him. That’s right, I’m gonna be one of those rap guys’ girlfriends, and then I’m gonna be wifey soon after. You see, during the interview, it became obvious that this guy is a savvy entrepreneur and sort of a gentle soul, too.
When asked how much of the character Fifty Cent exists in the man Curtis James Jackson III, he answered, “If I was that person, I’d be in jail right now.” It’s just a persona, just like I have a persona when I’m at work or on a date; I pretend to be a normal white woman who cares what you want on your salad or that this is your first date in the twenty-first century and that your ex-girlfriend horribly mistreated you.
I have a friend who is working on his own budding rap career. I saw him tonight and I was struck with inspiration’s arrow! When my friend becomes famous, it stands to reason that he’ll eventually meet Fifty Cent. When he does, he’s gonna tell Fifty about this nice and attractive woman in Florida and how much we have in common.
What, you might ask, could I possibly have in common with Fifty Cent? I’m gonna tell you. We both meditate. We both like to be home. We both like animals. We are both creative. We are most egregiously misunderstood. This, it seems, is a match made in heaven.
So when my friend tells Fifty all about me, Fifty is gonna come to Florida and we’re gonna go on a date. We won’t be able to go anywhere in public, me and Curtis, so we’ll have a nice private brunch somewhere in my backyard. I’m gonna have to plan the date for when the yard guy has just come so there won’t be too much dog poop back there; it’ll all have been mowed over and turned to compost.
After the date, we will get married. I’ll explain that if he wants a whole bunch of beautiful bi-racial babies we are gonna have to harvest my eggs and get a surrogate. I’ve watched two sisters give birth and I don’t want any part of that. The beautiful bi-racial baby part would be lovely. Please don’t take this statement as admission that my biological clock finally began ticking, it isn’t like that.
Once we are married, I will write an auto-biography about my life with Curtis James Jackson III aka Fifty Cent. My novel will preview on the New York Times best seller list at number two (I don’t want to be greedy). I will make more money than him, so he will have to rub my feet instead of paying a minion to do it.
The name of my auto-biography will be My Fifty Cents and it will sell fifty million copies. This is, at least, what I have decided is going to happen in my mind.