Monday, October 22, 2012

Training Days


He is a kind man with fiery red hair and a propensity for balance. An excellent waiter by trade. His speech is not too quick for you to comprehend before it is filtered out of your short term memory like everyone's orders. He emits no anger, only brief laughter and a pat on the head. You are like everyone's kid sister.

In a blind smiley fashion you blur from table to table, the only person with a notepad, five new pens, and a spik-n-span apron. You have pep. Some people do appreciate pep. Plus you have your looks going for you. Still, at the end of each evening you have ten dollars less than the worst waiter on the schedule.

All the man and woman at table seven want is their Mountain Dews. Your trainer lets you get the drinks while he observes your peppy demeanor. He reminds you what they ordered as you fumble with cups. No straws allowed in the apron (what is it there for, you wonder). 

As you approach with the tray and the unbalanced drinks you notice the floor needs to be swept. The tray starts to twirl as you set it down on the table and the edge knocks the table and reverberates to your arm, causing the sugary beverages to both fall sideways into the seat. The seat of the man's pants, that is.

Trainer Red pops up and apologizes while you freeze and start to cry. Apologize and apologize and then walk quickly to the kitchen as the man tries to comfort you. Later you will remember that his girlfriend is a waiter, that everyone spills drinks, that it is nerve-wracking to serve people. 

As you stare down at the floor so that no one sees your red eyes, your trainer just smiles at you in bemused silence. The man and woman leave you a generous tip. You pass it along for him, as he deserves. He folds it into your palm and squeezes your fingers, looking into your face and explaining, "It's okay."

You never get any better. Always you remember the spilled drinks, the wrong orders, and the less-than-impeccable service. They all remind you that you are fine. It is perhaps that you think too much, they say. Even with the negative opinion, the peppy attitude remains. Nevertheless to your tips, you always smile thinking of him, watching you make mistakes.

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