Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In the Weeds

If I were waiting tables today instead of swimming through policy and legislation and databases and to do lists filled with emails to draft and people to call, I would take a moment, just a moment, and shout:


And all of my waitress pals would drop what they were doing or the gossip they were spouting near the soda machine and come to my aid if they could. Help me clear my tables. Run dinners out to my tables before it got cold. Basically, help me get my shit together and let me return to normalcy.

Well, um, at least in theory (and in my still-recurring waitress dreams (really? WTF)) that's what happens. And in some places, it did. In other places, your weeds were the least of the other girls' problems. They had weeds of their own.

Now, you could see being in the weeds a matter of poor time management, general slacker-ness, an inability to handle yo' bidness. And yes, ok, fine. In some instances, that is the case. The weeds would definitely creep up on you faster after an all-nighter, or too much fun or simply too many double shifts attempted in one week (git that money).

But other times, it just happens. Shit happens. An 8-top gets seated the same time your meal for 4 AND your flaming dessert for the couple in the corner is ready to go. The credit card machine busts its gut right as the impatient family wants to leave before their kids start to cry and yes, as soon as another 8-top gets seated.

Being in the weeds isn't necessarily bad. It means you've got a full section and hell, that means odds of you walking home with coin just got that much better. Sometimes, it's actually fun - just how many plates can I balance on this arm without them falling, running into another server or getting yelled at by the boss? How many hours can I deprive myself of sleep and still function on the floor? Just how many bus boys can I piss off by leaving my empty plates out and requiring them to, you know, do their job?

BTW, the sum of the latter will always be higher than the previous two stats combined. Bus boys, for the most part, are bitches.

Being in the weeds isn't bad. But it is always overwhelming.

All of this to say, dudes, I am in the weeeeeeeds.

Work is kicking my ass and depriving me of time to play my (borrowed) bass, blog, comment, you know, give you all of the mundane minutae of my life. I kid. But seriously, it's kind of bumming me out. I want to show you pics of the girls' trees and of my tiny balcony garden and of me kayaking this weekend (ahhhhhh) and tell you about the great day I had with S. and baby C. and most importantly, let you know that after a rocky, rocky week, our weekend was actually very nice. Some tears on Sunday night (damn, you No. # 1 Lady Detective Agency and your baby grave at the end of the show) but they were more like quiet remembrance, not full on freak out.

But I can't because every time I think about uploading things from the camera, or spending some dedicated time telling y'all how much I dig you (because I do) everything else that I should be doing goes rushing through my brain so fast I can't think straight. That's what being in the weeds is like for me now - not a physical, sweat-inducing overload, more like a my head is so full I need to shake it out and start over. I couldn't even give you a table to clear or food to bring out if I wanted to. I can't ask for help because I don't know where to start. (and, in most cases, if I were to ask for help now, my boss would require that I write up a "project scope" and a full set of instructions or worse yet, "Procedures" and fuck, after all that I might as well have just done the damn this myself.

BTW, as you can see, I've recently given myself permission to swear more freely on my blog. And fuck. Yes. It feels good. Kind of like taking your bra off at the end of the day. Ahhhhh. Fuck yeah.

ALL of this to say, I'm here. I'm ok. Much better thanks. But I DO wish I had a kitchen full of bitchy cooks and a dining room full of hungry diners (and tippers) to deal with right now instead of the things that are currently on my plate.

Because if I were waiting tables, my pal S. would have a 40 waiting for me at the apartment for the end of my shift. And we would shed our stinky, crusty old-bay-scented clothes, dump our aprons on the beds, stuff some of the dollars away and stick as many quarters in our pockets as they would hold (ok, maybe just me. I like arcades, ok?), dress in something completely ridiculous (this might have been my layering phase) and run off to the boardwalk and the pier looking for trouble. And we would find it. And the weeds would be forgotten. At least until tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Love the analogy! As another former waitress, I know exactly (and have fond memories of) what you mean :)

Bluebird said...

Oh girl. I get it. I sooooo get it. I was laughing and crying as I read your post. Love the analogies - to the weeds, and also to taking your bra off at the end of the day :) I wish there was some way I could help you clear your tables. . . if you think of anything, let me know!

Mo said...

glad to hear you're doing better - I think it's great that you're fully immersed in work. Good luck in the weeds : )


Clare said...

Love this post.. what a great analogy.

I was so in the weeds last week and so glad to be in a different phase at work this week. I too would love to clear your tables... and the offer stands until I have another pile up of IEP meetings, angry families, funding application to write and then a few major technology breakdowns to battle through - you know for spice. Sometimes I preferred it when my to do list was achieved through motion rather then desk work.

Glad to hear that the weekend had some bright moments.

annacyclopedia said...

Since you've implemented increased swearing...

FUCK I love this post! I mean FUCK! It's perfect. I, too, have still-recurring waitress-mares, nearly 9 years after I last waited a table. And although I'm glad I'm not still slinging beer and grub, I do sometimes yearn for the days when getting out of the weeds was a lot easier. And for the solidarity that comes with anyone's being in the weeds being out in the open, for all to see, acknowledge, and help assuage.

Since I can't come and take any drink orders for you or run any credit cards through, I'll offer you a few bands that I've been meaning to share with you ever since you turned me on to L.os Campe.sinos. They are both local bands and I love them oh so much:
Ra.h Ra.h and Libr.ary Voi.ces. You can find both of them on mysp.ace. I promise at least some small measure of happiness. Maybe not equal to running off to the boardwalk in layers with a pocket full of quarters, but hopefully worth something.

Fuck you're cool.

Two Shorten the Road said...

I'm glad to hear you had a good weekend.

And I didn't know you'd waited tables. :)

Mikenjane said...

Just found your blog through L&F&CA.
Love your spirit!

I was a waitress once, so I know exactly what you mean.

(And for it's worth, I've lost a child. But managed to find two more a decade later. It can be done.)

Just so you know -- spring is here when you are ready for it.

And I too love an arcade. The best part are the surprises.


Reba said...

What better place to swear freely than your blog? If you can't swear here, where can you? F'ing go for it! :)

Kami said...

This was a fun post to read. I can feel those good moments you have had.

Good luck in the weeds. I hope you poke your head up to breathe and find your almost out soon.

PS: Never worry about commenting on my blog. In fact, I hope you aren't visiting. I would hate to think I might contribute to your pain.

lostintranslation said...

Ha, sometimes it helps to do a brain dump - write everything down that you need to do (you can always prioritize later), so it's out of your head.

Btw, I have something else to add to your to-do list... I tagged you (again) about two weeks ago, and forgot to tell you - but, as we would put on non-work related emails at the company I worked for in Holland "IGNORE WHEN BUSY"! :-)

Sarah said...

OMG we found so much trouble, we did. In my most recent waitressing-anxiety dream, I was working a deck on the bay and there was a dead body floating in the water. I kept trying to distract my tables.