The Sciatic Nerve Is The Last Nerve

In the service industry, there are good nights and bad nights–not necessarily determined by how much money you walk away with (though that’s certainly important). On the good nights, you’ll get nice customers–cooperative people who smile at you and don’t complain, stay out of your way, and leave when they’re supposed to. On the bad nights, you get what I had tonight:

The family of twenty who came in around nine o’clock with their seven underage kids (who are allowed, according to the rules, as long as they’re accompanied by adults–the business is, after all, primarily a pool hall). These people were in everybody’s way, including the other customers. One girl, who couldn’t have been more than twelve, paced around the entire dining room for an hour while talking to someone on the cell phone. One must wonder: what are these parents thinking? Not only to have their children out past midnight on a Saturday night, but in a bar?!

Then there were the two guys, right next to the Addams Family, who were completely incapable of ordering a drink at the same time as each other, which made them one of my most high-maintenance tables.

Even better–the couple who ordered two plates of food, then complained a few minutes after the food had been delivered that it was “So cold it was inedible.” However, when I went to clear the plates and replace their meals, they’d eaten five of the six chicken fingers in the order, and the nachos were still so warm that I had to use a napkin to hold the bottom of the plate so I didn’t burn myself. It was all I could do not to smear the damn nachos all over the guy’s fucking wanker ponytail.

The prize, however, indisputably goes to the girl who ordered 3 (three) drinks for herself–a beer, a water and a Shirley Temple–the moment she sat down, and asked for the water and the Shirley to be refilled three times apiece within an hour. This girl must have the bladder of a camel, because I never once saw her head for the bathroom. But seriously, who needs three beverages at once? Wouldn’t two have sufficed? I know that it’s wise to drink water during a night of boozing, but was the Shirley Temple really necessary?

To top it off, I have just come off of a week of excruciating tooth pain, only to have it replaced by a knot in my lower back that’s hitting right on my sciatic nerve, sending shooting pains down my legs and making me walk like I’ve just been thumped across the backside with a baseball bat. I had one table of regulars, both of whom are in the service industry as well, and I said to them at one point, “I just want to say to all these fuckers, ‘Look. My sciatic nerve is my last nerve, and it’s fucked, which means I don’t have any left for you.'” At this, the regulars laughed heartily–apparently their week has been strikingly similar. Upon their exit, they left me a twelve dollar tip, after having only consumed water and Diet Coke.

I have come to the conclusion that waitressing and/or bartending should be a required course in order to graduate from high school. Not only would it teach multi-tasking and patience, it would teach people how to be nice to other people. It would teach them how not to completely annihilate an already lousy day in the life of a complete stranger. And it would teach them how, when dining out, to stay the fuck off of the last nerve of a waitress whose legs are threatening to spontaneously sever themselves at the ankle.

Thankfully, in all my years in this profession, I have found that the customers who are at least mediocre tend to outnumber the ones who are truly insipid, but nonetheless, a water-sucking table of four who are out of sync with each other and whose parents neglected to teach them “please” and “thank you” can completely trash an otherwise pleasant evening. I liken them to the little girl I was compared to as a child (and I know I’ve used this metaphor another time recently): When she was good, she was very very good, and when she was bad, she was horrid.”

I suppose that’s it for my complaining. I’m snugly nestled in my papasan chair now, with a cold beer I should really not be drinking but just couldn’t resist. So what if it derails my antibiotics? I fucking earned this beer, and I’m damn well going to enjoy it.


~ by saltgirlspeaks on 8 July, 2007.

One Response to “The Sciatic Nerve Is The Last Nerve”

  1. It’s like I always say…retail, bookselling, serving would all be great good fun if it weren’t for the darned customers.

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