life lessons learned from waiting tables
Once Hum and I officially stepped into adulthood and got married in 2006 (he was 21, I was 20... adults... he he he), we found jobs to pay our bills. I got a job waiting tables, he got a job cleaning cars. Honestly, we were miserable at both of these tasks, but we did them anyway. I began work at a little restaurant called "Cowboy Grub". Those of you from Salt Lake City are nodding your heads and with a warm smile thinking "ahh yes..." about the many times you ate there growing up and remembering the attached kid room where you could pay for a riveting ride on a plastic horse for (only!) 50 cents. If you aren't from Salt Lake and you have been jipped of these fond memories, you should know Cowboy Grub is a western themed restaurant with illustrated prairie style wallpaper borders, horse shoe coat hooks, bull taxidermy staring you down in the waiting lounge, and I (your server) would wear a denim shirt and a sheriff's badge with my name on it. (Don't get too rowdy or you'll have to deal with me!/Watch your back, the sheriff's in town!/Would you like a soda with that, partner?)
This restaurant was popular among families and people of all ages (I recommend the potato cheese soup!) but especially popular with the elderly. At about 5:00 pm the tables filled up and as you looked across the the dining room, the hall was padded with silvery heads.
There were the regulars, like the one lady that would visit the "salad wagon" and fill her plate with some salad but mostly kidney beans. She would then continue to tell me how essential kidney beans are in a diet because they are "rich in protein and they really help things flow!". Thanks for that advice, salad wagon lady. Then there was the old guy who would lay 5 one-dollar bills across the table and then continue to remove one bill at a time with every waitressing indiscretion. I'm not sure if anyone ever got paid the full five bucks... bless him and his cold old heart forever. Then there was the cute couple that would always leave you a one dollar bill tip regardless of how your performance was, but (!) she did fold that dollar into a shirt. What she lacked in wealth she made up for in style. I like that.
If you think I wrote this whole post just to show you how to fold a dollar bill into a shirt, you'd be wrong, but check out this youtube video!!!! The truth is, waiting on these tables taught me an interesting lesson. After a number of months of waiting tables I began to notice a pattern with my silvery headed customers. To generalize my survey: I noticed that they were either extremely sweet and patient or they were rough around the edges and impossible to satisfy. I hardly met anyone whose disposition lay somewhere in between.
It makes me wonder if every time we choose to smile, feel gratitude, and act with patience we begin to set our course with much more longevity than we realize. Being kind is so simple! (or is it?). It's something we are taught since the time we begin to walk, but we have to remind ourselves all the time. I've pocketed this little life experience and try to come back to it often as a reminder to become the wrinkly, baggy, saggy, old lady that I would like to be and (of course) leave cash tips fashioned into miniature clothes.
>> Read this on pinterest yesterday: "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be". - Abraham Lincoln (uh huh)
>> Okay. Funny story. When I was little (perhaps 6?) I got to sing on some kid primary recordings for my church. Since we're talking about kindness and all, here is my debut solo for the song, "Kindness Begins with Me". Wait for the diva vocal slide at the end of the song, it's worth the wait and, don't worry, my family still teases me about the surge of awesomeness that overtook my voice. A sappy song for a sappy story, you're welcome.
>> Anybody else have waitressing stories to share? I didn't yet mention all of the anxiety nightmares that accompanied me while I worked there. I would dream of wandering from table to table of people asking, "please, I need some water!". I would then, unable to walk, crawl around on my knees searching for water but never able to get them any and I would wake up in a cold, panic-y sweat. Let's just say waitressing wasn't my thang!
>> Man, this brings me back to 8th grade!