I'm lucky I don't work in a chain restaurant but a nicer upscale family owned business that thankfully has lots of regulars.
I went into work an hour early just to be prepared. By five o'clock the place was filling up quickly and not with regulars. I walked by the host stand where the owner was standing and said "Take a look around the place, it looks like we're working in a nursing home."
Almost every person dining was at least eighty years old. They come in early, split meals, have water to drink (or de-caf) and are back home shortly after sunset.
HEY! At least they don't take up your table all night and ole peeps are generally really nice folks.
Then you have your second wave of people in a hurry during a dinner crush and exasperated they have to wait for a table , even when they don't have a reservation. Then again there is the party of ten who do have a reservation but show up with sixteen people and get aggravated they have to wait.
All in all it wasn't a bad night, just a long one. We close at nine thirty so I wasn't really worried. Most people tend to be where they want to be at midnight by around nine and since we close at nine thirty, unless they want to help mop the floor and put up chairs they leave once they eat.
My last table sat down at eight thirty, two women. They ordered an appetizer and one woman ordered a chicken dish to eat. I thought I got lucky, I could have two women out of there in little over an hour even if they took their time. Then after the appetizer they told me they had four more people coming after nine o'clock to join them and then they would order.
Just shoot me.
I sucked it up and played the cards I'd been dealt. It's all part of doing what I do for a living. You can sulk or make their visit amazing, even when you don't feel like it and hope they take care of you after you take excellent care of them.
Around nine fifteen the other four arrived. The first man said loudly "We're here to ring in the New Year, bring me a bottle!" as he set his Stetson hat on the floor beside him. (Welcome to the south)
Since I got the last table to come in I was assigned to be a closer, which means I can't leave until every thing is done and checked. Sucked for me but made sense so I couldn't much complain.
At least I got out around eleven thirty. Made nothing like I did last night (smart people go out the night BEFORE New Year's Eve) but was back home and off the streets before all the idiots left parties swearing they were okay to drive.
New Year's Eve is amateur night all around, from the restaurant/bar industry to the obnoxious guest at the party to the dumb asses who drive drunk.
I've never gone out for New Year's Eve, which may be attributed either to the fact I've been a server for over thirty five years or when I was a kid always went to the Sunday School party my parents attended. Let me say, those were some rocking parties and went on until breakfast...no alcohol involved just good Christian folks having a blast. I remember one year when it was at my parent's best friend's house. Their seventeen year old daughter came by a little before midnight with her boyfriend to check in and the house was so loud they could hear the adults from the street. Mrs. Hiers (the church pianist) was banging away on the piano and people were singing along, loud and out of tune.
It kinda reminded me of the time Aunt Bee on Andy Griffith got toasted on The Elixir from the traveling medicine man and her whole social group got locked up for public drunkenness. They were singing "Toots, Toots, Tootsie Goodbye..." and Aunt Bea's hair was all in her face. Classic episode. It will be funniest twenty minutes you've spent in a while, trust me!
The seventeen year old daughter's boy friend looked at her and asked if they were drunk? She said "No, silly, it's their Sunday School party!"
My parents and their friends knew how to and always did have a good time. They didn't need chemicals or alcohol. They partied til dawn and then all cooked breakfast together before gathering us kids to take home.
That's the kind of New Year's Eve I want to have one day.
Hoping every one has a spectacular 2014...I know we will.
Til next time, COTTON