Thursday, October 2, 2014

Momma Told Me There'd Be Days Like This

I've always said being a server is a crap shoot. Today I crapped out. Had to park at the very end of the MARTA lot but bustled in the door of the restaurant right on time. I like working the day shift but have never had to get up at six thirty before and has taken some adjusting to get used to it. I've been going to bed earlier and eating better (thanks to free grub in the airport) and have put on five much needed pounds. Before you know it I'll be weighing triple digits!

ABSOLUTELY everything going on in the world affects how things go at the world's busiest airport. The shut down at O'Hare didn't help business and neither did strikes at Air France and Lufthansa. People were stuck all over the world. We count on people constantly moving and they weren't.

I knew we wouldn't be busy. Yes we are the best restaurant in the airport by far but if we can't get new people into the ain't happening for us.

There was one server already there when I got there, he rides in with someone who has to be there at seven. The next server, a new girl was fifteen minutes late (early for her) and the last server got there well after nine, when everything was done.

That's okay, I'm always willing to take one for the team.

With all the airline shut downs was like Christmas Day...a ghost town and didn't get busy but finally got rolling around noon. They trickled in slowly.

I've never been a server that hangs out at the host stand or tries to seat myself tables when it's not my rotation but noticed a couple of hours in that the two servers who had been late had twice the tables I did and kept on getting them.

I finally walked out to the host stand and looked at the floor chart. One of the late servers had waited on twenty seven guests, the even later one had over thirty and I had eight. The first server to get there only had nine.

I'm all for taking one for the team but this seemed unfair. The entire host staff are young girls and like them... and all seem to like me. I just think they are really young and sometimes just don't get it. I asked one hostess to catch me and the other server up and she promised to, as another hostess took another party of six to one of the late server's table once again.


I'm not saying I deserve any special treatment, and don't but I hit that door working and continue to constantly work hard the entire ten sometimes more hours I am there. Some of them...not so much.

Another hour went by and it really started to get under my skin as they waited on table after table and I was helping run their food, bar drinks,polishing silverware and glasses while still managing to fold well over 300 napkins for the tables.

We have a brand new manager who was working and is a terrific guy. I didn't want him to think I was a complainer or tattle tale but finally when he walked by and asked how it was going,  told him.

He went straight to the host stand, looked at the status of customers per server and found me (in the back polishing more glasses) to tell me never to hesitate to come to him when something like that happened.

That was very nice of him and wish I had  come to him earlier because now it was almost time for the PM shift to come on the floor.

I made about a hundred and ten bucks after tip out but guarantee you being late to work paid triple for the others.

That's NOT taking one for the team...that's taking FROM the team if you ask me.

I did my part of the closing side-work but for once, no more than.

Got off work and finally back to the MARTA station still fuming as I walked all the way to the far end of the lot in the hot sun to my almost paid for little Ranger pick up.

Then, just like a Cotton always has to do whatever vehicle they may be driving, popped the hood and checked the oil. Then I got a quart of oil and funnel out of the tool box and chugged one in. Then I got in and cranked up Ronnie Ranger. Then I got back out and took the gallon jug of water I carry in the tool box as well and checked the radiator. Then I quenched his thirty little hose with a half gallon of water, put the jug back in the tool box, shut the tool box, shut the hood, got back in the truck and was finally ready to put the seat belt on and go home.

I immediately called home to tell Tim I was on the way (he had been off work all day) and warned him was on the way, not in a good mood and hoped the house was looking just as good as when I had left.

On the ride home I starting thinking about the whole picture.

Okay,  only made a little over a hundred bucks but had never come close to that at my old job on an even great day shift. It was the first time in over four months that I took a hit at this new job...those were pretty good odds considering my luck the past five years and should be grateful not ticked.

The ticked feeling subsided even more when got home to find the house just as tidy as when I left. (excellent idea to call ahead and fore warn)

The feeling went totally away after a couple of cold beers,  making homemade fajitas complete with homemade pico de gallo , guacamole and sprucing up my house even more.

 If you walked into my house today and had never been there before, would most probably think we owned one small dog we rarely bathed...not almost three hundred pound's worth.

I crashed on the sofa and watched some "Parks and Recreation" on Zach's  Netflix account and woke up ready to start another day with a better attitude.

Tomorrow was pay day and had made it by the skin of my teeth and borrowing twenty bucks from Zach. Woke up with a new attitude.

Like a Phat Cat parked at International which would cost me twelve dollars but save me almost an entire hour on my commute to and from work.

I went in with a positive attitude and let yesterday go.

I got there right on time and got busy with my opening side work. In thirty minutes was through with it and on the floor taking tables.

The same new manager was there today and made sure everything went evenly. He came up to me about an hour in and said they had a party of six and were seating them in a section that was open and giving them to me.

O'Hare was up and running again, the strikes were over and people flooded in and out of the world's busiest airport once again.

Worked (and sweated) like a demon but had fantastic customers met many more interesting people with interesting stories and really connected with them.

I walked out of the restaurant shortly after nine making almost three hundred...and had the next two days off to boot!

Yesterday was a good lesson.

I feel like I deserve and earnestly try my hardest at  this job and actually sometimes feel like one morning may wake up under a bridge by Turner  Field when a passing car wakes me up by honking in road rage and find out the nightmare is really BEGINNING.

I took one for the team but still feel blessed to be on it.

Karma came right around less than twenty four hours later and  like that...I was back on top!

This job has literally been a saving salvation for us and I wanted to be ticked about one bad shift in four months?

As my son Zach once said to me at the kitchen table one night during dinner when eleven (eleven years ago) and riding the bus with some really different students...

I immediately popped his  face in a momma knee jerk reaction but shocked him so badly it also made Massey and TJ's jaw drop open to let dinner drool out of their mouths.

So I had one bad day.

Big deal.

Am I suddenly a princess thinking she's beneath having a bad day?

Had I forgotten about running to the curb on the street at the far end of our driveway early one morning in a freakin nightie waving a post dated check at the power (and one more time at the water) guy as they started to back out of the driveway and leave us (small pun) high and dry?

Obviously I had and was totally ridiculous of me but at least pointed out a flaw they needed to know about.

You get what you give.

May take a while, often does (did) and may not get all back at once but if you keep on giving, keep on fighting the good fight and never forget to sometimes even laugh at your own misfortunes (making it much more noteworthy)...


We survived, we have been blessed. We have cried countless times but laughed even more. We are healthy and have a roof over our heads.

Do you know how many millions and millions of people would feel grateful just to be in our position?

It humbles,blows my mind, saddens but inspires me.

If you need help, accept help offered because they want to help.

When you get help, be grateful and know it your job to now pay it forward.

This concept may sound trivial but is (not kidding) one that could and can literally, hopefully... change the world as we know it. Going to bed late, no worries off for two days and just like Zach felt like somebody smacked me in the face and sent me to bed early.

Til next time...COTTON

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