how to survive 9 days running a restaurant in a powerless town full of complaining jews and other people.

7 Nov

Last night some friends came in for dinner and, upon observance, accused me of not once cracking a smile the entire time they were there. It’s true. I’m smiling minimally these days. Don’t get me wrong. Business is booming and I have power and my family is safe and life is special and whatever. I’m grateful for these things. But the fact is, I deal with the public.

And the public has reached the 22nd Hour.

Each September, Jews everywhere observe the holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. During this time, we fast for 24 hours in order to be forgiven for the sins we have committed during the year such as driving on the Sabbath, coveting our neighbors’ wives and eating cheeseburgers. Out of the 24 hours, at least ten are spent complaining about thirst, hunger, stinky breath and supreme desire for bagels & lox. The final 2 hours turn most every Atoning Jew into a miserable, nearly unrecognizable hunger beast. By the 22nd Hour, everyone’s just a fuckin’ asshole to each other.

That’s pretty much where we’re at in the spectrum of this whole hurricane thing. The 22nd hour.

Since the stop lights went out on Broadway, (and Jericho Turnpike, Main Street and whatever woodsy street your house is on, just kidding not you because if you live on a woodsy street you are sitting in the dark inside of it and do not have a phone charger with which to power up this post) drivers have developed an inability to: change lanes, participate in an all-way stop sign, navigate around a roadblock (ie. downed wire, parked car, fallen tree, pooping dog). There is also some sort of lack of brain power when it comes to lining up for gas. I have literally resorted to directing traffic. 

You + Active Driveway = Leave a space.

That’s how it should be.

Not Me + You blocking my driveway + Pouring Rain = Me standing in the falling slush letting you know that there are 15 feet between you and the person in front of you so can you please move the fuck up.

A local (hottie) cop came in last night to pick up some dinner, and when I asked him to arrest me so I can finally get some peace and quiet, he asked if I’d kindly do the same to him. “Ummm, yeah, for sure, no problem. A.N.Y.T.I.M.E.,” I winked. (Don’t worry, Harry knows I’m totally not just kidding. Just kidding.) He said that he keeps getting calls to people’s houses so that they can complain that their dogs are cold from the lack of power, and that he has broken up more fights at the gas station in the past 3 days than he ever has in all the local crack bars. I gave him a big hug and we held hands and I told him it will all get better soon, and we stared into each other’s eyes and… oh shit, that’s for the other blog.

Anyway, it breaks my heart that I can now determine whether or not someone has power within the first 30 seconds of them entering the building. Telltale signs:

1. They have eaten at the restaurant 3 nights in a row. The second they walk back in for a 4peat, I know they’re still in the dark.

2. No mascara. (This typically is only used for judging women, but there is the occasional man who’s looking a little puffy around the eyes)

3. Greasy ponytail. I have known some of these bitches for years, and never seen their anything less than perfectly blown out. So once that ponytail swings in, I know.

4. They enter in a single file line. Families are no longer united. They hate each other. The parents hate the kids because they’re annoying and keep staying with friends and it’s not fair. The kids hate the parents for being too cheap and disorganized to check into a hotel til the lights come back.

5. Beeline for an outlet. The obsession with technology is merely repressed, it isn’t going to dissipate with a setback like no electricity. The lack of power to iPhones is literally destroying lives. Like literally.

6. Wearing an inordinate amount of jackets. Last night there was a guy wearing 2 pairs of jeans. Someone needs to buy him some thermals, he seemed really stiff and uncomfortable.

7. They bring a board game, 2 dogs and a sleeping bag to dinner. Brings a whole new meaning to camping out at a table.

 

I’d like to dedicate this post to the following people who have changed me from a sort of negative gal to a full on bitch to everyone I encounter:

Guy with Fanny Pack and head tattoos. Sits at the bar talking to himself for 1 hour straight. Loudly. In his fanny pack, he pulls a back scratcher out Mary Poppins-style and begins to rub himself down. FROM TOE TO HEAD. Harry makes me leave the vicinity because a) EW and b) he’s trying to look down my shirt. DOUBLE EW.

Old lady who can’t stand for long periods of time and should therefore sit at a table before the other 75 people waiting. I directed her to a cushy bench by the host stand, brought her some coffee and make her wait like the rest of the pions. Just like the gas line, nobody in this place is cutting the damn soup line.

Couple who wants free shit during a time that I’d really like to direct my free shit towards those who legitimately need it.  We often run a dinner special on Tuesday wherein you get a free soup or salad, but it’s off this week because we’re offering something different. Not ok with them. When I offered to make a donation directly to the Red Cross for the difference in price, they told me that all they wanted was free soup and that they shouldn’t have to donate money if they don’t want to. “Oh,” I managed squeak out. “OK. You only care about yourselves. No problem. I’ll bring you soup.” They nodded and on the way out, applauded me for “doing the right thing.” Karma’s a bitch, medium old people.

Snobbish Douchebag wearing Argyle. “It’s very rude to bring someone a check in front of their other guests,” he tells me, looking down on me even though I’m standing and he’s sitting. Meanwhile, 4 feet away, I am trying to accommodate a restaurant full of people and help bus tables because it’s Monday night and we’re doing Saturday business. He shorts me by 38 cents because “he doesn’t have change and he doesn’t think he should have to round up.” You keep on with your awesome self, my friend.

Family who thinks the restaurant is housing their own personal thermostat. A table is cold when they get inside. So I make it warmer. Then there’s hot air blasting on them. Then there’s a light shining on them. Then it’s too dark to read the menu. Then one person needs hot water with lemon. Then another person needs hot water with extra extra lemon. Then the first person needs cold water. Then they put their coats on the table next to them, even though we clearly need to use it. Then they put their coats back on because they’re cold again.

Table that won’t leave. I get it, it’s cold at your house. But I have 20 guys from Alabama wearing orange vests and hardhats who are waiting to sit down and eat steaks and french onion soups, and you’re sitting smack dab in the middle of a row of empty tables. I understand that your second cousin put the wrong kind of gas in his generator, but we need to save these thrilling stories for another day. I’ve got mouths to feed.  And you already got yours.

Guess what. I just smiled! I’m sitting in Starbucks and a random dude just took it upon himself to carry a very large flag inside that was about to blow away in the wind. He was just being a nice guy. Humanity is saved! All is right in the world!

So even though I stepped in dog shit this morning and the wifi doesn’t work up in this joint and it’s FUCKING SNOWING, I still think it’s gonna be a good day.

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One Response to “how to survive 9 days running a restaurant in a powerless town full of complaining jews and other people.”

  1. Kelly November 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    possibly my favorite post ever!!!! We still have no power and i am totally in the 22nd hour and you made me laugh numerous times!! Well done!

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