Last night was busy. Surprisingly busy. Especially after cutting a server and a bartender before service. There wasn’t a push; it felt more like a continual surge from open to close. And to be honest, after seven hours of having middle aged southern woman eat out the palm of my hand, I noticed one thing. I didn’t see or hear a child. There was no kid-option demands, questionable tableside parenting, and NOT ONE Shirley Temple.
Did I die and go to Server Heaven?
No, it’s just that time of year. “Newly Wed or Nearly Dead,” is and was how my dear friend put it five years ago during my rookie season waiting tables. And every year since, the September theme doesn’t seem to sway. With the combination of honeymooners and Members Only jackets, the cash hasn’t stopped flowing. And I don’t mind.
With the change of the tide and temperature, one can finally take a second and appreciate the lifestyle we choose. Talking to my roommate this week I confessed I enjoyed serving. I enjoy making complete strangers feel happy with their clothes on (and off.) Growing up in a oversize family, there are things I have taken from the East Coast, and others I left behind: gold chains, hair product, tight clothes, and a shoe box filled with glow sticks.
As for the things I brought to mountains, hospitality really sums it up. Maybe it’s the fact I miss my family, that when people I never met before sit at my table I invite them into my own little world. Filling that small void I have when my parents are 2,000 miles away and my brother is doing his thing in the Middle East isn’t hard. It’s not like I am getting emotional as I write this. But, it’s fun to connect with people on a level beyond carbs, butter, salt and ceramic. When it is more than visible that a guest is enjoying him or herself, and being the sole reason for that experience, I get a certain sensation of satisfaction. Wholeness? Maybe.
This time of year, a server can really build a relationship with a table. The tempo of the restaurant has slowed down; where as a server I can be your guide not only through the menu but also for Jackson and beyond. When you can feel the exchange of trust, that is when it gets real. Really real! It’s a beautiful feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to work for free, but that gratuity from a table that loves you, and you love them feels SOOOO good.
It’s that time where we can spread the love again. No more mandatory turn and burn sections. It’s time to slow cook that turkey! Sell that big bottle, and get that table to order a full blown four coarse meal. I dare you!
Fall is our time to regain our sanity, whether financially, spiritually or via alcohol and other recreational substances. Embark on that familiar quest of good service, and enjoy the rest of your summer kiddos!
P.S. ROLL TIDE