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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

The Waiter Chronicles: January Lull

Friday, January 18, 2008

All of December is a mad rush at the Ristorante: the place is fully booked several nights a week, and large parties are the norm; we run out of clean silverware by 7:30. But it's exhilerating. And since we're making so much money, none of the waiters complain.

Then January rolls around, and things slow down. Waaaaay down. The glut of eating and drinking that filled the year's 12th month have taken their toll on the waistline and the conscience by the first week of January. Reservations almost totally dry up, and what people do come in aren't drinking much, and they're steering clear of dessert. It's a little depressing.

What's also depressing is that the Ristorante meets this lull head on by cutting staff on the schedule, starting with the bussers. During the holidays there was at least one--and often two--bussers on every shift. But this last week gave us a busser only once, yesterday, at lunch. Every dinner service this week has been covered by two or three lonely waiters; the bussers are on holiday.

Which would seem to be fine, given the above observation about the slow traffic. It's just that waiting tables without a busser is, I'm coming to believe, twice as difficult as having one. The mental and physical exertion are nearly doubled when the waiter has to fetch bottomless baskets of bread and refill countless iced teas for tables. With a busser, a waiter can relax when a table leaves; get the check from the table, close the ticket, attend to other tables. But without one, a table's departure is a horn-blast signaling him to battle.

Clear the glasses. Clear the dishes. Roll up the paper. Wipe down the chairs. Bring a new paper. Bring plates, silverware, napkins, glasses.

Seriously, my legs hurt more this morning, after a week of January traffic, then they ever did during the holidays. Maybe it's that I'm a month older. Maybe it's that I'm ready to be done with this whole chapter, so the discomfort is more apparent. Maybe it's just less adrenaline. Whatever the case, my feet are aching for February.


posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 7:00 AM


Is this chapter coming to an end in February? Sure glad to see you back - I've missed reading your adventures... sorry they're not of the interesting, but rather painful, variety right now.
commented by Blogger Jerilyn, 10:47 AM  

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