I think yesterday was the worst shift I ever worked. And believe me, in eight years of sporadic employment, I've worked some pretty hellacious days and nights. This time, I had my least favorite section, in which six tables sat down at once (no ones fault, it just goes like that sometimes) and then, as soon as I had taken all of their orders, the printer in the kitchen ran out of paper and no one noticed for 20 minutes.
Which means no food came out to my tables, who were the last to order because they were the last to sit, for well over an hour. There comes a point as a waitress when you just can't face your tables any more and bear the shame of their judgment, and so you hide in the server station and cajole your colleagues to drop checks, fill water glasses, etc.
I was well past that point when I received word that the surly assholes at table 19 wanted more water. Of course, their food and the food of their neighbors was still stuck in a kitchen labyrinth somewhere, and it had been a good fifteen minutes since I'd assured them all that their food would be out in five. Also, my shoulder had started to hurt pretty badly when things went to hell in the kitchen, and by this time my stomach was hurting too because I'd taken 1800 mg of ibuprofen, and it was not yet quite one p.m. Things were going badly, and could see my potential tips dwindling by the second.
And it was then, as I prepared to face my angry section and quell the riot brewing there, with the prospect of carrying a tray of water glasses in the wrong hand through the throng, with no food imminent, that I dropped a glass and shattered it. This seemed like a little more than I should be expected to bear on my second day back after an absence of over a year, and so I did the only thing I could do: I set everything down, stepped delicately over the shards of broken glass, and locked myself in the bathroom stall for a little cry. It had to be a little cry, because taking the deep breaths necessary for sobbing caused my shoulder to hurt like I was being stabbed.
After a few minutes, I got myself together and went to each of my tables and explained that there had been a fire in the kitchen and that it wasn't my fault their food was so late. Most restaurants would have probably bought them a drink or something, but we pride ourselves on being a little surly at M's. I mean, why would waiters want to keep their customers happy? What's in it for us? (It's actually the management who's not so interested in keeping the customers happy. Or the staff, for that matter. Though we did get McDonald's for lunch. I hate McDonald's.)
Anyway, universe: I'm sorry I said I had a good day Monday. I'm extra double sorry that I said I'm a good waitress. I understand now that I was arrogant and presumptuous, but I think I've been punished enough at this point. Let's start with a clean slate tonight, 'kay? I'll be humble and industrious, and you see to it that some people who tip 20% sit in my section.