After Dinner Think

Trip Start Dec 14, 2006
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Trip End Mar 10, 2007


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Flag of Australia  , South Australia,
Friday, December 15, 2006

It's that time of the year, the one time of year when everyone is expected to think more about other people than they do about themselves. A time to share, to eat, drink, and be merry. For me, it's a time to whinge about work.

After my second shift at Stoli, I walked the four or five blocks home to rest for a few hours before going back for dinner service. And I wasn't at all sure that I would go back. I spoke to Alice, my girlfriend, on the phone, and told her as much, but she was at a sewing class and had other things on her plate. She still hasn't found herself a job, so I guess whining about mine to her is a bit off-putting.

It's satisfying to get home, take your shoes off and sprawl out on the couch, but having to put those sweat-soaked shoes on again and get back out there was a daunting prospect. At least Australian afternoon television is entertaining, between the news, game shows and reruns of MASH. An hour or so later I was limping back to work, convincing myself that it could only get better, and certainly not much worse. It took some convincing though.

And tonight, after service, wearing street clothes over a sticky, food and sweat encrusted body, filling a half-empty stomach with delicious Tasmanian beer, and being subjected to jingling cutlery, chairs and tables being moved around, and the plaintive, nauseating sound of a Norah Jones album, I feel... well, what do I feel? Other than my feet bleeding.

What am I doing here? After three years I'm back to being a waiter. It's almost as bad as teaching again in Korea. It's like a last resort. The lowest of the low. Chefs and bartenders get all the love, and cooks don't have to deal with the customers. A dish pig doesn't have to smile and be courteous and subservient to the public.

The thing is, I'm a pretty good waiter (modest too) and it's an easy job to fall back on. It's summer in Adelaide, and I'm chasing the easy money. At least Stoli is close to home, and the staff is nice. Suspiciously so. On the surface they're all pretty decent people. And for now the friendliness is making it a bit easier to deal with "the pace." They all seem to know their business well enough, and it'll be fun to watch things unravel. There's always a generous serving of gossip and intrigue in a restaurant, and I'm looking forward to rooting it out.
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