Hmmm, they really dropped the ball on my New Year’s.

New Year’s is my favorite holiday.

It’s a new year. You have a clean slate. Your diet will work this year. Your boss will notice you. That banjo is going to get learned. It’s brand new year, full of hope and new beginnings.

And there’s one night to celebrate this new year, where everyone gets together, everyone gathers around and wears absurd plastic hats and watches the ball drop and listens to Ryan Seacrest try to make you forget about who Dick Clark is.

It’s an excuse to drink an exorbitant amount of champagne (or peach Andre), to get super dressed up, wear tons of glitter without getting any Ke$ha remarks, and to say rabbit rabbit and have good luck for the entire year.

I’ve gone to great lengths to commemorate this holiday. I’ve thrown two-day long parties to honor it. I’ve traveled across the world to spend it with friends and family. I’ve stood outside in the freezing cold for hours to watch Richmond’s version of the ball drop.

It’s a holiday that really falls under the radar. Sure there’s no special songs to honor it or gifts to be unwrapped. No glitzy light tours or special blend from Starbucks.

But you don’t have to worry about maniacal holiday shoppers. You don’t have to take out a loan to afford presents for everybody. You don’t have to buy an 8-foot tall tree to put in the middle of your house or dig through the trenches of your rat-infested attic to find tangled decorations. There are no poisonous poinsettias that could leave you without a cat. There are no drunk uncles. No fathers to tell embarrassing stories. No confusion as to which family to spend the holiday with. No cooking. No cleaning. No decorating.

No hiding eggs.

No scary costumes.

No confetti hearts.

Just all your friends. A few streamers. A sparkle or two. Maybe a dress made completely out of sequins.

Midnight strikes, snag a kiss, and blow an obnoxious horn.

Celebrate the fact that you made it through the year, and look forward to the new one to come.

New Year’s…is a great holiday.

So, I made it through Thanksgiving. Meandered through Christmas. And, as always, have been greatly anticipating the pending New Year.

I spent weeks trying to decide how to celebrate it this year, where to spend it, who to spend it with, what to wear, where to find 2013 sunglasses.

Until I received the schedule from the restaurant of my employment…letting me know that I will be working that night.

Working.

On New Year’s Eve.

Now, I’m not a big crier. I don’t cry at weddings. I’ve never cried at a movie. I didn’t shed a tear when I moved to another country and had to say goodbye to everyone. I didn’t even cry when Bambi’s mother died.

But when I found out that my New Year’s Eve was going to be ruined…

Tears.

No, literally…I sobbed. At my desk. Blotchy skin, face in hands, heaving shoulders.

No glitter, no streamers, no 2013 sunglasses, no ball drop, and the only champagne I’ll see all night will be from the bottles that I’m selling.

Eventually, however, I came to terms with this.

AFTER begging everyone I know to cover my shift for me. Including non-coworkers.

Mom, I’m still a little upset you wouldn’t help me out.

But really, I came to accept my fate and am willing to work on New Year’s. There will be no smiling, friendliness, or general pleasantry that’s required for a waitressing position, but I have submitted to the fact that I’ll be there.

After all, it shouldn’t be a very big night. Of all the things there are to do in the city of Richmond, all the open bars and outrageous events, our small young restaurant likely won’t even be on anybody’s radar for the holiday. I even started thinking that I might get out early enough to do something.

Until I found out that my restaurant of employment will be hosting a New Year’s Eve event.

Our one-year-old restaurant, in the heart of Southside, is going to host a NEW YEAR’S EVE EVENT.

With a complimentary champagne toast at midnight.

And a Sinatra impersonator from 10:30-12:30.

This isn’t a sales pitch.

It’s a plea to NOT COME.

So, I found out about our event.

More tears. A few foot stomps.

And multiple thoughts of quitting.

But, I pulled myself together and again, came to terms with my fate. I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve ensuring the good time of everyone else while trying not to be too bitter.

And besides, this is great news for all of you fans that hadn’t found a live Sinatra performance yet.

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Phyllis, I Love You.

This….is Phyllis.

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She and I have known each other for a very long time.

We’ve been through a lot of ups, and we’ve been through a lot of downs (remember that mailbox incident, Phyllis? You rear bumper still hasn’t forgiven me for that)

She was born in Japan, and we adopted her at a young age.

I named her Phyllis after this lady:
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Both Phyllises are getting up there in age. Both are on the full-figured side. Both get tired easily and need a refresh fairly frequently ($45 a week, PHYLLIS??). But both are obliging, hospitable, and would never let you down.

Phyllis has loads of great features that I absolutely love about her.

There’s a little drawer made just for my gum.
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And a pocket for the disposal of occasionally chewed gum.
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She has a backseat that’s great for picnics
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A secret compartment for all my treasures!
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She always smells like fresh laundry

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And she even holds a table, which I always forget about, but upon each rediscovery, vow to use it all the time.
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She has airbags to keep me safe

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Because she loves me

 

And a heater that, when it works, keeps me lukewarm

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It’s on full blast Phyllis…pick up the pace a little

 

Yeah, she and I have had loads of good times. Here’s to the years to come, Phyllis.

(Well…months. Realistically.)

On Diner, On Dasher

In working the service industry, and anyone that has ever had a restaurant job can vouch for me, you meet a WIDE variety of people. Especially when your place of employment is on the edge of Powhatan. Most patrons are normal; there’s the occasional person that refuses to make eye contact, or that complains about the food even after eating the entire meal, or has too many Corona Lights and sends their little sister to ask for your number.

But for the most part you’ll go home with more one-dollar bills that you know what to do with and no stories of interest.

Last night, however.

It was towards the end of the night, and I got sat with a couple, mid-fifties and average looking.

She was wearing a little-back-dress-borderline-nightgown and he was wearing a Santa hat tie (which I sort of wished she would put on so that I could stop accidentally looking at her cleavage). They seemed a little quirky, but nice enough. I took their order, brought their drinks, and went on with my job.

They got their food, no complaints, and no real interest in small talk. After a little while, I went to go see if Santa and his mistress needed anything else, but their table was empty.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is not part of the dining process.

Did they go have a cigarette break?
Did they have to get something from the car? (Perhaps she needed a shirt?)
Were they having a quickie in the bathroom?

I flung my eyes over to the door, just as the couple was walking out. Based on their shuffled pace and coats being hurled on last minute, I knew what was going on. I bounded over the tables, knocked chairs into other patrons, elbowed the hostess at the front, and heaved open the double doors.

My array of quips that I wanted to shout at them:
“Left the credit card in the car, did we?”
“Where do you think YOU’RE going? To JAIL?”
“Excuse me, this isn’t a SOUP KITCHEN!”
“Could you at least leave a tip?”

The one I decided on:
“Ex-excuse me? Excuse me? Did you all need your bill? Or, not…?”

Man in Santa hat tie’s response:
“We’ve been waiting HALF AN HOUR for our tab!”
(No you haven’t)
“We asked you FIVE TIMES for it!!”
(No you didn’t)
“You were just so SLOW!”
(No I wasn’t)

Woman in pajamas’s response:
“Ma’am, I’m so sorry. I thought he had already paid.”
(No you didn’t)
“Here, take my credit card!”
(This better be real)
“I had no idea!”
(You’re a rookie)

I took her card, and between his aggressive insistence for me to hurry up and her flustered apologies, I handed them their unsolicited tab.

What they did wrong (ie how to Dine & Dash):

  • They sat at the very end of the restaurant. Everyone knows you have to be next to the door to leave unnoticed.
  • Their bill was only $22. If you’re not going to pay for it, at least make it worthwhile.
  • They came when it wasn’t crowded. Of course I’m going to see when my ONE table leaves without paying.
  • Don’t look back. What was I going to do, wrestle them to the ground?
  • Their responses were completely opposite. Either you’re both sincerely apologetic or you’re both disgusted with the appalling service that I provided.
  • They wore a Santa tie hat and a black nightie. This has nothing to do with dining and dashing…it just shouldn’t be done.

I’m assuming they’ll never show up at my restaurant of employment again, at least not while I’m there, which is fine; that was the hardest I’ve ever worked for a $1 tip.