Tuesday, October 31, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

Lunch rush was pretty much done when a middle aged black couple walked in. The rest of the 4 servers closing out the lunch shift kind of fled. The shift was almost over and stereotypes abound. Seeing that we had no host on (as we often don't in the middle of the afternoon) I took the liberty of seating them in my section. In my eyes, a customer is a spending customer, and anything helps...especially when lunch has been slow.

They were starving. Antipasti, entrée, drinks. The man was busy chewing, so I asked the wife:

"So how does everything taste?"

"Off the chain!"

"That's what I like to hear."

"I gotta tell you. This, is Italian food. I'm particular you know. If I eat bagels, I want 'em cooked by Jews. Pizza, by Italians. Enchiladas, by Mexicans. Chinese food, by Chinese. Sweet potato pie...she better damn be my grandmother! I. Am. That kinda person. And let me tell you, my sister, who thinks she's Italian, is comin in here. Hell, I'm bringin all the kids and everybody!"

"You do that. Bring them in, and we'll show them how Italian is done. I'll grab your check and you make sure you come back. I'm holding you to it." ...flashing my waiter smile.

"Oh, you better believe it!"

As I got the check, I decided not to tell her that none of our chefs are Italian. In fact, one's Mexican, and he makes some pretty unbelievable pork chops. As they walked out, I noticed the signed check and picked it up. 50% tip. A nice generous helping of sweet potato pie and my day would have been perfect.
Thursday, October 26, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

I walked past a couple in their early 60s standing in the middle of our dining room, no host in sight.

Me: "What, were you guys just abandoned here?"
Man: "Oh, no no. We just applied for waiter positions, and we're scoping the place out. You know, seeing what we got ourselves into."
Me: "It's a solid place to work. Management is nice. The discount is worth shaking a stick at."
Woman: "Actually, we considered being the singing entertainment tonight."
Me: "Really? Excellent, give me a sample."
Wom.: "Well, we haven't yet talked through our repetoire for the evening. I'll get back to you."
Me: "Good good. You do that."
Man: "Actually, this is an Italian place right?"
Me: ...dramatic pause...
Man: "You got guys that sing for guests?"
Me: "You're looking at him."
Man: "You huh? I shoulda figured."
Me: "I sing per request. We don't have any roving minstrels or anything."
Man: "Ok. You wanna do me a favor for a couple of bucks?"
Me: "Obviously."
Man: "Our friend and his wife are coming in soon. I want you to come up to us sometime during our meal and act like you already know us. My friend is Big Al. I'm Buzz, that's Sandy. You know, one of those "HEY, HAVEN'T SEEN YOU IN AGES!!' kind of things. Then we'll talk and work into the conversation a segway for you to burst into song? Think you can do that?"
Me: "Buzz, I live for this kind of stuff."

He hands me $5.

So when three of the four entrées are run, I grab the fourth from the "foodrunner" and give Big Al his pasta, only to turn around and be 'surprised' to see Buzz sitting there. We strike up a 'catching up' conversation that leads me to talking about giving toasts where I immediately break into "Libiamo" from La Traviata. The place bursts into applause.

I go back and greet the table just sat in my section. She works for a big opera company on the West Coast doing hair and make-up. Apparently the Trattoria was teaming with opera fans. Now, this woman has been in the opera biz for 20 years and I'm just barely tapping it now, so I'm in a little over my head, but the conversation was priceless.

It was the end of the night and Opera Hair Lady (OHL) and her husband were my only table. Buzz and Big Al and their wives were still over in Milhouse's section. 30 minutes talking with OHL, 40 talking to Buzz and Gang. Huge tips all around. THIS is exactly why I wait tables.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

Harold has worked at our restaurant for awhile now...prior to my hiring anyway. He's the black sheep, the ugly duckling. He doesn't quite fit into the society well. I have the feeling he was always beat up at school for his quiet demeanor, and crossed eyes. He now seems bizarrely content to hide in the kitchen washing dishes with his headphones on.

He walks to work every day and it takes him hours. Why he doesn't take the bus is beyond me, but he walks everywhere. I think he has found solace in solitude. Safety in singularity. If there's no one around, there's no one to hate you or talk down to you or look at you like you're the oddball. He can have an attitude, but it's my belief that it's caused from low expectations. Almost no one at work talks to him. He wafts through the kitchen like a spectre. He never makes eye contact. He's there, but not really.

One of the most recent hiring waves brought in Jimmy. He's a very large, very loud, black man. He's a riot, and Harold's exact opposite.

Tonight, they were on shift together. And there were words.

Jimmy for some reason cannot stand Harold and tonight he was set off. Harold is notorious for under-the-breath comments, and unkind words that are virtually inaudible. Apparently Jimmy caught one such comment tonight.

"Listen you motherf*cking little b*tch, I want you away from me. Don't even come close to where I'm at!" ...and this went further and further.

Now the section of the kitchen where they are stationed isn't close to the dining room but Jimmy is far from softspoken. As I walked out and hit the floor, I could still hear his voice clear as a bell. That's when the soon-to-be-rumble becomes my problem, when my customers can hear it. When a patron's meal is disturbed by personal back of the house issues is when management needs to step in. Did they? Of course not. Not until I approached the closing manager.

"You realize I can hear Jimmy on the floor? And not quietly either? I can pretty much pick up every four-letter word."

Swear on your own time and your own dollar, but when you're in the trattoria, your mouth will be clean, and your personal presentation will be professional. Or you find a new place to work.

Well, rather than yell back, because that's not something Harold does, he simply kept 'invading Jimmy's space' and causing more issues. The manager told them to quiet down and spoke to Harold about his attitude and Jimmy about his volume level. Harold was then told to empty to food garbage cans with were borderline overflowing. He took off the slotted top, threw it on the dish line, spilling dumped food everywhere...on the dishline, floor, counter, everywhere.

I thought Jimmy was going to throw a plate at him. He was livid. I think he may have done something if the manager hadn't walked in just then.

"What the F*ck is this? Harold...seriously?! Are we 8 years old again? You're hand washing the floor now because I'm not having my server trapse this f*cking sh*t into my dining room! Get on it. NOW!"

It took ages for everything to get cleaned up. We all had to stay late because annoying customers stayed so long we had to turn up the lights and turn off the music on them. I felt like I was working in a bar. I walked outside after an age-long shift to find it cold and rainy. As I drove home I passed Harold walking in the rain. I didn't slow down. I didn't pick him up. I didn't go out of my way to help him, even though I'm pretty sure he needed it. I'm wishing now I'd been the bigger man and done what no one has done for him in ages...done something nice...given him a break.
by Ospite.
4 notations

I was back on the floor. I had turned over my section when I discovered that two new people were running the show up front, one of those was brand spanking new. I'm talking, this was her first training shift. The other was Nicolai. Then the Jackal showed up. She's been intentionally removed from the front and repositioned as the person in charge of to-going food. Tonight, some how she had ended up on the host staff. And she's the last person who should be training a new recruit.

We have one waiter who we like to call Usher due to the startling resemblence when he's out of uniform. He was stationed to-going last evening which he was pissed about. So, having turned over my section and being totally empty, I switched with him so I could keep an eye on the hosts.

Let's just say it got so chaotic that I was again switched over to host and the Jackal was transported to my previous area. She was mildly pissed that she was told I could do her job better. Ok, mildly is the understatement of the year.

We got the floor cleaned up and organized what was going on. After that, we rearranged the outflow from the kitchen. What took the two of us about 20 minutes to do, The Jackal couldn't do in 2 hours.

The rest of the night was boring. I wish that I could make the money up front that I'd make on the floor. I suppose that I'm making it better for us servers in the long run, having a host staff that can actually run a floor. Too bad I don't get tipped for The greater Good.
Sunday, October 22, 2006 by Ospite.
4 notations

I don't know what happened. Tony was out of town still so I was filling his shoes. Donna was sick, but present at the podium taking names. Kimberli was calling the floor while Nicolai was seating tables. I was filling the gaps, doing table visits, floating, seating...whatever was necessary.

4pm on was nonstop patrons. I'm not going to argue about this, it's fabulous. My issue was at 6pm when we suddenly realized that no one was going anywhere. Campers everywhere. I could practically hear BoyScout badges being awarded.

"Timmy gets the twirling-pasta-with-a-fork badge. His third this evening. Joshua will be awarded the badge for best wine pour. This is his first tonight."

It's here where we run into problems. The quote time immediately becomes obsolete. There's not really much that can be done about it because the tables are occupied.

"Hey, listen here. We were told we'd wait 45 minutes. We've been standing here for almost an hour and a half! Fix it!!"
"Sir, the wait quote is a suggestion. We can't make the tables turn over. Believe me when I say we wish we could."
"Well, this is ridiculous. You can't clean tables while people are at them?"
"Tell me this: Would you want us to start bussing your table halfway through your meal because the people behind you want to sit down?" ...silence and he walked away.

On top of the camping tables, we run into the reservation list as well. So those who have reservations have precedence over our wait list. When one of the rare customers decides to actually vacate his table, the reservations are the first to take it...even if someone's waited 90 minutes.

Donna was getting sick and tired of the turnover rate and the pissed customers. Nicolai took the helm and Donna and I grabbed a quick word near the kitchen.

"We've got to some up with a technique for servers to turn over their tables. You know, make them leave."
Now, she's a young girl. About 20ish. Graceful and stylish, with long blond hair and the physique of a ballet dancer. Occasionally I realize that she's not been around as much as some of us and doesn't always consider the positions of the server and their perspective.
"We simply can't do that. You can't rush customers. If you do, tip drops like you wouldn't believe. If you make server here, you'll see. You want the customer to have the best dining experience. After they get the menu in their hands, the debacle of the wait time seems far less significant."

It got to the point where our reservations were taking all our available tables and waitlisters were leaving due to aggrevation.

"Listen, we can't have people walk out on us!"
"Yeah, well, then do me a favor, one of two things: 1. either get our eating customers out right now and open tables, or. 2. You take the podium and deal with everyone."

To my utter amazment, the service manager took the helm and started taking names and hacking it out with the disgruntled waitlisters. It took us until almost 8pm to settle from the mayhem and rekindle our normal dinner groove.

The hidden stash of 100Grand bars and Reese's peanut butter cups were all that kept me sane. I can't wait to get back on the floor.
Thursday, October 19, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

"I think this is the only time I'll ever say this Gwen, but I'm extremely envious of the 8top of flamboyant homosexuals you're about to get."

"What?! You're married!"

"I'm giving you an 8top. All remarkably well dressed and in excedingly good moods."

"So why are you envious?"

"Because when gay guys are out for a night on the town, they are a friggin riot. I love them. And they tip with gusto."

"Ooooh. That's good to hear."

I'm filling in for our head host while he's visitng family in DC, so I take the 8 very chatty guys to Gwen's table. Hugo Boss, D&G, Armani, it's everywhere. Hair that couldn't be more perfect if it came from a salon. And the smells. I have to admit, it was the best smelling table I've ever seen. And curious thing is, that of the 4 distinct colognes I perceived, they all complimented each other and weren't overpowering in the least. Mind boggling.

Yes, I enjoy our homosexual diners. As I stated to Gwen, they tend to have a lot of fun when they're out and about and they spend money. Let me tell you that it's refreshing to see big smiles and dramatic expressions from a table throughout the meal.

Now it may seem as though I'm stereotyping here. And I am. I have yet to have a table of gay men that wasn't fabulous. Nor have I seen a party including homosexuals walk through our doors that hasn't ended in a really good tip. Or at least a solid 20%. So this is a stereotype I enjoy making and one that I think uplifts the gay community.

So as the night went on, I aided Gwen in her many trips to the table, making sure their dining experience was all it could be. After they were gone, I pulled her aside. "So? How was it?" "30%!! You were so right." "See, finally a people group that enters with a positive flare." "Ha. Flare."
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 by Ospite.
10 notations

It felt like such a long day. I opened lunch and came back on soon after for the dinner shift. There's something weird about how working a double shift in a restaurant can feel like three days worth of work. It's for this reason that I wasn't real happy when I saw table 17 get sat.

They are in there mid twenties and their tips are always atrocious. There's always something small to complain about, some reason to try and get free food. They act pleasant, but somewhere deep inside I think they're hoping to get 'hooked up' because they come off initially as sweet.

"How are you folks doing this evening?"
"We're fine. We don't want to hear the speech. You can skip it."
"Very well. What can I get for you this evening?"
"Arnold Palmers. And can we get strawberry flavor too? And bread. Right away. And balsamic vinegar. And the oil and butter too."

Let me interject that Arnold Palmers are the biggest pain in the buttocks to make. People suck them down like any other drink, and then want hundreds of refills. On top of that in our restaurant we run into another issue: Bev station placement. Where we keep the iced tea is near the bar. The lemonade near the back of the house, and the flavors in a third location near the cappuccino machine. In order to do each AP, you have to hit all three stations. No one ever tips accordingly for them either.

"That took a bit of time for a couple drinks and bread."
"My apologies, Arnold Palmers are a little complicated."
"We understand. Just make sure the refills come soon though, these won't last long."

Clearly they are the only ones inthe restaurant.

me: "So what can I get for your main course?"
wom: "Can you make me a pasta dish with mushrooms, broccoli and penne. I want both alfredo sauce and meat sauce on it."
man: "And I want lasagna with alfredo sauce on top of it."
wom: "And I hate to have to complain, but the bread is substandard tonight."
me: "I'm sorry?"
wom: "Substandard. It's always much better than this."
me: "I'll see what I can do." removing the offending bread from the table...

I retrieve fresh bread which they immediately hack into. By the time I'm ready to turn to the table next to theirs and take their order, I feel a hand grab my arm.

"Still subpar."
"Care you to give a little more detail?
"It's dry and mealy nad jst downright gross inside."
"I am quite sorry. I'll be sure to tell the manager."

Our bread is made specifically for us by our bakery. Thus it's the case of bread, and not the loaf. We can't just up and make bread...it's why we have a bakery. Sadly the entire case was bad,

"I regret to inform you we've had to rid ourselves of that particular case. Hopefully the ones being readied now will be to your satisfaction."
"Good. now, we need refills on the Arnold Palmers."
Once again, they were the only ones in the world who existed.

The new bread was just as bad.

"This bread is just as disgusting as the other three loaves we tried. I would like the manager to provide compensation. He should buy us dessert."
"I'm sorry ma'am, but the entire restaurant is in this position and all the patrons are dealing with the same bread issue. I doubt the manager would go so far as to purchase dessert for the two of you and leave the rest of the patrons hanging, and I know for sure he will not be treating everyone to dessert this evening."
"Well, we should get something because normally there's enough bread to make us happy for the whole meal."
"How were your meals themselves, the bad bread aside."
"Oh, everything else was good."
"Splendid." ...and I walked away.

Just like the last two times I waited on them, their tip was 10%. As they walked out the door, one of the other waiters said, "Ah...so you got the 10% Arnold Palmers tonight huh?" I was relieved to hear it wasn't just me
Sunday, October 15, 2006 by Ospite.
6 notations

I was stuck in the section of our restaurant that I can't stand. It's the back corner and the layout is quite bizarre. Most people don't like to sit there, and the ones that do end up setting up camp for what feels like decades.

I'd had 2tops all night long, so when I saw a small birthday party walk in the door, I wandered up to the host and claimed the party for my own. The tips for the 2tops averaged over 30% all day long, so I figured while I was turning them over like crazy, I figured I'd get a party that would camp at my big table that wasn't being used.

After 20 minutes, they made their way to my table. 3 of what would be a 5top decided to hang out and wait until the birthday girl and her mother would arrive. Bread and water for the three and I returned to my myriad of 2tops.

Some time passed and the two ladies found their way to the tiny celebration. They ordered drinks, birthday girl first to the mother last. This 70 year old woman was a tad on the nutty side. She ordered water without ice, a second glass filled with ice, and lemon on the side. She had a thick British accent and the strongest perfume I've ever smelled. When the dinner orders were placed, she opted for alfredo with penne, chicken, two basil leaves, and a small dish of ground pepper on the side.

Halfway through the meal, she stood up and walked around the table a couple times and then wandered off. Her daughter had to go find her. They returned and the little brit ate tow more bites before she had to go to the bathroom. 15 minutes passed and she had still yet to return. Now the sister-in-law was sent to find the wayward woman. She came back alone. Apparently the blue hair was nowhere to be found. Now the son was off to locate her. I was slightly frightened to learn that she had driven herself. I was glad to hear the car was still there. 20 more minutes passed.

The son returned, I presented the birthday cake and they ate briefly. I boxed up all the leftovers, as well as the basil leaves and pepper...just in case they old lady was found. After this bizarre saga, I realized they forgot to tip.

I turned to the 2top behind them.

"What was that debacle?"
"I'm not sure, but I kind of feel bad that they couldn't find their mother."
"How was their tip?" (Which is funny, because customers rarely ask this)
"They forgot to tip entirely. Drama drama drama."

When that 2top left, I found a 100% tip on their table and a small note that said, "Thanks for the entertainment...I hope she's found."
Thursday, October 12, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

Thursday lunches are random. We never know if we're going to get slammed or if we're facing the cold stiff breeze of an empty dining room. Today was one of those pathetic days where we have entirely too many people on the floor so the table spread is too broad. Therefore we look busy but we make no money.

My third table was sat with three placesettings but only two gentlemen. Another incomplete. Lovely. They walked in laughing, these early 60s guys. At least I knew I could be a little relaxed. And it turned out, also remarkably sarcastic...

"How're you guys doing today."
"Good good. But, where's the Irish music?"
"Well, until we change this place into and Irish pub, I think you're stuck with Italian."
"Alright. Just makes sure you call me when that happens."
"Sure thing."
"I do have a couple menu questions."
"Hit me."
"Corned beef and cabbage?"
"Nope, but the closest thing is going to be the salmon."
"So colcannon's out then too huh?"
"'fraid so. I would also like to note we lack bangers, yorkshire pudding, and chips.'
"That's a shame. Maybe we should go somewhere else."
"How about I get you bread and you figure out which country you want to dine in."

I retrieved bread and oil and they decided to wait to order when their 3rd arrived. They hung out for about 15 minutes when their friend walked by...from the back of the restaurant. He had been sitting in someone else's section for almost 30 minutes. Since that waiter had him before I had the two of them, they joined the first guy's table. I was bussing what small amount of things were on their table when the sarcastic man returned.

"Hey, can I take the rest of that bread so we've got extra?"

Rather than retrieve the bread plate, he grabbed the whole uncut loaf with his bare hand. Shaking it at me he said, "Don't you worry. We're gonna tip this guy big so you get some." He then traversed the trattoria, tearing the bread with his hands and stuffing it in his mouth.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006 by Ospite.
3 notations

We have a particular waiter we have yet to entirely figure out, Richard. He's middle age, married, with a couple kids but he leans quite far towards the effeminate side of the scale. He talks incessantly about his family and music like the Partridge family. He enjoys standing quite close to our late teen dishwasher guys talking. He's remarkably creepy. Also, things such as cash and keys tend to disappear when he's around. But all of this is heresay of course.

His sales rate is higher than almost anyone else in the restaurant, so as long as there's no proof and his customers are reasonably happy, the management does nothing, he makes them money. This waiter tends to be the punch line in many intertrattoria jokes. The "porn 'stache" doesn't help. One of our bartenders is trying to persuade every male in the restaurant to dress up as him for Halloween.

Yesterday, one the regulars from a nearby hardware store popped in for his usual pasta bolognese. I took his order, rang it in, settled the bill and went to retrieve his food. I came back and he said,

"Hey, what's up with the flamer?"
"The flaming waiter. You know, serious 70s porn look. Comes over and starts hitting on me."
"Oh, you mean Richard. He's 'not gay.'"
"Ha. Right, what the hell ever."
"Seriously, he's got a wife and kids."
"No way."
"Yup, we've seen them."
"There is a serious cover-up going on in his family."
"Fortunately, it's not my job to make judgments on his life. I don't ask questions."
"Probably wise just to stay out of it. Thanks for lunch. I'll catch you later."
"No worries. Later."
Sunday, October 08, 2006 by Ospite.
4 notations

I received an email today from a friend of mine in Umbria, Italy. I suppose that last post about being "just a waiter" was a tad misleading. So I decided to give you a little more detail about what I do.

I've spent ample time wandering the US, Canada, Mexico, and Italy. For the US, I was camping, sight-seeing, and checking out what we've got going on in this country in 44 states. And for those of you who complain about it...get to know more than your state, then whine to me. Canada and Mexico have been traversed for much the same reason...to get out and around. To see what there is to see. As for Italy, well, I was singing opera there.

I settled into the restaurant business because it gives me the schedule I adore. I don't have to be in till 10am and I'll wander out no later than midnight. I get all the practice and rehearsal time I need. After all that, combine it with money that pays the rest of the bills, and you've got yourself my ideal non-musical occupation.

I've spent a bit of time getting into writing and producing between here and Vegas for several other artists. I do very little performing of my own music (which is anything from jazz to jam-band or acoustic rock). So when that particualr commentor mentioned that I was looking for my personal fame at my tables, it couldn't be farther from the truth. Believe me, I get my stage time.

I have to admit, this anonymity thing is greatly enjoyable. I can kick back, say whatever's on my mind, tell you all the dirt behind my "day job" and get stuff off my chest. In the meantime, we all hopefully have a little fun doing it. I'm not waiter because I don't have any other options. I do it because I enjoy it. I write these memoirs because I enjoy it.

...and I sit with a Beck's Oktoberfest in my hand at my favorite pub which happens to have wireless internet. Life is good.
Thursday, October 05, 2006 by Ospite.
1 notations

Our host staff is dropping like flies. I sadly had very little hand in our last hiring spree, save for one, and it's starting to show. Not that I'm talking myself up, but we recently hired 4 new hosts, only two of which are staying around...one of whom was my recommendation.

Maddy started training with Donna almost three weeks ago. They were hired by one of our managers while we were in a desperate stretch. Donna received a good interview and I had the chance to chat with her briefly. I liked her immediately. Style, grace, poise. She would do well with patrons. Maddy, on the other hand, was hired last minute and was supposed to meet Donna and I for their first training session. I found this out 30 minutes before their arrival. Well, 30 minutes before Donna's arrival. Maddy called and said she'd be a couple minutes late. We waited 15 minutes for her and then started. She showed up 35 minutes into our little session. 50 minutes late for your first day on the job should have been a clue.

She showed up for only one shift. The others she called in and didn't show. She got pulled from the schedule and never requested to be put back on. Two days later she quit.

The other one was a blast of a girl. Young, but vivacious. She had spent a year in Sardinia. On her first day of training, I liked her immediately but she seemed a little too immature. For her, the job just wasn't enough. She became startlingly apathetic after only a couple weeks. The bubbly attitude faded to a blasé mentality that kept her trudging around the floor and only becoming interested when cute guys walked in. She's down to one night a week. "That's what I get for hiring children." said our general manager speaking in hyperbole.

So once again, we start the hiring wave of hosts...hopefully ones that will actually want the job they're applying for.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006 by Ospite.
0 notations

"When I'm old I'm going to be mean and sarcastic and scare small children."


"I am. I'll have paid my debt to society. I will act however I choose."

"What brought this up?"

"Table 70. This guy's been bustin my chops all night long, and his wife's doing the same. I asked them if they wanted either fresh ground pepper or perhaps freshly grated parmesan and he said, 'Now you listen to me kid. I want to grate my own damn cheese and put all the pepper on I want. I see you waiters strutting around all cocky, grating cheese like you're a big somebody. Well I want to be special. It's my turn to be cocky. So you bring me the cheese and just leave it right here. I'll watch over it.'"

"I have to visit this table."

"Do it. That's going to be me someday. I'll tell my grandkids all about the tragedies of war. They'll be fascinated..until they lay their cute little heads down at night to sleep, then my stories will sail through their heads: 'So when Fernandez stepped on that mine his torso was blown sky-high. Course his legs were clear gone and we had to drag his bloody, gut-leaking stump to the HMV or we'd be capped too."

"Do whatever you want with your grandchildren but don't tell that story nears guests."

"I don't know...this guy may want to hear it."

I walked back into the kitchen thinking to myself that I'm going to miss that guy when he goes back into active duty next week. I'm just glad he's safe in a bunker being the guy doing the interrogating. Oh the stories he'll have next time I see him...
Sunday, October 01, 2006 by Ospite.
6 notations

I normally toss a couple posts a week your way, but this week I ran into issues. Internet was down, which was the first problem. Second was that this week was remarkably boring.

There were no customers that stood out. There were no huge issues with employees, just the same old run of the mill stuff that goes on. It's October and the rent is due, that's about it.

My old college had homecoming this weekend and my wife decided to run their annual 5k (she too is an alum there) so I figured I'd go and be supportive. I skipped homecoming weekend last year and the year before. I usually prefer to not "catch up" and play the congenial game. The people I want to keep up with, I do, the rest...well, we don't talk because I don't care.

Of course, I can't say that to their faces as we talk about "how great life is" and "what everyone's doing these days" or "did you hear so and so had their third kid?!"

The most interesting part is that this was the first homecoming I'd been to since I started waiting tables. Granted I'm in the middle of a crapload of other things and waiting tables is my steady-money "day job," but when people say "What're you doing with yourself these days?" and I reply with "Well, I wait tables at The Trattoria" it feels overshadowed by their "Ah. Yeah. I'm working on my PhD now." I hate the bragging game so I try and talk up my wife's degree's and accomplishments. But I love my life and the insane hours I keep working on 900 things at a time. I love the schedule I get to work at the restaurant. I love everthing I've got my hands in now and I've got nothing to prove. So for all you people who go back to homecoming to brag about what you do now, how far you've come, and where you're going with your brilliance, please spare us the gory details that make us suicidal. If we wanted to know, we'd look you up.

At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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