Preaching Not Practicing

Remember my pious words about “Just Work?” How you have to buckle down and resist opportunities to take the day off? To keep grinding it out and letting the money pile up towards the end of the month? About being patient and biding your time until the great equalizer (Uncle Ben) steps up to the Hostess Stand to erase three weeks of sub-par money?

Yeah, that’s right. I took the day off lunch today. I got a call just after my alarm rang from the manager offering to cut me, as the reservations looked weak. After a grueling and tortuous 3 seconds of internal debate, I took her up on the offer. Hey, I’ve got things to do!

So far today I started a load of laundry, read the entire L.A. Times, ate some leftover chicken, squared away some squirrelly business regarding an ill-advised ‘investment’ property in Michigan I’m unloading, had three chews of Red Man, and of course checked my email and read a bunch of blogs (most notably the super-entertaining Bill Simmons Sports Guy on ESPN.com).

Actually, not bad, considering it’s only 1:20 p.m. Normally by now I’d be just getting a jump on my closing sidework, hoping to get out sometime before 3 p.m. for the 40 minute drive home. Of course, I might already have $100 in my pocket . . .

As a post-script to yesterday’s post, the dinner shift at Carney’s was a real good one. Walked with $183. It was pretty busy and tips were good. They were especially good for Ciera. In particular, she waited on Margie, whose husband, Bart, passed away a few months ago. Bart was a local restaurant icon as some kind of regional kingpin for a food distribution service. Everybody knew him, he showed up everywhere, and it was truly an event when he died. Margie has been in mourning, dining at Carney’s quite a bit with consoling friends.

Last night she was with a couple of grizzled waitresses who were probably the real-life models for Amber and Ginger from the Simpsons, the two skanks that Homer and Flanders married during a trip to Vegas. The fun part came towards the end. Margie and the Fun Girls were joined by Harry The Hero. Harry’s a certain strain of archetypal bar guy: always solo, has some money, on the prowl, and with a hugely inflated view of his appeal to women (and who gave himself the nickname, if you hadn’t guessed). Ciera related a story wherein a few months ago Harry was really drunk, bragging about his money. He was standing in the hallway with a wad of cash in his hand and used it as opportunity to flirt with Ciera.

‘What do you think?’ he said, brandishing the wad. ‘Do you need some of this?’

‘Considering what you’ve put me through tonight, I need a hundred dollars,’ she said.

‘Okay,’ he said, and fanned out some money. She plucked a C-note, and said thank you, then walked away. Harry called her bluff and continued to the restroom.

When he got out he asked her incredulously if she was going to give it back?

‘No. You offered it to me and I accepted.’

Ciera told me he couldn’t get over it, and still brought it up to her every time he came in.

So last night Harry offers to pay the tab for Margie and the Girls. Ciera runs two copies of his charge voucher, which was $114. On one she filled in a $100 tip, while keeping the real one handy just to show she wasn’t serious.

‘Harry,’ Ciera said, returning to the table, handing him the check presenter, ‘I included the tip to save you the trouble. Thank you so much!’

Harry hit the roof. Ciera and the three women broke up laughing as Ciera produced the real charge voucher.

Eventually, the Girls shamed Harry into a big tip anyway, and also pitched in $60 of their own. Total tip on $114: $85.

Also of note Margie and the Salty Girls were getting a little loose and the subject of female companionship came up. Ciera and I have suspected Margie as being a closet lesbian ever since Bart died – she’s just been giving off some signs. Other servers think we’re crazy. But last night Margie told a story about how for Bart’s birthday one year she arranged a three-way for them with their female masseuse. Margie said she really liked it; the masseuse ‘took care’ of both of them.

Just more of the fun working in the restaurant biz.

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