I worked at the restaurant Saturday night and Sunday morning. That’s a pretty rough 24 hours, but it was relatively uneventful, save one incident of someone getting in my face about a cake plating fee.* That incident was super helpful in reminding me why I do not want to go back to managing restaurants, even though my receptionist gig is less than ideal. The real events of my weekend all took place on public transportation.
I left work Saturday night completely exhausted. All I wanted was my bed and sweatpants, but I was determined not to waste money on a cab. As I sat down on the subway, I noticed a peaty, earthy smell with a slight after-scent of skunk. I assumed the girl next to me had just stepped out of a hot-boxed Civic, but one side-eye of inspection negated that theory. After a little more recon, I saw four teenagers at the end of my car smoking a blunt. My annoyance made me feel old; my contact high made me feel sleepy. Damn kids.
The next morning, I charged down the stairs of the 103rd station, ready to face the day. The first sight that greets me is a homeless guy defecating right on the platform. I felt like Fashion Week came early.
But yesterday afternoon, I was finally heading home, finished with my restaurant management moonlighting, enjoying my book. The doors opened at 72nd and, sensing a ripple of disturbance in the air, I looked up to behold a minstrel straight out of a Renaissance Fair. Clad in all purple velvet and carrying a tin flagon on his belt, this guy sang a full song about a man named Boggin, complete with artificial vibrato and over pronounced r’s.
He was so annoying that I started cracking up right in the middle of the car. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or solicit any sort of ye olde standup from Boggin, so I tried to hide my face in my book. I didn’t think anything could surpass the indignity of a stranger publically evacuating his bowels, but New York is full of surprises.
* Incidentally, a cake plating fee is what a restaurant charges when a group wants to bring in outside food and have it cut and served. It is the dessert equivalent of a corkage fee. The reason restaurants have these fees is because restaurants are not public parks. In a restaurant, sitting at a table and eating outside food is loitering, even if you’ve already paid to eat other food provided by the restaurant. Said fee can often be avoided with careful planning and a discussion with the restaurant’s managers beforehand. Acting like a dick over a cake plating fee won’t usually result in anything but ruining your friend’s birthday.
Also, telling me that you are a lawyer does not persuade me to reconsider my restaurant’s policy. It does let me know that you are not very good at your job if your negotiation strategy begins with bullying and ends with hollow threats.