Hi, I'm your brunch waiter and I'll be taking your order this morning. How am I doing? You don't want me to honestly answer that. We're short-staffed, so I closed last night, which left me barely enough time to pound some Grand Marnier shots at 106 Main at last call, sneak in three hours of sleep, Hasselhoff a burrito off my kitchen floor, and then haul ass back here to serve eggs. I'm currently a broken jangle of corn starch, Adderall, and forgotten dreams, but all the same, I'll simply answer "I'm fine."
Our specials? Chef didn't bother with any this morning. He's in an exceptionally bad mood, you see. He went to culinary school and trained at some foofy joint in New York City. However, thanks to brunch service, he's been reduced to a short-order cook and it's got him a touch rankled. How about you go easy on me and keep the substitutions and special requests to a minimum?
Would you like more time to read ... er, peruse the menu? No? It's no problem, really. The restaurant is packed, and my co-worker Kate ... well, she walked up to me at the coffee machine and said, "Karma is a hollandaise-covered bitch." Now no one has seen her for thirty minutes, so I've got an unusually large section. I can give you more time and come back to ... No? You'd prefer me to stand here while you make up your mind?
Want to know what's really depressing me? How much money I'm not making right now. All week long, I make bags of cash for dinner service, but this shift stinks so bad I would literally pay double my tips to stay home and sleep in. This is the shift when we work three times harder for a quarter of the pay. We show up an hour earlier than usual so we can stock things like ketchup or jams or one hundred extra coffee mugs, then stay an hour later to put them away again. On this shift, I walk my feet down to the ankles fetching refills.
Oh, you have a hangover? Poor thing. There's four of you, but you need the bill split five ways? No problem. You've got dietary restrictions and need an extra ninety seconds to explain them to me? I'm all ears. You're angry that we don't serve vegan bacon? I'm angry that you have yet to chase a Pokémon into the street.
It's too bad we can't unionize. Can you imagine? While I'm standing here slack-jawed, waiting for you to order, I've come up with quite the platform should we ever organize.
1. It should be illegal to work brunch after a Saturday night closing shift.
2. All brunch guests are restricted to a single list of egg-style choices. No more "dry scramble hard" or "over easy medium with a slightly runny yolk."
3. Stop arriving twenty minutes before service ends. There is no greater false hope than making it to the last five minutes, only to have a one-top walk in and hold you hostage for an additional hour.
And no, you don't want me to look up from my notepad. I want you to see neither the hate nor the desperation in my eyes. If looks could kill, Your Brunch Waiter would be American Sniper. But looks can't kill, so instead I'm dosing you all with decaf.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Your Brunch Waiter Hates You"