Sunday, August 05, 2007
The First Day
I started training at my new job as a server at the G. today.
Last night, Kim's best friend, who is the sommelier (wine expert) at The G., and got me the interview there, came by to drink Bombay and tonics and hang out with us. The television news was on the background, and we stopped to watch popular Chicago critic Phil Vittel's review of The G.. It was a rave review, and I had a feeling what to expect today.
I got up at 6 am, and made and ate breakfast. I missed making my kids breakfast. On the weekends, I like to get up and make my kids their favorite breakfast-- Adam likes smoked salmon, rice and french-cut green beans (like me, he likes dinner food for breakfast) and low-fat sausage links. Mel likes toaster waffles, low-fat sausage, fruit (usually her favorite, grapes) and a little low-fat frozen yogurt on the waffles. Since I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get downtown-- it's been years since I worked in the Loop-- I took off at 7:30 to get there by 9. Fortunately, Kim picked up the ball and made them breakfast, as well as taking them to see the Simpsons movie, and took them out to lunch. I definitely wouldn't have been able to even consider these changes without her.
It turned out that I could have stayed and made breakfast-- I got downtown by a little after 8 am. I stopped and got a cup of coffee and read my newspaper. I got to the restaurant at 9 am to find unexpected things. First, the guy who was to train me wasn't there. In fact, he never showed up-- everyone's worried about him. Fortunately, Billy, the "opener" (the server who opens the restaurant-- makes the coffee, ice tea, gets the server stations ready) was there and greeted me a big smile and a "Hi gorgeous!" I quickly ascertained that he was very gay, a super nice guy, and that he and I were going to get along well.
About ten minutes after I arrived he said something funny--
"You've probably heard this before, but has anyone ever told you that you look like Bill Clinton?"
I got a good chuckle-- I have. A lot.
Between the great review-- and the fact that Lollapalooza was taking place a block away-- we were insanely busy. Billy quickly got "weeded" (restaurant slang-- "in the weeds"-- very busy, to the point of almost being overwhelmed), and the floor manager asked me if I felt I could take a table. I did. And then another. And then more. Finally, other servers arrived, but I still kept taking tables.
I'm supposed to have three more days of training. The floor manager quickly figured out that I've got a lot of experience, and started asking me about my availability-- and if I would mind working some doubles soon.
I was nervous as shit going in there today. I always am in a new job. And it's been a long time since I did this for a living. Not only that, but I'm now working in a whole other level.
This business has been good to me. It's allowed me to do the things I've wanted to in life. It paid for me to go back to school and get a teaching certification. It allowed me to work as an underpaid teacher. It allows me to do nice things for my kids and my wife. And the fact of the matter is, I love doing it. We'll see how things go tomorrow.