Today was day two at my new job-- more training. Since I had to be there earlier than normal in order to train (9 a.m.-- the regular start time for a lunch shift is 10:30), I rode in with Kim. It was a nice treat-- we've never had a chance to go in to work together.
We dropped my stepdaughter off at day camp, and as Kim drove her Jetta down Lake Shore Drive toward downtown, we talked. We passed Belmont, and I looked over west into Lincoln Park. I saw what I thought was a dog-- by the color and big ears and paws, I thought it was a Weimeraner (as did Kim, I found out later). I was curious-- there was no owner in sight. Why was this dog sitting there, alone in the middle of a field, scratching behind his ears? As we got closer, I got a better look at it and realized that it wasn't a dog-- it was a coyote!
I said to Kim, "Hey, that's a coyote!" She looked over at it and replied "Oh my god, it is! Do you have your camera?!"
To my regret, I didn't-- since I don't have a place to keep it safely at work, I didn't bring it with me. (the picture on this post is not one I took).
I did call the police, who connected me to Animal Control. The coyote had already been reported. I laughed at how this stealthy creature sat there like some big dumb porch dog, scratching his ear in one of the most visible places in Chicago; an open field just west of the busiest non-expressway road in Chicago. Thousands of people must have seen him.
I've been reading about people spotting coyotes in and around Chicago. I finally saw one with my own eyes.
Work was good today. I got thanks from the manager and owner for taking tables yesterday with basically zero training. I've been a waiter on and off for 27 years; 75% of the job is identical wherever you work.
I trained during a fast and furious lunch shift. I was impressed to see Billy the owner (not to be confused with Billy the waiter I'd trained with yesterday) in there seating people, schmoozing, tending bar here and there when the bartender got slammed, checking on servers to see how things were. He clearly loves the business, and is a nice guy.
The big hurdle today was working the documenter-- the system that you ring up the check in. It automatically sends a ticket to the kitchen on what to cook. It's great having a system like it-- it allows you to do things like split checks and time meals much better than the manual system we use at Jury's (i.e. handwritten checks and telling the cooks special instructions). However, the program that runs it is Byzantine and not very user-friendly. It'll take a little getting used to. The stuff I have to plod through today and maybe tomorrow will be effortless by Friday.
Tomorrow pretty much all I'll do is watch food come out of the kitchen while the line chef/expediter tells me what it is. I'd say I can identify about 50% of the menu already. On Friday, I'll take tables, and I'll be on the schedule next week.
On the train ride home, I was able to finish reading my New York Times-- a rare treat. One of the things I most look forward to is that I can get there on the El instead of driving. It builds a couple of hours of reading time into my day.
I had one concern, though. I was reading an article in the New York Times on scientists doing a CT scan on a mummy named Demetrios. Looking at the portrait of Demetrios that archeologists had found buried with him, I wondered....
...has anyone seen actor John Turturro lately? Should we be worried about him?