In some forgotten era of my life, in some remote part of the world, some backwoods diner once let me waitress. I could paint a rather colorful verbal portrait of my time there, but suffice to say, that was the one and only job I was ever fired from. I learned very few applicable life lessons while I waited tables (although, "don't stick you finger in the pie before you serve it" is always useful), but one thing made itself crystal clear; I never wanted to be a short-order cook. And yet, lately I'm finding myself in that very same occupation. Only, I'm not getting paid, and there's no free pie....I wish there were free pie.
"Good Morning and welcome to the kitchen. What can I get for you, today?"
Most mornings begin with polling the patrons and attempting to get a unanimous vote. Unfortunately, my customers don't speak English very well, and end up yelling expletives like, "Maaa...Ma" or blowing rasberries so forcefully, I usually back against the oven.
...They're quite rude.
Looking to appease them, I top-off a couple of apple juices and hand them over. To which, they respond by gulping them down and throwing the empty containers at my kneecaps, signifying their readiness to order.
"Well, what'll it be today? Cheerios, yogurt? We've got a lovely selection of fresh fruit just made it in last night. (I hope they know I don't have all day..)"
Chubby fingers point at me and say, "Listen, diner maid, we didn't wander down here for something cold, get over to that stove and bring us something hot. Move it....and don't take all day...and bring more juice...and a board book. I'd like to catch-up on my reading."
Polite employee that I am, I seat my guests and make sure they're comfortable, before scooting back to the stove.
"Eggs?", I call.
"Maaa...ba ba ba ba." (No, woman. What do think we are? Farm hands?)
"Me guppa..guppa." (She thinks we're from an orphanage...well, I never. Do I look like Oliver Twist?)
"Pancakes with a little jelly?"
"Dubba." (Yes..that will be all...you sure you got that whole order?...who is this woman?)
I shuffle to the stove and begin whipping up a culinary delight, all the time overhearing the underhanded comments from the other room.
"Opop, ba na na." (If her cooking's as bad as her serving suggestions, this food may not be edible, Butch.)
"Ra nu ba ba." (I agree, Sundance. This isn't some backwoods cafe. Honestly, that big man who lives here should be more careful about who he hires.)
"Hahahaha...be be be." (Hahahaha...Quite so.)
When I bring in the orders, I try to avoid eye contact and pretend I didn't hear anything. "Your pancakes." I set them down and back away slowly. Six out of seven days a week, if someone isn't happy with the food, it usually ends up flying at my face or on the floor. On particularly bad days, I've found eggs being crushed into the dogs ears, when he gets too close. They don't seem to understand he's only the bus boy.
After the meal's ended, this lonely, short-order cook (with the help of the bus boy) cleans the little tables and prepares for the lunch rush. Which reminds me, it's already eleven, and they'll be here any minute. I'm not sure how long I'll be employed in this fashion. Something tells me it could be a while before I make it out of this greasy spoon...
Until Next Time, Readers!