For four hours sleep I don’t feel the least bit tired; in fact, I’m in awe of the bright purple sequenced saris the women flaunt so beautifully as they chant and jump at the meditative sounds blasting out the loud speakers from the psychedelic floats during the Hare Krishna Parade. For a second, I’m in India sipping on a Mango Lassi topped off with cardamom spice, navigating my way through the bustling crowds — trying to avoid running into the entitled cows that parade through the streets and the horns that siren for no apparent reason — and not standing here in my itchy uniform at work. Pink glitter dusts onto my white shirt off the iridescent floats and I keep it as decoration.
Waiting tables isn’t so bad… See? I mean, who can say they get to watch a parade while working? I’m even stopped by a Christian radical who stands picketing against the parade. He hands me a business card that reads “Get out of hell free” card. I flip it over and read Bible quotes on the back before I see Jay, my impatient manager staring over at me. He’s tapping his foot; this means I’m in trouble. He shakes his head and glares. His eyes say, “Get back inside or else…”
OK. No more India reminiscing. It’s back to requests for more Diet Coke.
“I’m so sorry,” Andres immediately apologizes. His panicked eyes widen and stare at my coffee stained shirt. The coffee-filled cups have fallen over on the tray he holds and now decorate the plain white shirt I wear. The spill looks like a tie-dye extravaganza, and it burns.
“I didn’t see you standing there,” he apologizes. Sweat pours from his crinkled forehead as he wipes remaining drops with the cuff of his shirt before flipping the cups right side up and re-pouring hot intelligentsia coffee into them. Serves the bitter tasting coffee right, I think in my head. Having a grudge against intelligentsia for a split second for being the bitterest tasting coffee out there, I don’t even care coffee’s spilled all over the front of my shirt. But when I get a glance of myself in the mirror, I look like a salvaged shipwreck. People are staring. Guests in the restaurant start commenting.
“The computers have shut down. Hand write everything,” Jay instructs us servers on how to wait tables without using a computer, you know, seventies style. Two new waitresses start crying as the task really is… impossible. I feel tears forming when a table I just spent an hour and half serving tipped me four dollars on a hundred and seventy five dollar check for “bad service.”
Good service when the restaurant’s computer system has crashed? How?
Some days here are worse than others. It’s times like this I need to remember why I have this darn day job in the first place. As I put my day in its true perspective, I realize that:
- Hare Krishna Parades kinda’ rock.
- I’m chasing my dream out here… and that’s pretty cool too.
Alice can be reached at AliceActress@yahoo.com.