On the dawn of my 33rd year on this planet (Saturday, August 6th, otherwise known as my birthday), I worked… a lot. Pre-work, I made myself a cappuccino and got accidentally sucked into the Facebook void, where wonderful people from all over the globe were already leaving me heartfelt birthday wishes.
One of them originated in the Fort Collins area, from my friend Marguerite whose lovely face I haven’t seen in entirely too long. Marguerite wrote, “Happiest birthday to the one who keeps me peddling by virtue of your inspiration! Keep the strength. Keep the stories.”
Where better to find stories than in server land? So in the spirit of adventures, stories and the inspiration to perpetuate both (here’s to you, Marguerite!), I offer up a restaurant-related blog I’ve marinated on for some time (like a turkey in cider brine, primed for the smoker). Each word or phrase strikes a non-server (the first line) differently than a server (the second line).
For example, you say “weeds” and you mean those prickly things you yanked out of your garden yesterday. I (the server) mean where I was earlier today when more tables arrived in my section than I can count on one hand and suddenly I became swallowed by tasks and wanted to die. And also had to pee. And was very, very thirsty.
Sans further ado, 20 words/phrases that just aren’t the same to a server:
- Camping: An outdoor recreational activity involving a tent, some firewood and lots of alcohol.
- Camping: When the table in question refuses to leave long after the food is finished, the bill is paid and the water glasses are empty. See: oblivious.
- Children: Small humans.
- Children: Tripping hazards.
- 86: The number after 85.
- 86: The food or drink is utterly gone until the order comes in/Jesus comes back. The food/drink in question is always the one needed very badly.
- Slammed: Hit very, very hard, as in “He slammed his hand on the self-destruct button before the aliens took over the world.”
- Slammed: When so many people descend upon a restaurant at once it feels as if self-destruction is imminent.
- Top: The opposite of the bottom.
- Top: In server lingo, the word for a customer, as in “Brandon, will you shut up about the host only giving you one-tops?”
- No: The opposite of yes.
- No: The one word no one seems to understand.
- Why bother?: A question of whether or not something is worth the effort.
- Why bother?: A decaf, sugar free coffee.
- On the fly: Something small enough to ride on a particularly annoying insect.
- On the fly: Sh*t went down, the customer needs it, maybe I dropped it but I’m never going to admit it and I need it f*cking NOW!
- Blue hairs: Hairs that are blue.
- Blue hairs: Very elderly humans. See: Sea of Blue Hairs.
- The coffin: Where dead humans go before heading six feet under.
- The coffin: A large, glorified wooden box on wheels where all the condiments on the patio live and possibly go to die.
- Homemade: Made at home, from scratch, over lots of time.
- Homemade: What any food a customer asks about is. Is that biscuit homemade? Nope, but if I tell you it is, will you buy it?
- Check the ice: Go look and see if there’s any ice.
- Check the ice: Hurry up and look outside, there is a very hot chick/dude by the coffin!
- Texas ketchup: Ketchup from Texas.
- Texas ketchup: Ranch dressing.
- Roll silverware: To take cutlery and attempt to propel it downhill.
- Roll silverware: Unfold napkin. Set knife on napkin and fork on knife. Roll. Repeat. Check to see if you/your fellow server is breathing and hasn’t died of boredom.
- Cash out: When the cash in your wallet/purse is mysteriously gone.
- Cash out: When a table finally pays for their meal, hopefully in a timely fashion, hopefully without camping, hopefully leaving a sufficient tip; as in, “Did you cash out that 10-top?”
- 15 percent: Half of thirty percent.
- 15 percent: No longer (never?) an adequate tip in the 21st Century. Seriously.
- Verbal gratuity: Saying the word “gratuity” out loud.
- Verbal gratuity: When a customer — after repeatedly telling a server how wonderful everything was — mistakes nice words for real money, which is actually what pays a server’s bills.
- Yo-yo: A child’s toy on a string.
- Yo-yo: The act of sending your server to and from the table for a straw, then a lemon, then extra napkins, then Coke, then more Coke… kind of like a yo yo.
- Whesourdoryenglishmufforabiskih: Pure gobbligook.
- Whesourdoryenglishmufforabiskih: Your server listing off all the toast options at every table to every single person at the table twice because no one is listening.
- We’re closed: We’re no longer open.
- We’re closed: PLEASE VACATE THE RESTAURANT. YESTERDAY.
That’s all folks… This blog is closed for cleaning and will re-open when its 33-year-old perpetrator has time to create another penned picnic. Ya’ll come back now!