Written by Jason Salas with apologies to Bob Dylan, Scenes from a restaurant illustrated by J. Lopez (click on thumbnails for expanded view of illustration) ~ Originally published in “One Lump or Two” Issue 8 back in March 2004
Clocked me in at five ‘till four, tied on my apron and hit the floor.
Asked the hostess where I was, the girl ignored me just because.
I thought that was rude,
Couldn’t tell her though,
Customers were coming in.
I figured out which section was mine, the chart up front said section nine.
I wasn’t s’posed to close the place, I felt the blood rush to my face,
Why’s this always gotta happen to me?
Who was s’posed to close?
Bet you they called in sick!
How come no one understands and schedules me when I got plans?
Why don’t they just assume the worst and schedule extra servers first?
Everyday someone doesn’t show up.
Everyday someone’s gotta cover for someone.
“Anybody want to close?” I asked, but everybody seemed to pass.
It happens every time no doubt, nobody wants to help me out.
I say, “You owe me one.”
They say, “Any other time but tonight.”
I say, “I’d owe you big time!”
They say, “Sorry, dude.”
Only one way a night like this could be leadin’, and before I knew it I was weedin’.
Filled up my tables then 1, 2, 3 more. I don’t know what she triple sat me for.
Why’d you seat them in my section?
I don’t know if I can get to them.
Will you at least greet them.
Agh! I’ll just do it myself!
Every order I was takin’, people makin’ complicatin’.
Extra this and none of that, “Does this have carbs?”, “Is this low-fat?”
Please don’t get too specific.
The cooks will hate me.
I’m not even sure they liked me to begin with.
It’s dying down, or so I thought until I looked out into the parking lot.
Just cut two servers from off the floor when a bunch of folks walked in the door.
Five sets of parents,
Two high school basketball teams,
Biggest big top I ever seen, tried to get some tables clean.
There’s no way to accomadate ‘em, hungry people that think we hate ‘em.
We don’t hate you.
We’re glad you’re here.
We just don’t like no-call/no-shows.
I don’t know how, but I served ‘em all, in record time as I recall.
Cooks whipped up them meals quick, with hungry folks it does the trick.
They gave me a good tip.
I was afraid I’d get stiffed.
Not that I’m complaining.
I’m just saying it happens sometimes, that’s all.
End of the night I’m counting my money, looking back it all seems funny.
Thinkin’, “Gotta wash this shirt”, when without warning, my manager asks me to work in the morning.
Remember that guy who didn’t show up today?
He ain’t showin’ up tomorrow.
Or the day after that, if you catch my drift.
“All of your customers can be half right all of the time
Half of your customers can be all right half of the time
But it ain’t all right to try to serve all your customers in half the time.’
I think Abe Lincoln said that.
“You can seat this one in my section if I can seat the next one in yours.” I said that.