It's been a strange week, and while the reality of the little bean sprouting inside of me continues to sink in, the world continues on in its own weird way without thought or hesitation.
Tuesday I arrived at work and was told just as the rest of the staff was to wait upstairs in the lounge. The big kahuna and management were meeting downstairs in the dining room and I was simply told: It's not good. First thought was, "great, who fucked up and got themselves fired now," second thought was, "oh shit, are they closing the restaurant?" Come to find out, our chef would no longer be working for the company and - long story short - it was her own doing.
What makes this entire thing very weird for me is the fact that I have had a fearful respect of this chef since day one. She makes me afraid to mis-ring anything. She makes me afraid to forget where seat one is. She makes me afraid to forget what the 12th out of 15 ingredients is in our top-selling appetizer. But all of those things I fear are exactly what make me able to do my job.
I'm not a server by nature, you see. I'm not great with the small talk, it's likely that I won't remember a customer's face if I ever cross paths with them outside of work, and truthfully, I just don't care when a couple is going to their umpteenth show at the theater for the month, let alone what that show is. All I can do is tell you what's in what, what you should try, and how you need to order your steak. When it comes to serving I only care about doing two things: earning a decent tip by making sure you get the food you want and making sure that the food I bring you isn't absolute crap. So when I find out that the creator of our menu and person responsible for keeping a kitchen full of rowdy misfits in line is gone, I immediately question my ability to continue to perform those two tasks.
When asked to step up to the task of helping run the kitchen, at least for now, the sous chef seemed reluctant. For the sake of my own confidence in the restaurant and the kitchen, I practically begged her to consider that she could be capable, even if she doesn't feel it right now. I pretty much told her that while it was for selfish reasons only that I wanted her there, I summed up the reasons why I'm not a server, but working in this particular restaurant reassures me that when I completely drop the ball, the people will at least still be thrilled with what they're eating and I might not lose my entire tip. Bringing the focus back to her, I simply said, "you rock, and we need you."
The restaurant continues on for now and I'll continue serving there until either I accumulate too many hours with school and my - eventual - job at the gym, or my belly gets too big and it starts knocking drinks on my customers.