Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Why I wait tables

It was near 11pm and I'd been swishing, swirling, schmoozing, and even serving a very sweet table of 15 for most of the night. They had my full and undivided attention as they were in the private dining room, and as the name suggests they were on their own. And by undivided attention I really mean when I was in the room, the rest of the time I was in the kitchen watching the hardcore ballet that is Saturday night service. I may joke and even say some cruel things about chefs from time to time but momma those boys work hard for their drinking tokens.

They ordered well, good food such as the salt and chilli squid and fennel salads to start and venison and fillet of beef (rare) for mains. The wine flowed all night long. Which was a bit of a pain in the fat arse for me as the wine store and the private dining room are far far away from each other. Okay not that far but when you are carrying a few extra pounds from Christmas it hurts a little more. (How many Pounds from how many Christmases?-LMM)

Their conversation was varied and good humoured as they covered everything from childhood stories to football to why moving to Canada didn't work for one of them, apparently she got homesick when she couldn't get white lemonade. Like I say they had my undivided attention, and if you hadn't realised already waiters hear everything. They laughed warm hearty laughs and went quiet and spoke in hushed tones when they remembered friends that wouldn't be making it to any more birthday parties. It was sincere and genuine.

I have served this group many times before. They like me and I like their generous spirit, I mean tips for anyone who didn't get the subtlety. They all know me by my first name and favour it over clicking fingers and "oi". I shared with them a few stories and a bit of craic, but I know when to back off. It's not all about me, mores the pity. Except on here, this is all about me. They trust my advice, on matters of eating that is, I'm sure they would disregard my advice on bringing up children and the best way to wallpaper a house. For the record I advise painting instead of wallpapering but what would I know never having painted or papered anything more than a school book in my life.

But it was near eleven and I would soon be turning into a pumpkin. The night had flown by and before long I was hovering near the table with my patented "do you want the bill" look. Hint taken, bill delivered, my time to disappear and let them sort my tip out and the rest of the money owed. As they got up to leave and after I had been handsomely rewarded they turned round and gave me a round of applause. I blushed in a way I hadn't done since watching TV with my dad as a child and a sanitary towel advert came on.

The woman who was celebrating her birthday approached me saying thanks and gave me a hugis. A hugis is what I do when I'm not sure if I'm meant to kiss them on the cheek or hug them. So i just do a bit of both, it's as clumsy as it sounds. But as she pulled back she said,

"Thanks Manuel for everything tonight. You were great, the food was okay, but we always come back here for you."

Sometimes I forget why I wait tables and then I remember......

...it's all about the generous spirit.

Okay it's about the hugis too.

***************
6th of February 1958

"United's flag is deepest red; It shrouded all our Munich dead; Before their limbs grew stiff and cold; Their heart's blood dyed it's ev'ry fold; Then raise United's banner high; Beneath it's shade we'll live and die; So keep the faith and never fear; We'll keep the Red Flag flying here;

Then raise United's banner high; Beneath it's shade we'll live and die; So keep the faith and never fear; We'll keep the Red Flag flying here;

"We'll never die, we'll never die We'll never die, we'll never die We'll keep the Red flag flying high; 'Cause Man United will never die"

It's hard not to shed a tear for The Flowers of Manchester........

29 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

ellie said...

Emotional farewells.....

I hate them.

I'm gonna cry now.

Nice to feel the love for a job well done though!

bendersbetterbrother said...

People so seldom go out of their way to genuinely thank someone for good service these days that when it does happen it tends to be quite emotive. It's like they're thanking you on behalf of hundreds.

Saw the tale end of the Harry Gregg prog last night. Now there's an ambassador.

bendersbetterbrother said...

*tail end.

Manuel said...

Ellie: It happens from time to time....but stories about rude and sweary punters make for better copy.....

BBB: as above...

Harry Greg what a man.....there is some pain behind those eyes. What a person...

Enda P said...

Sweet sweet sweet.

This is why your blog is essential reading.

Well done (no pun etc etc).

Manuel said...

enda: hugis?

Medbh said...

Oh sweet jeebus, I hate fucking wallpaper. I would never, ever buy another house where it was present.

But what a wonderful man you are, Manuel, to inspire such devotion.

It must feel so warm to have such fans.

MJ said...

I didn't have you pegged as a swisher.

Do you mince as well?

Old Knudsen said...

A barman accidentally gave a toddler cleaning chemicals with her OJ

A chef shagged yon dead gurl in the street.

And Hitler's brother was still a waiter.

The food and drink industry disgusts me.

Old Knudsen said...

oh speaking of disgust I linked to you from my news blog now that you found it.

toast said...

off down to OT tonight - not a fan, and not a professional griever, but feel i should go down anyway. The whole thing is now sponsored by AIG now which is nice.

Oh, manuel, those posts below? are they cross posts from your other blog? are you on the cooking sherry tonight?

fatmammycat said...

That's sounds like a fine evening Manuel, a fine evening indeed.

dave said...

Was gonna mention how the scum at Manchester United were trying to charge £5000 for camera coverage at the Munich tribute.

But I won't.

sheepworrier said...

Ya big jessy! Im guessin a hugis comes from the same awkwardness that produces a shug - shake hands or hug.

Flirty Something said...

So sweet, my mum almost kissed a waiter once, a bit too much wine!

Conan Drumm said...

It used be known as a kug in the Drummspot, but hugis better captures the tentative nature of the embrace between the served and the server. So do they only book a night when you're on duty, and ask for your unique ministrations?

Sweetchuck said...

Manuel,

Munich ....... enough said.

Hugis? Is this similar to a shart?

savannah said...

*xx's&oo's*

Medbh said...

Hey, your badges came in the post yesterday.
Sweet.
Thanks, Manuel.

MJ said...

I suggest you sell slices of your sweet sugarloaf.

Conan Drumm said...

Don't know if you saw this... "A Dublin restaurant has been ordered to pay a migrant worker €116,000 compensation for gross breaches in employment law."

INNER VOICES said...

nice one... i bet they werent american.

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

That's a good night at work. Happy days, eh? Never know when one's going to happen. Well done, mate.

Anonymous Boxer said...

bloggy tears in my eyes, M.

for many reasons.

Manuel said...

Medbh: It feels warm to have cash in your pocket too....

MJ: for 20% I'll do anything..but then again you know that...

Old k: Given the chance I'd shit on your bed too.......I'm gonna ink all your stuff one day.....one day soon....

Toast: It's good to go to OT......goosebumps n that....Nah cut cut cut time......

FMC: It was....mainly for them....but me too

Dave: I'm no fan of the suits at OT either....

Sheepo: big jessie with tax free folding stuff at that...

Flirty: almost? you sure she's you mum?

Conan: they lucked into me that night...I had to move sections so I could serve them....

Sweetchuck: ah follow through....yes yes it is....

Savannah: right back at ya

Medbh: wear em with pride...

MJ: no need......plus that's for LMM alone.....

Conan: I'm search for it now....the bastards

Voices: no but the table of 20 on Sunday night were.....and they were fucking magic too......tipped on top of their service charge....which is always good....

Sam: I'm secure in the knowledge that there will be the yang to that ying coming along soon enough....

Boxer: stop it.....you'll set me off

Mudflapgypsy said...

Is there no beginning to your talents? ;-)

nursemyra said...

what a fantastic post!

INNER VOICES said...

so then you are saying that there is hope for us then?

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