Monday, 1 September 2008

But it's my first day!

I left work on Friday night with a busting sore head, a pain in my back, feet that needed rubbed and soothed preferably by experts in that sort of thing, and feeling very very old. This is not a new experience. I wouldn't mind but I had only done about 8 hours. I had been busy but still no excuse. My fragility and pains were exaggerated by the youthful and spritely chatter and plan making of my fellow waiters. Some where going to spend the next few consuming bucketfuls of alcoholic beverages and dancing, others where making plans for ridiculously-early-o'clock in the morning.


"Get it on ye"
as my father so wonderfully put it


I wanted food, 12 hours unbroken sleep and the gentle soothing loving of my sweet Little Miss Manuel. I wanted that. Instead I got a re-heated bowl of pasta, 5 hours of sweaty unhappy dancing with horses sleep and two text messages from my sweet Little Miss Manuel. I live such a glamorous life.

All this whinging and feeling old was brought on and magnified by the arrival of the new waiter. She is young. She is but a child. She is so young I had to warn the lecherous chefs that what they "wouldn't do" was in fact illegal and any furthering of such thoughts would land them in very hot and uncomfortable water.

The kid is only 16. She is so young that I had been waiting tables for four years before she was even born. She is so young that I could be the same age as her parents. I mean I could have served her and brought her ice cream and colouring pencils and told her she was a good girl for eating all her vegetables. Christ. And if you think it's bad for me imagine what's it like for her working with someone as old as me!

I was resistant, at first, when I was told that the masters had decided to hire someone so young. But then when I cast my aging mind back I realised I was only sixteen when I started in the biz. So huzzah for her. It must have been daunting for her, I mean first day of her working life and all that. I probably didn't help when I was asking her what she knew about wine and what her favourite was. It only dawned on me after that she is too young to have a favourite wine seeing as she is 16 and not legally allowed to drink.

I remember my first day at work. Well actually I remember the day before when my Dad burst into my room and asked me,

"Have you got a white shirt?"

"Yeah."

"Have you got black shoes and trousers?" He was used to seeing me dressed only in army combats and black t-shirts so you can forgive his lack of understanding regarding my wardrobe, such as it was.

"Good, you'll need these too." And he handed me a corkscrew and a bow tie.

"You start tomorrow. You're not lying round this house all summer."

Which was a real fucking bummer because that's exactly what I had intended on doing. The next day, a Thursday, I was suitably suited and booted and ready for gameful employment. Granny took a photograph as I tried to make the bow tie sit right.

I walked the short distance to the place I would work for the next three years until it got blew up. Ah such happy days. I was to report to a woman called Teasy. This woman was no tease let me tell you. She was as hard as nails and smoked continuously.

"Who are you?" She asked with a voice like Chrissie Hynde on a bad day as she looked me up and down as if I was shit on her bedroom slippers.

"Manuel" says I, my voice all shy and breaking. I shook as I stood there as this tiny but fearsome woman picked away at the tiny bit on confidence that I had.

"You're a scrawny child aren't you?"

Jesus! I wanna go home and play The Cure and imagine what it would be like to have a girlfriend. I don't wanna work!!!!!

Meekly I replied, "Yes" Well what the fuck was I gonna say?!

"Right into the restaurant with you." I followed her into the restaurant where the rest of the waiting staff where sitting, smoking and laughing big dirty laughs. I was terrified out of my innocent childlike mind. These were big women with what seemed like huge bosoms. They wore their skirts short and their nails long and red, as red as my face. Little did I know my face was to stay that way for about 6 months.

Their jokes were always dirty and their skirts were always short. They seemed to take to me okay though. One of them exclaimed that they "would make a man" of me. I always took that as a threat. They were a jovial bunch of fairly hard workers and very hard drinkers. They knew their craft and could do it with their eyes closed. In fact many of them did but that was due to the many hangovers they had to suffer. I didn't drink back then but within a year was knocking the cider back and over just like the rest of them.

I was handed a bucketful of cutlery and told to polish it. "Polish it? With what and how?" I looked around but no one seemed to notice the slip of a lad with the bright red face, one nasty spot on his chin, and the look of bewilderment on his chops. Eventually I figured it out, but to this day I still detest polishing cutlery.

I spent the next 6 months feeling about as useful as a cigarette packet with no lighter. But eventually my flame was lit and I eased into the job with confidence. And the rest is history.

I remember getting my first pay packet too. It was £46.00, get in! I also remember a few of the old hands telling me it was customary for the new kid to buy a round with their first pay packet. I duly complied. My dad laughed for ten minutes when I told him.

So what about your first day at work? How'd that go then?

44 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

heather said...

i was 15, it was mcdonald's. only lasted a week. there was this woman who came in everyday with her two toddlers. they would soak their fries in ketchup and then throw them all over the dining room. guess who got stuck with dining room duty? dear old mom never once said a word to stop the terrors.
my last day i handed her a broom, dust pan, small bucket of soapy water and a cloth and told her to pick up after her f'ing brats before she left and walked out. (i was pretty sure i was going to be fired after that little blow up and figured i'd save the boss the trouble.)
for 20 some odd years now i've been resisting the urge to do the same type of thing. :)

Native Minnow said...

I was 14, working in a walk in freezer and scooping crushed ice into plastic bags to be sold at gas stations around the valley. I was paid $0.05/bag. If I bagged quickly I could make $5/hr. I got ripped off.

toast said...

14 working in a chip factory, smoking cigs as we packed the chips - that came to a head when someone found a fagbutt in their frozen chips.... bloody H&S

Then a KP.... manuel can probably tell me but i don't think you can get lower in the foodchain than KP, pondlife to the waiters and the chefs alike - i had to get the chef to shout on the waiters to bring me 'mineral' because the waiters would point blank refuse to serve me

Anonymous said...

14 as an evening cleaner in an office up at Dublin Port. A nasty oul dodgy place in the 80s and some mad oulfella grabbed my tit outside the Point on my walk there on my first night. Part of the working life I was told. Anybody tries that again and they lose an organ I thought at the time. Still stands.

Anonymous said...

...only nobody wants to grope me anymore. sob.

The Idle Wanderer said...

Not counting paper rounds and shelf stacking, the first real job I had (as in full time) was removals. On my first day I walked into the yard and was confronted by a load of degenerates smoking ropey bits of old cigarettes whilst sprawled all over various customers' sofas. No-one was loading the vans for the day ahead, that was left to me.

"Fuck me, you look like you can barely hold your own cock," one of them said to me as I struggled with something or other. My arms were killing and I wanted to cry.

Ended up staying for 2 years.

boy_wonder said...

I started work with this tall older guy, he dressed in black and was always very moody. Nice house and car though.

Sineadisamum said...

Does farm work count? If so I started at the age of eleven. If not, I still haven't started. No seriously!

dave said...

My first job in my chosen 'career' *cough cough* and I was working as a student programmer at a police station in Belfast.

I was introduced to the guys in the office, including the police Inspector I was to be working with.
"You're an ugly little fucker of a student, aren't ya?"

I was stunned.
"Yeah, but you're fucking ugly with a ginger moustache" I replied.

I developed a thick skin within minutes. But we got on well after that because I always gave as good as I got.

PC brigade have knocked all that on the head now. These days, an employer would be taken up on a harassment case with something like that.

AnFearBui said...

Brickies mate/hod carrier in London in summer of '87 for £105 a week or £129 if I worked a half day Saturday. Managed to avoid being sent for the long stand etc. Almost fell off the scaffolding on an 8 storey building-did fall one storey on another.Threatened with a claw hammer by a drunk chippy (convicted bank robber)while working nights, luckily he didn't have a chisel to hand.Worked for a labouring sub contractor who used to get us to walk off sites when the coast was clear, he would pick us up around the corner & take you to another site - That way he was paid for both. On the same day I worked on sites in Great Portland Street, Sloane Square & Wapping. Hard mucky work but some very funny times too.....& lots of builder's tea.

Manuel said...

heather: get in! good work!

minnow: yes, yes you really did....

toast: waiters eh? class acts! actually it goes waiters, head chef, second chef, kp, all other ranks of chef. A good kp is worth their weight in gold. Pity they are always skinny toothless dope smokers.....always...

anonymous: bwahahahaha. Should I be laughing......? crikey.....

idler: it's a wonder anyone survives their first day.....

boy_wonder: boom boom, very good....

sineadisamum: yes, yes it really fucking does.....I did it....still have the scars and memories to prove it.....

dave: I'm not so sure.......the things that happen in the kitchen tend to stay in the kitchen.....

anfearbui: and arse? admit it!

jen said...

Chambermaid at 16 in a B&B for peanuts, more or less - but it seemed like a lot at the time. The hen/stag nights were the worst. There's nothing like opening a hotel room door to breathe in the stench of stale kebab. Enough to give you the dry heaves, I tell you.

Wasn't all bad though. I got to help out making the cooked breakfasts and a perk of the job was that you had one too at the end of service (calories burned off quickly by running up and down stairs, lugging dirty laundry, hoovers etc).

But the day that the owner put me on waitress duty did not go so well - and back to the kitchen/chambermaiding I quickly went.

Manuel said...

jen: some are born to wait......some didn't study hard enough at school....hehehehe I always hated the idea of hotels etc......no closing time!

Anonymous said...

That's ok - you can laugh. I don't mind. I'm sure the ole priest doesn't either. How about this though...first day in 'proper' job in the middle of rural England. I found a great short-cut of a path to take to the office. Only it's flooded on Morning 1. So I wade through 1 ft of muddy water in the tights and high heels so as not to be late and squelch through my entire first day.

Manuel said...

anonymous: holy fuck! bwahahahahaha....taxi, every time, both to and from......awh that is so bad......

AnFearBui said...

I'll ignore the slander & patiently offer the other cheek.

Manuel said...

anfearbui: ah you're great crack......hehehehe

Anonymous said...

That's brilliant anfearbui...you were actually 'trafficked'.

Hang on, you're Christy Moore, arent you?

sheepworrier said...

Can't even think of my 1st job, never mind my 1st day - It was probably as a waiter at the tender age of 15. Well below min wage, but put me in good stead for later years. I might've been a KP 1st tho, but we won't mention those dark days...

Manuel said...

anonymous: don't encourage him....

sheepo: awh.....there wasn't even a minimum wage when I started..£2.50 an hour. Saying that I was the Roman Abramovich of my circle of friends......

AnFearBui said...

I'm bald, fat, may sweat occasionally but alas cannot sing...though I once did in a restaurant , on new years eve, when the manager found out he was being sacked; he was giving free bottles of champagne to anyone who would sing but by my turn I suspect he just wanted the premises cleared.

Manuel said...

anfearbui: now there's an idea!

redleeroy said...

Kitchen porter in il Primo restaurant in Dublin. I was 15. Fuckin hated it and the shitbird that owned it. He is dead now. I laughed when I heard.

Manuel said...

redleeroy: ooooooooh that's harsh.....kp at 15, rough

Medbh said...

First job was waiting tables in a bingo hall when I was 14 for $1 an hour plus shitty tips.
Brutal.
Look after the young girl, Manuel. She's as terrified as you were.

MJ said...

I got fired from my first day at work for showing up 12 hours late.

I misread my shift as starting at 10:00 PM rather than 10:00 AM.

Then I would land a job (I was 16 too, if I remember correctly)where I had to duck and cover to avoid the boss putting his tongue down my throat.

Manuel said...

medbh: bingo eh? what fun...eek.

MJ: 12 hours late? you could get a job where I work with ability like that....

K8 the Gr8 said...

Bag packer for SuperValu at 15 years old. Nasty nasty job, that. The highlights were the lunchbreaks... me, my walkman and a bag of apples in a huge field full of tall grass next door to the shopping mall.

Yes I was a bit of a loner. Elder checkout ladies have to be the most avoidable and most bitchiest of them all!

Don't worry about your mood, it's probably just your Biorythms messing with you.

belfastyouthworker said...

i was 16 and working in a nasty pub/restaurant in belfast. i was nervous as hell and spilled two jugs of cocktails over a group of middle aged women :D thought i was going to get sacked on the spot but mercifully (??) stayed there close to five years!

Manuel said...

k8 the gr8: Biorythms? do I have those? eh? What can I do to soothe them? Is there a gel or a yoghurt?

byw: name it? come on...where was it?

dave said...

Manuel, Medbh is right. She's a little wet behind the ears. Take her under your wing. Bring out her inner strength, show her the tricks of the trade and be kind to her.

If only you had someone as nice as you showing you the ropes when you were 16. GL!

Manuel said...

dave: i'm all about the guiding and helping!

Sharon said...

First paid work was potato gathering, spending all day breaking my back for £5 while the boys got £2 more than me.

Then I had a Saturday job in one of those cheap'n'nasty shoe shops. The manager was a slimy git but the other employee was nice and funny and such an exotic creature, a bandsman in an Orange band. I once let a wee skinhead off with trying to nick a bag filled with £5 trainers, and the next time I saw him he slagged me off.

At 17 I worked as a bar waitress in the big, new parish hall serving the tightest bunch of whingers in existence. At the end of a hard evening, I'd have as much as 20p in tips.

belfastyouthworker said...

studenty...close to queens...very close! :)

Nica said...

I bussed tables at 14. I'd never been in a restaurant kitchen before and was naive enough to believe that things like swearing were off limits at work no matter where you worked. With the other bussers all about 17 or 18 and most everyone else being over 25, you can guess what my first few weeks were like.

Manuel said...

nica: welcome......did you survive?

K8 the Gr8 said...

http://biorhythms.perbang.dk/

Maybe not worth much in court, but definately something to blame for ickle boo-boos.

K8 the Gr8 said...

Sorry. How lazy am I?!?!

K8 the Gr8 said...

Dammit. Last attempt!

Manuel said...

sharon: done the spud thing too and turf....back breaking....for little money but still the best summers ever....

byw: the bot? crikey....

k8: well that cleared nothing up but I did get more smiley faces than sad faces......

nica said...

Hahaha I've survived for almost two years now, and after a month or so of asking me to bring things that were impossible to find/didn't exist to tables that didn't exist/were vacant I did okay. And after two months someone thought me how to get out of the freezer they were constantly locking me in! :P

Silverstar said...

I was 14, spent the summer babysitting two little boys eight hours a day while their parents worked. Put me off ever having kids.

Red hair, Red face said...

my first week was a disaster....with no coffee shop around i walked to the local esso garage to buy a sandwich. Sandwich gotten i began my walk back to work in my "sitting on;y" shoes. I fell. on a main road. and just as i got up, still reeling from the shock of having such a glorious encounter with the footpath, i fell again, to look up and see a taxi man craning his neck out of his people carrrier, to look at me.
I fell a week later in front of my boss. Did not live that down at the staff night out.

fgeegf said...

成人電影,情色,本土自拍, 情色聊天室, 寄情築園小遊戲, AV女優,成人電影,情色,本土自拍, A片下載, 日本A片, 麗的色遊戲, 色色網, ,嘟嘟情人色網, 色情網站, 成人網站, 正妹牆, 正妹百人斬, aio,伊莉, 伊莉討論區, 成人遊戲, 成人影城,
ut聊天室, 免費A片, AV女優, 美女視訊, 情色交友, 免費AV, 色情網站, 辣妹視訊, 美女交友, 色情影片 成人影片, 成人網站, A片,H漫, 18成人, 成人圖片, 成人漫畫, 情色網,
美女交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人貼圖, 成人電影, A片, 豆豆聊天室, 聊天室, UT聊天室, 尋夢園聊天室, 男同志聊天室, UT男同志聊天室, 聊天室尋夢園, 080聊天室, 080苗栗人聊天室, 6K聊天室, 女同志聊天室, 小高聊天室, 情色論壇, 色情網站, 成人網站, 成人論壇, 免費A片, 上班族聊天室, 成人聊天室, 成人小說, 微風成人區, 色美媚部落格, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人論壇,
日本A片, 愛情公寓, 情色, 舊情人, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 情色交友, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 色情遊戲, 情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 色情a片, 一夜情, 辣妹視訊, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊, 視訊美女, 美女視訊, 視訊交友, 視訊聊天, 免費視訊聊天室, 情人視訊網影音視訊聊天室, 視訊交友90739, 成人影片, 成人交友, 本土自拍, 免費A片下載, 性愛,
成人交友, 嘟嘟成人網, 成人電影, 成人, 成人貼圖, 成人小說, 成人文章, 成人圖片區, 免費成人影片, 成人遊戲, 微風成人, 愛情公寓, 情色, 情色貼圖, 情色文學, 做愛, 色情聊天室, 色情小說, 一葉情貼圖片區, 情色小說, 色情, 寄情築園小遊戲, 色情遊戲情色視訊, 情色電影, aio交友愛情館, 言情小說, 愛情小說, 色情A片, 情色論壇, 色情影片, 視訊聊天室, 免費視訊聊天, 免費視訊, 視訊美女, 視訊交友, 視訊聊天, 免費視訊聊天室, a片下載, aV, av片, A漫, av dvd, av成人網, 聊天室, 成人論壇, 本土自拍, 自拍, A片,成人電影,情色,本土自拍,