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At Your Service: St. Patty's Pizza

I found out recently I have an intolerance to gluten. You know, the protein found in wheat, barley and rye. I work at a restaurant that serves food I can no longer consume without health consequences. Well, there's always the salads, but that's reserved only for the desperate days. It is amusing to work in a place that is technically hazardous to my health; it makes me feel a bit like a firefighter or divorce lawyer.

We recently had our Christmas party at work. A little late, yes, but it was a kind gesture nonetheless that the general manager found it in the goodness of his heart to give us a party at another location we own and serve food none of us liked. The upside? Bottomless margaritas. Every where we looked, there were pitchers of them and they were never empty. We knew they really wanted to get us drunk when we realized they served nothing else to drink; not even water. Thirsty? Have a margarita. Need to wash down those tasteless appetizers? Have a margarita. Half of the staff blacked out. I was part of the other half and have more than 50 pictures that could serve as sweet blackmail. Ah, the joys of digital cameras and staying just sober enough to remember to document everything. I almost feel bad for the girl who had to watch her boyfriend's toes get sucked.

Nah, no I don't.

We made it through St. Patrick's Day weekend with relatively few problems. Truth be told, I was a little disappointed. I came into work that day with my tough-girl face on and excited about the prospect of getting to deny drunk assholes the right to more alcohol. However, it was only my last table that had anyone drunk enough to consider not serving. It was only one guy at the table and he was being quiet in his stupor so I was nice and let him order a beer. He spent most of the time with his head down on the table.

We had less business than anticipated, too. What a shame, because we actually purchased enough Guinness this time so we wouldn't have to tell people by noon that we ran out. And I didn't get a chance to push some drunk girl out of my way because she wouldn't move when I was trying to walk by with a pizza. (That ended with her spilling the beer on herself and going, "What the fuck is wrong with you?") All in all, a little disappointing for a day that Americans have distorted and made into their own personal drinking holiday.

The kind of action I was expecting came the weekend after St. Patrick's Day. It was dinnertime and the restaurant was fairly crowded. While in the back putting in an order, a co-worker asked me why there was an ambulance and fire truck outside of our restaurant. This is not the first time I've witnessed such a scene; one time someone was having trouble breathing, another time a woman passed out in the bathroom and hit her head and another time a gentleman at my table informed me his left side was going numb. About 30 minutes later, the story came together. A couple walked in to pick up a pizza to go. The female was apparently stumbling drunk and went to the bathroom. Once she began vomiting she couldn't stop so they called an ambulance because alcohol poisoning was suspected. Oh, did I mentioned she was very pregnant as well?

I'm coming up on my four-year anniversary at the restaurant. I have mixed feelings about it. I've become very close with many of my co-workers and have come to really see that place as a dysfunctional second home. The smell of pizza and burned chicken wings has become familiar and almost comforting. I know that no matter what else is going on in my life, there will be hungry tourists waiting to tip me 10 percent. And I now have a second job I may in fact hate more than the pizzeria.

-

The pseudononymous Patty Hunter brings you tales from the front lines of serverdom every week. She welcomes your comments. Catch up with the rest of this series and its companions in our Life At Work archive.



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Posted on March 25, 2010


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PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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