Whenever I’m having a really bad day at work, waiting tables, a server, a servant, I always have this fantasy of what I’d do if I were to snap, totally lose it, right in the middle of dinner service. For some disgruntled employees, I’m sure nothing would be more satisfying than to tell off the boss and storm out, a big, “I quit!” leaving everybody to try and piece together whatever it was they were in the middle of doing.
But that’s all too pedestrian for me. If I were to ever leave right in the middle of a shift, I’d make such a scene, cause so much chaos and mayhem, that the restaurant wouldn’t have any choice but to close for the rest of the night.
First I’d go right up to the kitchen window. I’d push the expediter out of the way. For those not in the biz, the expediter is the person who makes sure that all of the food is coming out on time, that all orders are leaving the kitchen complete. I’d start picking up food with my hands, whole steaks, fistfuls of potatoes and vegetables, and I’d start taking huge bites, like an animal, some here, a bite over there, making sure to take at least a small piece out of everything, throwing the rest on the ground.
And that would only be the opening act. I’d have to act quickly, because once I get started, it would immediately set off some alarms. At least one or two managers would rush over to see what all the commotion was about. The rest of my plan would have to be executed in such a way as to exact maximum destruction in the limited time before somebody calls the police. I’d rip the phone off the wall, not that it would really do me any good, because everybody has a cell phone, but still, it would be a nice added touch.
Next I’d reach my arms as far as they can extend out to my sides, balling my hands into fists. I’d spin around in a cyclone, picture the Tasmanian Devil, and I’d chart a course through the kitchen. Everything’s in such close quarters that I’m guaranteed to knock over the majority of the kitchenware, all of the dry goods, all of the jars and cans. There’s barely any space when people are just going about their normal routines. Nothing’s going to stand a chance once I turn into the human tornado.
I figure I’ll only have about one and a half minutes left. I’d save the best for last. The liquor room. If I could just make it before anybody with any power to stop me arrives, my final act would be glorious. One by one I’d take each bottle of booze off of the shelves and drop them to the floor. Crash. Shatter. Everywhere. Maybe the head manager would have finally caught up to me, and he’d be standing in the entryway, mouth agape, hands on his cheeks, the definitive expression of shock. And I’d be untouchable. I’d be going so fast, moving with such fury, that nobody would dare risk coming too close, not with all of the annihilation I’ve already unleashed.
And I figure that’s where I’d stay until the cops finally show up to drag me out of there. And it would have to be a full dragging, like one police officer for every limb, me thrashing the whole time, kicking and screaming on my way out to the paddy wagon.
So whenever I’m really in the weeds at work, whenever I feel like I’m just doing a terrible job, like my customers hate me, like my managers hate me, I just kind of stop and run through that little daydream, and it makes things a little better, makes me feel like I maintain at least some control over my present situation. Because while, yes, it’s totally unthinkable that I’d ever actually commit, it’s not impossible. Everything that I’ve spelled out is totally within my abilities to make happen. Just knowing that provides me the tiniest morsel of comfort.
Can you imagine, after I lost that job, what my next interview would be like? “So, tell us why you left your last job?”