Thursday, July 31, 2014

Imparting my new wisdom to you

After having spent this summer working as a waitress at a bar and grille, many of my previously held beliefs about the food industry have been ripped unceremoniously away.

I would like to pass on my knowledge and disillusionment to any and all who are willing to read what follows.

You have been warned.

  • Microwaves are a thing.  A very essential thing.  How else are chicken strips supposed to be defrosted before being deep fried?  Hot chocolate?  That ain't stove heated.  The warm cookie in the warm cookie Sundae doesn't come fresh out of the oven.  The lovely melted cheese on your burger?  Yep.
  • Leftovers are not a thing.  The restaurant business makes scavengers of the best of us.  Try working over meal hours on an empty belly around all kinds of greasy food.  That last piece of pizza you couldn't eat?  Those fries you barely touched?  The mushroom and onion burger you sent back to the kitchen because you clearly specified you were allergic to onions?  Dibbsed and devoured in a manner of minutes.  Don't even think about coming back to ask about the to-go box you forgot on the table.
  • If you're part of a large party, your food will not all be ready at the same time.  That's impossible.  Half of the dishes will have been sitting beneath a warmer for 5-10 minutes while your waiter/waitress waits for the last burger or pizza to be finished.
  • If you are an attractive individual who appears to be dining alone, servers of the opposite gender will be making trades and offers in order to be the one to wait on your table.  Example: "I know it's your turn for a table, but I'll give you my next two."  "I'll clear all your dishes for you."  "I'll give you all the quarters from my tip jar for the gumball machine."  And so on.
  • Kindly do not let your children eat off of the table's surface.  They are just as gross as you might imagine.  We do our best to swipe it down with a rag (that has been used countless times already) from a bucket of sanitary wash (that has been changed once all day), but please imagine the elbows, the sneezes, the people who do not wash their hands after using the restrooms.
  • Not everyone takes kindly to not being tipped well.  While all servers are not like this, recently a fellow employee was telling me about how he'd been tipped less than 10% on a table of seven or eight and because of that, did not yell after the group that a lady had forgotten her purse.  For 10%, she could discover her mistake on her own and come back for it, he said.  He called it karma.  I personally think it was a little vindictive, but hey, moral is if your waiter does a decent job, he deserves at least 10%.  At.  Least.
  • If you appear to be on a date and the restaurant is particularly slow or your waiters are particularly bored, you will be casually stalked.  Example: "That lady totally wears the pants.  She ordered everything and barely let him say what kind of dressing he wanted."  or "Every time I walk past them, he's explaining to her why a different relationship of his failed.  Bad form, pal."  or "Plot twist!  She insisted on paying."  or "Yeah, that date's going badly.  Look at them both staring in different directions.  Bring them their check A.S.A.P. and don't suggest the dessert menu!"

If you've made it this far... I'm sorry.  There's more I could have described, but I think I will leave some illusions intact.  Especially because these revelations are not exactly universal and might only apply to the restaurant where I worked.  Maybe other places actually melt the cheese over the burger while it's on the grill!  ... Eh... maybe.

Friday, July 18, 2014

News and Stuff

Oh, by the way, I'm in Montana.

That pretty much sums it up.

One of my best friends from college transferred between semesters and since we wanted to stay in touch, invited me to spend the summer at her house in Montana, where I could get a waitressing job and basically just bask in the beauty of the mountains.

Eh, why not?

So that's what I'm doing and have been doing for the past two months.  As well as writing a ton, because I left the rest of my friends and family either in MN or scattered about the country at their own homes for the summer.  Which means my free time is either spent with her or when she's busy (gone for a week on a work trip) (or *COUGH* flying out to MN to visit my family because she's dating my older brother) I spend it drinking pots of coffee on my own and writing up mini storms.

It's quite lovely here.  I could probably see myself coming back at some point after college, maybe living here for a few years.  Who really knows?

You know the song that goes "purple mountains' majesty"?  Yeah, well, it wasn't exaggerating.  In the evenings, when the sun has just slid completely out of sight, dusk settles in and the sky either fades out slowly to navy blue or the clouds spark like lighters and that's when the mountains turn this cloudy, veiled, subtle violet.  They stand out with perfect edges against the sky like they were stamped there with ink, but the details are smeared together like water colors still damp.
When I get back from work, I just stand outside of the car, my bag over a shoulder and the keys in a hand, and breathe in the mountains' evening sighs.  The wind settles down at this point and everything seems sleepy and perfectly in order.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What up

I've realized that I'm really bad with coming up with post titles.  I normally just stick something random and mostly unrelated up there and resolve to change it eventually and forget and don't and voila, that's why all my titles are a little questionably random.  Just thought I'd explain that quickly while it was on my mind, even though this has nothing to do with the rest of this post.

/random rant no one is interested in anyhow.


I sort of, ya know, finished my draft of The Phoenix Heist a few weeks back and used my CreateSpace coupon from NaNoWriMo to print it off all official like, which means...


Not that I'm excited about this or anything.  Heh.  Of course, since I found the art on Google Images and only edited it myself a little and added in text and expanded the edges and enhanced the color, it doesn't really belong to me and if I actually wanted to sell my book, it'd probably be illegal, but hey!  I'm not!  So feel free to admire this unofficial cover that I'm quite proud of:

The finished product has my name right below the red line... like so...
And plus I had to add more pattern around the edges so that the image didn't have to stretch to fit the book size.  So, yeah.  That's what it looks like.  *casual shrug*  No big deal or anything.  Admire at your leisure.  You know, if you want to.  Not that I really care or am attached to it or anything.  *manages to resist whispering "precious" and stroking the laptop screen*

Friday, July 11, 2014


If there's one thing that I'm very talented at, it's distracting myself from doing important things.

See, I figure it's something like doing the dishes.  They're already crusty with let's-try-not-to-imagine-what so if I attack them right off the bat and start scrubbing, I'll probably end up getting more of an arm work out than I intended and also waste an entire bottle of dish soap and possibly start swearing a little (also sweating).  So instead (naturally) I fill the sink with a tasteful amount of dish soup, add dishes, and wait*.  It's a very successful recipe, I've found.

Similarly, when I have an idea to start writing on, I usually let it soak in my mind for a little while I assemble just the right playlist to listen to and briefly scroll through Facebook and then wonder why I bother because it's all pretty dumb.  But back to the playlist part.  I'm a little obsessed with music.  Just, you know, a tad and a couple days worth of songs on I-tunes and then twice that in my Spotify playlists.

It really does make sense.  Music is, in one way or another, the** spoken equivalent of writing.  It is a way of conveying ideas and emotion and making completely unconnected listeners/readers feel and experience something.  That something might not be exactly what the author/composer was intending to convey, but that's not even vaguely a bad thing, because the something might be what the person needed to hear or wanted to hear or has been trying to say to themselves but never was able to find the words until now.  If that isn't magical, I don't know what is.

Sidenote: I'm feeling really passionate about books right now because I just read "Fahrenheit 451" for the first time (my high school education was sadly lacking, apparently) and read it in 24 hours no less and now feel like memorizing all my favorite books so that I can help the resistance and thwart the government when it starts burning those same books.

*By "wait" I mean, go do other important things.  I'm most certainly not standing at the kitchen sink watching those dishes soak.  Protip: a watched kettle never boils!

**Okay, definitely not "the" as in "the one and only."  The inner actress in me wouldn't shut up after I wrote that paragraph and insisted that I clarify: theater is definitely another spoken equivalent capable of producing emotions and ideas in an audience.  But that's really a post for another day.