My friend John, who works at Community Hospital, was there for the event. John is sometimes preoccupied with cleanliness, and can produce Wetnaps from his pockets like a Pez dispenser. After training I confided in him about my fear of serving.
“Well I wouldn’t worry too much,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for several years. The first year they gave me four tables. They reduced it each year. And this year I am a busboy.” He seemed completely unaffected by the setback and appeared to be enjoying himself.
John has his own parking space at the hospital, a good office and an important job. It is a job that is probably complicated at times.
But he had been demoted to busboy at the Texas Roadhouse. I watched the poor guy, a brilliant man reduced to picking peanuts out of the peanut barrel like a monkey on National Geographic.
I was doomed.
When my first table was seated, I decided to take the bull by the horns.
“My name is Theresa and I will be your server today. I am not very good at it.” I lowered my voice to add more intimacy. “So my advice is to go ahead and lower your expectations.”
But I did my best. I was especially good at answering questions.
“Do you have Prime Rib?” one of my patrons inquired.
“Um...is it on the menu?” I asked. I just wondered where she got the Prime Rib idea.
“Yes but I think it says to check for availability.”
I checked for availability and reported back to the customer.
“It’s not been cooking that long, so if you want it now, it will be medium rare. At best.”
“Do you have chocolate milk?” another woman asked.
I asked a real Roadhouse employee about that. “Well we have milk and we have chocolate syrup, so you have to go back in the kitchen and make it yourself,” she said.