Oct 1, 2012

Me, a waitress?

It's true - I waited tables today.  It looks like no two days at CROI are going to be the same...

When I got there this afternoon, the building was positively bustling.  In the sea of staff rushing to and fro, the first thing I noticed as I shed my raincoat was the wall to my right, where two tables sagged with the weight of many, many plates.  And each plate had a slice of cheesecake on it.  Hang on there; isn't this supposed to be a cardiovascular health charity?  (I would later find out that the "cheesecakes" were posers - the caterers had had some Bailey's whipped cream on hand and decided that a little creativity was in order.)

Why were there caterers there, you ask?  Well, the center was hosting an all-day CPR certification class, and it was almost lunchtime when I showed up (1 pm).  In other words, forty-five hungry people were about to come bounding downstairs...and as J (my supervisor) explained this to me, she smiled and asked, "Ready to be thrown into the deep end?"

It was a mob.  A mob.  I did everything - I served lasagna, scraped dishes, and carried pitchers of tea and coffee until my biceps cried for mercy.  I smiled sweetly, peppered my speech with "sir" and "miss", and tried not to look too conspicuous as I passed between tables, looking for dishes to clear.  And now that it's all over and I'm resting my aching feet, I find myself humbled toward people who do food service work for a living.  They deserve more appreciation than I've ever given them!

This afternoon was a marked departure from the volunteering that I'm used to (i.e. in the clinical setting).  So I was very obviously "the new girl", but the staff were kind and helped me along.  The patrons were gracious, too - I lost track of how many times I heard "thanksamillion", which is the rather cutesy (and rapid) way that the Irish say "thank you".

Bonus: after everyone had left, I got to talk to the CEO as we gathered tablecloths and stacked chairs in a side room.  I was pleased with the opportunity to wear my "professional" hat as N and I chatted for a bit...and as I was leaving for the day, he wished me a good evening and told me I'd impressed him today with my "coolness under pressure".


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