For various and sundry reasons I work part-time at a local private golf club as a waitress. As far as part-time jobs go, this is a pretty good one, if you’re into the whole restaurant biz and whatnot. And you know very quickly if you are or are not. I happen to be are. Even on nights like last Saturday, clad in my black pants, white button-down shirt, shiny silver vest and matching silvery striped tie, the official banquet uni of the club.
We’d brought in two temps for the event, so five of us total and one behind the bar, and five was plenty. It was a 16-year-old boy’s birthday party, a party he did not even want, but a party his mother, as she told my banquet manager, “was having whether he wants it or not.
We’ll use that as our jumping off point, after which the night dissolved into a blurry bizarr-o world punctuated by delicious Indian food from an outside caterer, and can only best be described in And Thens.
So, to recap so far: Birthday party. Birthday Boy does not want party. His mom does. Delicious Indian food is on the menu.
And Then a girl lit her purse on fire. Another teenaged boy at the party held up a bag that had been leaning against a votive candle. There is a good-sized burn hole and glowing ember on the corner, and I quickly take it out of his hands. As I scurry back into the server station to douse the smoldering vinyl bag in water, she scurries after me and says in a high, helium voice, “Ohmigod, that’s my purse!”
“Um, yeah, and I’m going to…” I motion toward the sink as the bag continues to smolder.
“Can I just get something out of it first?” she whines.
“Ummm,” I stare at her. “Okay, I guess, but, um, make it fast because your purse is on fire.”
She digs out her driver’s license and her credit card, and turn toward the sink, then turn back to her, pulling her cell phone out of the bag. “Maybe you want this, too?”
She takes it out of my hand and I douse the bag. Walking back into the room the girl is now sitting in her chair, surrounded by friends, staring blankly off into space as she mindlessly gnaws on a beef satay stick. I hand the bag back to her.
“Ohmigod, I’m So. Sorry. Is this my fault?” she mewls at me.
Clearly I did not hear her correctly, clearly she did not just say that, those words clearly did not come out of her mouth, CLEARLY THE FUCKING BEEF SATAY HAS NOT GONE TO HER FUCKING HEAD, so clearly there is no other option for me except to give her my own blank stare before I walk away.
It is still light outside at this point. The party is scheduled to go until midnight.
And Then a band showed up unannounced. The parents have already brought in a DJ, a full-of-herself woman who looks bored out of her mind and can’t be bothered about anything, because clearly she is Way. Cool. So cool, in fact, that she is DJing a 16-year-old’s birthday party, rather than, say, a club downtown.
But whatever, the point is, after the buffet dinner of delicious Indian food, a band shows up. It’s a group of guys from the Birthday Boy’s school, and they seem like nice enough kids. It’s just they would have seemed even nicer had we known they were coming. Which we didn’t.
So they set up and as they put the final pieces of equipment in place, I am standing on the other side of the room with our runner, Alex. We stand in silence until one of the guys high fives a bandmate, a high five that clearly signifies that This Is The Start of Something Good Let’s Kick Some Ass.
“High five, man,” I voice-over to Alex.
“Let’s do this,” he voice-over responds.
The band jams for about 35 minutes, with no song lasting no longer than 35.8 seconds. They would have lasted longer, but the band forgot their microphone stands. You can only play so much of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” instrumentally.
And Then my manager and I almost got into fisticuff with 7-year-olds. They are running around on the patio, and we need to get it cleaned up. My night manager tells a group of little girls to stay on one side of the patio, and they sass her with “Why?” She responds appropriately with “Because I said so.” They do not appreciate this.
No more than 20 minutes later, I walk outside and requested something similar of a group of little boys, who respectfully slunk over to the other side of the patio. Except for one of the boys, who snotted, “Why?” at me, trying to stare me down. Which doesn’t work when you are 4’7 and I am 5’9.
“First of all, because I said so, that’s why,” I said stonily. “And secondly because this side of the patio is closed. Go over there.” He sasses me with a shoulder shrug before turning on his heel, while I fight off the urge to grab him by the scruff of his neck and launch him onto the 18th green. (It’s not far away. It’s just below the patio area. I’ve got a pretty good arm.)
And Then they played an Indian-Techno version of Snow’s “Informer.” The Unannounced Band has packed up their gear (re: shoved it in a pile off to the side of the dance floor, right in front of the door to the kitchen. Convenient!), and the DJ has picked up her duties again, and put this on. I am the only one who recognizes the song, and I walk dazedly up to my manager and say, “Um, is this an Indian-Techno version of Snow’s ‘Informer’?” I believe correctly that it is the most awesome thing that happens all night.
And Then the dishwasher left. Our big, stainless steel monstrosity of a dishwasher in the kitchen broke the night before and still is not fixed. We’ve hired a human temp dishwasher for the night, his only duty being to stand behind the bar and wash glasses. Somewhere around 10-ish he disappears. Both of my managers ask me, “Have you seen the dishwasher temp?” No, we conclude. He has disappeared. It seems fitting for the night.
(He later reappears out of nowhere, and being that he doesn’t speak English very well, it is hard to discern where, exactly, he was.) (Maybe enjoying delicious Indian food.) (Because most of the night when I wasn’t putting our purses and having standoffs with insubordinates that is what I was doing.) (I could eat that green cilantro-y sauce all fucking day long. Give me a spoon. I’m in.)
And Then the Birthday Boy was bitter. As I walked out to my car for the night, I passed the Birthday Boy and his gal pal in the lobby.
“Happy birthday,” I say.
“Thanks!” he smiles. He’s a pretty polite kid, actually.
I pause in front of them. “So, did you get your license and everything?”
A veritable cloud falls like a heavy theatre curtain over his face. “No,” he says darkly, jerking his eyes in the direction of the patio, where his parents are now ensconced in one last cocktail with another couple, unconcerned that their son is waiting in the lobby, and has been for the past 45 minutes. “They don’t trust me enough to get my license and drive.”
“Arrgh,” I say in joking solidarity, “those jerks!” I quickly add, “Naw, I’m just kidding.”
“No, seriously,” he says with a pinched face.
“Okay, gotta go, bye, happy birthday!” I quickly head out the door, thinking that at least he seemed to like the cake.