Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Tip

"So many times, it happens too fast. You trade your passion for glory. Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past. You must fight just to keep them alive" 
Survivor

I dream of being awesome. In every sense of the word..sleeping me does things that normal me would never have the nerve to do. I tell people what I think and I stand up to strangers. Sleeping me has been know to get in a few fights. My "sleeper" usually involves hair pulling and scratching. (me-ow!). I am fearless. This is nothing like the real me. Awake me is awkward and a push over. I cringe at the word confrontation and get easily frustrated with what I should have said. I am a bully's dream because I comply and try my best to play nice. I don't have an aggressive bone in my body. Except in my sleep. Then I am the Chuck Norris of dream world. No one messes with me. The other night I was dreaming I was at some dive bar. I often have dreams where I am having a fun time drinking and hanging out with friends. Sometimes they have faces some times I just remember odd conversations.

Dream world drunk me was going to order another beer. I am not going to lie, dream me doesn't have good taste in beer because I was getting a MGD. (maybe this was 1997 dream world drunk me...). There was a girl next to me getting her tab. She had one of those sour scowls that bar tenders hate. If you have ever worked as a server or bartender, you know the look. It is the look like this patron will never be happy no matter how fast their appetizers come out or how great the happy hour prices are. There is no fix for unhappy at a bar...we just sell things to help you forget you are unhappy. (mind eraser anyone?). The former server in me, both in dream and real world, glanced over as ms. sourface got her credit card slip. I saw her bill had come to approximately ten dollars. I watched as she filled in the amount for the tip....twenty five cents. Even though this was a dream..and the numbers never lie..every part of my waking body cringed at that waste of a tip. I tensed up the way I always do when I witness a crime of tipping. No matter how long you have been out of the game, waiting tables is something that will never leave you..or your psyche.  I still have serving nightmares seven years later. Serving nightmares are when you dream you are waiting tables but something is never right. There is this table you just can't seem to get to. You walk toward them to refill their drinks or bring their appetizers and the table moves farther away from you or something distracts your attention. You heart is pumping with anxiety and doom.  These dreams are a leftover reaction to the feeling of getting your apron knocked right off your body..or you ass handed to you by a crowded night. Then you run around like a crazy person filling drinks, bringing food, making quick small talk and relying heavily on the patience and generosity of strangers to make the night worth the stress. 

When I looked over at that twenty-five cent tip, my sleepy mind was jolted. Even thought I was asleep, I had the crystal clear thought feeling of disgust for this girl and pity for the bartenders. I did something I had always wanted to do...I confronted her. "Really?" I said with a new found confidence.."You are only going to leave a quarter...You do know these people only make three dollars an hour?". My eyes stared her up and down and I could see the admiration from the bar tender twisting the top off of my cold MGD. (Wow...even in a dream my beer choice really bothers me..). There was a silence as the whole bar stopped to look at our confrontation. I could feel my hands clench and the blood in my chest stop running to my heart as I looked at her and wondered what the silent patrons around me tough...how was she going to react? She looked down at her bad tip and looked at the bartenders with and embarrassing smile. I had called her out..she was hoping she could slip out the door before anyone noticed how bad that tip was. She quickly added a 3 in front of the .25 and rushed away. The bartender bought my drink and added a bleu cheese stuffed olive on the side. (yet again really weird dream drinks). I felt amazing..I had finally confronted someone over a cause that was so personal to me. From all the ten percent tips to the prayer cards in lieu of tip (yes that really happens) to the eat and skip patrons and the people who camp out long after dinner is finished and don't compensate accordingly. I stood up for the underdog! I felt like my arms go up like Rocky...the eye of the tiger..I stood up. 

I woke up feeling great. What I got was even better than sleep, it was an accomplishment. I believe a persons character should be judged on how well they tip. Have you ever been out with a ten percent tipper and you had do go back and sneak a five under the sugar caddie out of sheer embarrassment? Let me give you a few of my personal insights: servers make a couple dollars an hour. A server is not responsible for the food prices, food times or food quality. A server will usually never get a raise. Servers usually don't have benefits and if they get sick or hurt, they won't get paid. A server works long hours on their feet for days at a time. Servers are human and make mistakes and sometimes are affected by things in the personal lives which they bring to work. We live in a country where a restaurant is not responsible for paying the servers much. From a financial point of view, this keeps food cost and operating cost down as well as keeps many smaller restaurants from going out of business. If the server's wages were to be part of the restaurant's expenses..then your dinner would cost twice as much then if you were to leave a twenty percent tip. (my idea of what a good tip should be). By telling off that one girl (in my dream)..I couldn't help but to reflect on the years I spent relying on the generosity of strangers. I have been given bad service before...and believe me I have given bad service. Unfortunately we servers are humans and not robots, and are subject to the same ability to make mistakes or just have a bad day as the rest of us. What can I say, my dream struck a nerve that I forgot I had. Here is a tip: twenty percent is really easy to mentally compute. Take the total bill and double it..then move the decimal place over one and you have your tip. (eg..your bill is $40. Double it = $80. then move the decimal over one = $8.00..no fancy tip calculator there!).  

I rubbed my confident tiger's eye when I woke up. There is nothing that I couldn't accomplish today. Except, I couldn't get my pants on. My ass has now reached critical mass...no pants can cover it. (none that don't have an elastic waist that is). It is time put my tip ranting energy into some real exercises. As strange as it sounds, when you are feeling large all around try not to wear loose clothing. It just adds more volume. When my butt is looking like it needs a separate bedroom, I try to find an area on my body that looks small. Mine is my chicken legs. I put on stretchy leggings and a flowy top to hide the problem areas. If you have a tiny waist, use a belt to cinch a loose top and create shape. Most women look their smallest in that area between boobs and muffin top. It is that area at the bottom of your rib cage...if you can find a top that cinches that for you with out creating the look of pregnancy, then buy it in every color. I felt overall large. My tip rant confidence had drifted back off to my dream as I stared at my closet with dread. I sighed and became grateful for one thing this season: ponchos are in style. I paired on over a pair of jeggings (elastic waist..score!) and some low boots for a Sunday feast that would surely put my weight loss efforts off another day. It is time. This is the time where I dust off my tennis shoes and my pilates mat..I get angry that I am not and natural size 2..and blast some Eye of the Tiger! 

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Poncho: Lauren Conrad for Kohls
Shirt: Free People 
Jeggings: New York & Co
Boots: Rocket Dog
Bracelet: Target
Necklace: Charlotte Russe




1 comment:

  1. Many times when Jack and I have been eating out with someone who was paying for the meal I have made up excuses to go back to the table and leave an additional tip. Jack's family has the notion that a dollar per person is adequate; no matter how much our bill or how long we may have sat at the table talking after we have eaten. I learned a long time ago to always have enough cash on me in the event they short the server.

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