Bad to Good, Bad to Best

Posted on Friday 27 March 2009

“How’s the book coming along?” asks a Fort Lauderdale friend in an email.

“Fine,” I lie in an email response.

In truth, I have to re-write every chapter of my book every day. Just when I think I have the story line that works, everything changes–again and again.

I moved here to work in a dive restaurant and sling eggs. When the restaurant changed hands a mere week after I started, I was certain my name would not be on the re-staffing list. Turns out I was wrong, at least for a while. Turns out, I was right–mostly.

Because I declined the invitation to work as the dinner manager, because I knew working with the new kid they hired as a dinner manager (who clearly has zero restaurant experience) would be a disaster, because I took a two-day a week job tending bar, my shifts have been cut to one a week–unless of course, I’d like to reconsider working dinner. I was told this after my shift yesterday.

Never mind that I am honest and hardworking and ring sales like a pro. That’s what happens when you piss off the new owner, and then a friend of the new owner wants your shifts.

Bad, very bad.

I sucked as a bartender my first night at my new, second job. But I mostly got it together by my second day, and by my third shift I was thanked by my manager for being willing to cook simple lunch items if it was slow enough. I learned how to operate the fryer and the grill, and I even suggested a couple of hot lunch specials.

Good, very good.

But now I was down to only working three days a week, which was two days short of what I needed to make ends meet. Panic.

Bad, very bad.

“What’s your work schedule like this week?” asked my best sister friend, startling me with her phone call out of the blue last night.

“As it turns out, I have plenty of time off next week!” I laughed. She and her husband–who has faced huge health challenges and an uncertain future–are headed my way. My boys in the band are also headed this way, and suddenly next week looks very good.

“Tell her I’ll find her more shifts,” my bar manager told my friend last night. “Tell her not to worry.”

“You’re slow, but for some reason they all love you,” laughed my friend.

“I’ll get better, soon,” I told her. “I always do.”

“Bah, it’s the Keys, girl,” she said. “Relax for once in your life. It’s all good.”

No, it’s not just all good. It’s turning out to all be for the best.

6 Comments for 'Bad to Good, Bad to Best'

  1.  
    March 27, 2009 | 7:45 pm
     

    Funny how things turn out like that, isn’t it? Kharma’s not always a bitch, sometimes she can be a sweetheart.

  2.  
    L.
    March 27, 2009 | 9:23 pm
     

    I think you will be a Bartender-to-Remember. The kind that “could” show up in your book. So RG, it’s OK to be a butterfly among the flowers and weeds *very good* for a blossoming writer. And I agree with Ex-R Manager (wishing he’d blog more, he’s really good – hint!)

    L.

  3.  
    Mike
    March 27, 2009 | 11:05 pm
     

    RG, remember, just take it all one day at a time…

  4.  
    March 28, 2009 | 7:52 am
     

    🙂

  5.  
    Jennifer
    March 28, 2009 | 6:02 pm
     

    No, seriously, listen to your friend. It IS going to work out. And for heaven’s sake, RG, if you can’t find a way to relax in the Keys, you’re going to be tense for the rest of your life. Remember, you’re working in the land of Manyana. If it takes you two extra minutes to deliver the perfectly foamed beer mug, but you do it with a smile and the kind of humor your readers know and love, you’re going to make MORE than enough to get by.

    Just remember the words of Michael McCloud, who wrote the Key West Florida National Anthem (for the 2 minutes they were actually a republic) (and they WERE!!!):

    “I’d rather be here
    Drinkin’ a beer
    Than freezin’ my ass in the North.”

    And every damn one of your customers DO feel that way, whether they want to admit or not. So RELAX. Do your best, but do it with the laid-back Keys style that says, “I’m really REALLY sorry you’re upset about me being slow. Because if you are, you aren’t getting your money’s worth out of your time here.”

    You ARE loved, m’dear. Those folks just haven’t figured it out yet.

  6.  
    March 30, 2009 | 1:55 pm
     

    Sorry about the new management, but at least you have found an alternative. You will do well.

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