This blog is about people. It is about the things we do and the things we don’t or shouldn’t do. This post is about something you shouldn’t do. Hop in the buggy. I haven’t got time for introductions and how-do-you-do chit-chat.
For those of you with jobs (hey, don’t sweat it or get down on yourself if you don’t possess one of these. St Pete has a lovely homeless community and a nice tent city, I’ve been there!), this one will ring-a-ding some familiar bells, especially those of you with restaurant jobs. Now I’m only singling out restaurant jobs as the breeding ground (har har) for such problems because I have worked at many and this seems to be a recurring issue with everyone who works in hospitality. Not to say that this problem doesn’t exist at the Macy’s shoe department or the register at the crack alley gas station, but restaurants as a work environment pose a particular problem for your day-to-day interaction with others:
WE ALL TEND TO SLEEP WITH EACH OTHER.
If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant as a server, bartender, busboy, cook or what have you, I know you’re aware that this is most certainly true. It isn’t because this job is better than any other (I will be the first to attest that it is the lowest of the low in the shit pile of jobs), it is because:
1. We work in a hustle and bustle, haul-ass type environment. We quickly develop chummy relationships with our co-workers because they are going to have to bail us out of ten feet in the weeds at some point. “Hey Johnny, I need you to run my food out because I got eight tables barking up my tree and old lady Gretchen over there is scowling at me for more iced tea.”
2. Speaking of hustle and bustle, there are some parts of restaurants that are close quarters. You’re dumping the slop left on some fat fuck’s plate into the garbage can and your co-worker comes up a little too close behind you and starts doing the “I’m pretending that my dick isn’t rubbing your ass” routine while trying to reach around you to dump their own garbage. Cue sexual tension. Or maybe you’re at the computer ringing in your order and some goof is next to you and gets a little sloppy with the elbow and starts boob-grazing you and pretending not to notice.
-All of these minor instances of bodily contact set off a spark of an idea in your head and you start to think “hey, good lookin!” whether you do it subconsciously or not. Cue the flirting that is sure to commence.
3. Most of us work the night shift. We arrive hungover and irritated at 4 pm or roundabouts and don’t clock out until 11pm or later. By the end of a harrowing night running our asses off and catering to the needs of finicky assholes, we’ve established some camaraderie with our co-workers. We’re ready to go HAM on a slew of shots at the closest saloon. “Hey Rachel, thanks for bailing me out earlier. That guy was such a douche-canoe. Let’s blow this joint and head to the bar across the street.”
This is where the problem begins to brew a lot more quickly than that piece of shit coffee maker. If you don’t go out to drink with your work-mates on that particular night, you’re bound to sometime unless you’re a hermit or you have kids to get home to. Depending on the grease-level of the joint you work at, even the people with kids hit the booze trough after a night slinging clam chowder and iced tea. So eventually you hit the baaaa (RANDOM BOSTON ACCENT! BOOM! DEAL WITH IT) and sip on your beverage of choice while re-hashing the night with your co-workers. This is the slippery slope, because everyone knows that your lecherous side is going to come creeping out at some point. Before you know it you’re brushing your arm against that chap or lass that is starting to look cuter than they did next to the soup station at the start of the shift, and then you’re sitting on his lap (or she on yours!) and so goes the night until you wake up the next morning in your co-worker’s bed with a giant hangover and only an hour to go back home and shower before having to return to work again WHERE THAT PERSON WILL BE, because they WILL BE THERE, day in and day out.
This is where I break out the caution sauce!
One night stands aren’t so bad and the awkward shame of having to look that person in the eye at work can be overcome should you not make the mistake of continuing to shack up with him/her. However, should you slip into the easy habit of working, getting off work, drinking with that person, going home with them for a romp in the sack and then going to work with them every day, you run the risk of making your situation MAD AWKWARD. Because let’s face it, once you’ve gotten intimate with somebody you work with, it becomes weird to say, “Hey can you hand me an appetizer plate” or “I need a side of veggies on that order” and then your comfort level at your own place of employment is forever compromised.
So just don’t do it. I’m not going to fess up and give you all the hairy details of my personal experiences, though I am going to warn you extraneously. By extraneous I mean “needlessly” or “pointless,” because I know you’re going to do it. If you work in a restaurant it has or will happen to you at some point or another. Fight it as long as you can, give it the good ol’ college try, because when you slip up and bang your co-worker (or multiple ones… yeeesh don’t ask me for advice I’m still working my way out of that one) your work environment will become every possible synonym for awkward, strange and OH BALLS.
Now get the hell out of my buggy. This is your destination and I know this because you told me when I picked you up on Mulberry Street. I’ll pick you back up some other time real soon. If you have something to say on the matter tape a note to the comment box at ze bottom of ze page.
Keep on keepin’ on.