Tag Archives: community

The Dysfunctional Diners

18 May

Sometimes at work, I like to wait on dysfunctional families. And when I say “I like to wait on dysfunctional families” what I mean is “I really hate waiting on dysfunctional families in most circumstances, but when it is literally SO SLOW that I’m lucky to make 35 dollars, I like waiting on dysfunctional families because it gives me a source of entertainment.” Yesterday was one such day.

Outside of the bar area of the steakhouse, there is this little antique phone hanging on the wall above two chairs and a small cocktail table. Most people walk by the phone and don’t even acknowledge its existence. Sometimes people will say “Oh what a cute little phone!” and that’s the end of it. And then sometimes, but ONLY sometimes, will a family of four walk into the bar, only to have the younger of the two sons break away and say, “LOOK AT THAT PHONE MOM! ITS ANCIENT!” and the mom will screech and get out her iPad to take a photo of the kid climbing onto the chairs and putting his shoes on the table just to reach the phone, yank it off of the wall, and take a picture.

Already I knew… this was it. This family was going to be my source of entertainment for the night.

Now in order to fully let you understand what I was dealing with, I need to describe these people.

Over-Worked Father: Dressed in an Ohio State T-shirt with a receding hairline and a forehead that looked like it was made of turtle skin. (Tight, yet very wrinkly and malleable.) He looked like he had been forced to listen to the My Little Pony theme song (the 80’s version, not today’s version) on repeat for six years prior to entering this upscale steakhouse. He looked angry. He looked aggressive. He looked defeated.
Enabling Mother: Wearing a t-shirt covered by what I could only imagine was a jacket made from llama shavings. She had puffy blonde hair, but her inch-and-a-half roots were black and growing out. She was not excited to be in the steakhouse. She reminded me of the mom on American Beauty…. smiling, trying desperately to keep everyone together when everyone would much rather be three states apart in each direction. Seeing her smile actually made me sad.
Satan: Satan is the older of the two brothers. Wearing swim trunks and a gray t shirt, Satan literally did not smile ONCE in the two hours he was seated at this steakhouse. Literally, Not. Once.
Sid: I have named the younger of the brothers Sid because he literally was Sid from Toy Story.

Sid-toy-story

Literally. This face. That voice.

So after Sid climbs onto the cocktail table to violently claim the antique phone, and after Enabling Mother takes the picture, the four of them sit down at a table. Already I can hear the muffled anger coming from their direction. Satan throwing his arms into the air and violently sighing, pushing so much air out of his lungs that Enabling Mother’s fluffy hair actually billows a bit from sitting across from him.

My coworker Lucas looks at the table, then looks at me.

Lucas: Have fun.
Me: Jesus take the wheel.

I grab four beverage napkins, and approach the table. I start to give myself a pep talk… I am smiling! I am happy! Maybe I can help this family stop fighting and make their meal really awesome, so they’ll leave happier than when they came in! I am an amazing employee and I can do this! There is a reason our company calls their employees “Stars!” AND I AM THAT REASON!!!

I inhale to greet them, and-
Enabling Mother: Will you two just SIT DOWN?
Satan: (Speak-yelling at Over-Worked Father in such a disrespectful tone I was surprised that no one physically assaulted him) YOU TOLD ME I COULDN’T BRING MY HEADPHONES TO DINNER AND NOW HE HAS HIS! (motions to Sid)
Sid: (Headphones in, playing a game on his smartphone that is larger and more high tech than my own phone. He is 8. He is not only completely unaware of this conversation, but also of me standing there beside him, beaming.)
Over-Worked Father: What were you going to use them for, anyway? Hm?
Satan: I ALREADY TOLD YOU. I was gonna watch YOUTUBE VIDEOS.
Over-Worked Father: And you? (looks at Sid) Hey!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: HEY!
Sid:
Over-Worked Father: (gestures) SID!
Sid: (Looks up only because Over-Worked Father waved his arms)
Over-Worked Father: SID WHAT ARE YOU USING THE HEADPHONES FOR!?
Sid: (Takes out one, ONE, of the ear buds. He sighs.) I’m playing a game. DOY!
(Heightened silence while Over-Worked Father seems to be deciding which sound he hates more. Game VS YouTube. Finally he looks at Sid with eyebrows raised.)
Over-Worked Father: Sid? (As if to say… C’mon, Give your brother the headphones.)
Sid: (Already has the earbud back in and is playing his game. He is unaware of everything.)

Keep in mind I am STILL standing at the table, smiling, just watching all of this. Beaming. Smiling like this is the sweetest conversation I have ever heard in my entire life, as if this earbud saga is the most heartwarming tale of selfless love to ever touch my little cocktail waitress heart.

Enabling Mother: (Looks up at me with a huge smile.) Well… We aren’t spoiled, ARE WE? Ha ha ha HAHA! …Ha… um.

Silence. I am still standing there smiling, waiting to see if there will be ay other protests or interruptions before I speak. There are none.

Me: SO! How IS everyone today? Just wonderful? Fantastic! My name is Carolyn and I’ll be serving you today!
Family: Blank stares from everyone except for Sid, who is playing his game and not looking at anyone. Satan is giving me a look of pure evil and hatred.
Satan: FINE! Well I’M JUST GOING TO WATCH YOUTUBE AND YOU ARE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT!!!!!!!
Enabling mother puts her hands over her eyes. Over-Worked Father stares at a crumb on the floor.
Me: GREAT! May I start you all off with something to drink? Maybe some beer? (I shoot this at Over-Worked Father. He looks at me like I am his only key to salvation.)
Over-Worked Father: I’ll take a Sam Adams.
Enabling Mother: I need wine. A nice, dry red wine.
Me: But of course. And for you sir? (Talking to Satan)
Satan still has his arms crossed and is giving me the look of poison.
Me: MAYBE A KIDDIE COCKTAIL!!!
Satan: (Jaw drops to reveal uneven bottom teeth.)
Enabling Mother: Just a round of waters for them.
Me: Of course! I’ll be right back!

I can’t handle this. I can’t do it. I have never wanted to punch a child so much in my entire life. If I go back over to that table and Satan is still giving me that look, I will be FORCED to asked if there is ANYTHING I can do to make his dining experience more to his liking… I will ask him why he is so angry, and I WILL do it with a smile, and I WILL do everything in my power to make him stop looking like such a miserable little garbage can.

I deliver the waters, making sure to smile at Satan the entire time.
Me: So, does anyone have any questions about the menu?
Silence. Dead, still, silence. For a moment I wonder if I’m invisible. I wonder if I actually asked the question out loud, or if I just thought I did… Maybe I’M the awkward one here, just showing up to their table not saying anything at all…
Over-Worked Father: (To Satan) NO, actually I am POSITIVE that a potato is a vegetable.
Satan: NO IT ISN’T. A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
Over-Worked Father: Yes. It is.
Satan: NO. It ISN’T.
Enabling Mother: It’s a starch.
Satan: SEE DAD? SEE DAD I TOLD YOU A POTATO IS NOT A VEGETABLE.
(Over-Worked Father looks at his wife as if she is literally the dumbest person in the world. In just one look, I can tell that he is so disgusted at how his life has played out- that he has actually CHOSEN this woman to be his life partner, that he CHOSE to procreate with her above literally EVERYONE ELSE in the whole world, that his next words erupt from his mouth with such resentment and hatred I’m afraid the next topic of conversation will be custody rights. Custody Rights where both parents fight about who HAS to keep them.)
Over-Worked Father: Just because it is a starch doesn’t mean it isn’t a vegetable.
Me: (Beaming!)
Enabling Mother: Whatever. Either way, you need to eat healthier.
Over-Worked Father: I am on vacation, I will eat however I please.
Enabling Mother: (Finishing a gulp of wine) Oh, you’re on vacation? You’re at a work function. Please.

I actually witness Over-Worked Father picking and choosing his battles. He looks at the menu. And I am still standing there, waiting for someone to answer my question.

Over-Worked Father: Satan? What do you want to eat?
Satan: I already TOLD YOU, I want WINGS.
Over-Worked Father: (Death stare. I suddenly realize where Satan has learned his facial expressions.) They don’t have those here. Get the kids fillet. It’ll be the best thing you ever eat.
Satan: I don’t WANT IT.
Enabling Mother: Okay, you know what? They don’t have wings! Okay, fine, nothing. He will have nothing. I am going to have the french onion soup and the wedge salad.
Me: Very good!
Enabling Mother: Sid?
Sid: (Playing his game)
Me: (Beaming at Sid)
Enabling Mother: (Punches him on the arm.) HEY! Mac n’ cheese?
Sid: (Barely responds. I think I may have heard him say “Mm.”)
Enabling Mother: Mac N’ Cheese for him.
Over-Worked Father: I am going to have the Salmon. GOD I’m at a steakhouse and I’m getting SALMON.
Me: Actually our salmon is phenomenal. You won’t be disappointed.
Enabling Mother: (Ignoring me) Make sure you ask for the lentils on the side. I won’t eat those.
Over-Worked Father: Whatever, they’re big. I’ll move them away, it’s not a big deal.
Me: (Thinking “Our lentils are actually tiny, but I’m not going to say that for fear of getting stabbed.”)
Enabling Mother: (suddenly sweeter than ever) Satan? Honey, are you’re sure you don’t want anything?
Satan: (Stares at her. Pouting. Mutters-) …Ids Illay.
Enabling Mother: What was that!?
Satan: (Yelling) KIDS FILLET.
Me: (Looking directly at Satan himself) And how would you like that prepared, young sir?!?!
Satan: (Pure evil. Poison is leaking from his eyes.)
Enabling Mother: Medium well.
Me: Fantastic! I’ll get that right in for you, and I’ll also bring some fresh bread and butter for the table.
SID: YUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!
Me: (Wanting desperately to say “Wait- you can hear me! You can SEE me!?” I walk away.)

When I bring the bread to the table, Sid hulks out. He RIPS the earbuds out of his head and lunges for the bread, as if he hasn’t eaten in six weeks. With every inhale it sounds like he’s slurping something- which is quite a miraculous feat because he is ingesting BREAD, and with every exhale there is an audible vocalization of “Mmmm.” It’s a rather disturbing cycle, but no one addresses it. Meanwhile, Satan is sitting in his chair like a frog. The bottoms of his shoes are actually on the seat of the chair, and any time he wants to drink his water, he literally springs up, puts his hands on the table, and bends over to put his mouth on the straw… instead of just picking up the glass and bringing it to his mouth like any other normal person on the planet. No one addresses this either.

When their food finally does come, I watch intently to see what happens. I watch to see if Satan does, indeed, like his KIDS FILLET. He does. Obviously, you’re gonna like the kids fillet, you ungrateful, unwanted, rat-faced collection of disappointments and broken dreams. You’re at one of the best steakhouses in Orlando and you’re eating a 5 oz fillet! And even if it IS prepared medium well, thanks to your insane to the membrane mother, it’s going to be the best thing you eat all week.

So, that’s basically the end of the story. Once the food came everyone kind of shut up and ate, and the only thing that was semi-amusing about them at this point was when Sid grabbed the black dish that held their side item, and screamed, in the EXACT voice of Sid from Toy Story, “IS THIS MADE OUT OF IRON????” Over-Worked Father tipped 20 percent and they all decided to GTFO. I think he was appreciative that I didn’t announce that we had dessert options… instead, I discreetly handed him the dessert menu out of view of his spawn and said, quietly, “In case you’re interested…”

It’s sad, but I’ve come to realize the importance of alcohol mixed with some good food when it comes to dysfunctional families. Usually by the end of the meal I can have people laughing and actually interacting with each other without arguing anymore. And yet, with this family, I was just happy that no one got slapped… by me. I hope the rest of their business trip/vacation(???) fared better than that atrocious meal, but I won’t hold my breath. I bet Sid is still sitting somewhere right now playing his game and slurp-breathing, and Satan is watching YouTube with that disgusted look on his face, Enabling Mother is looking through a magazine at the body and life she’ll never have, and Over-Worked Father is answering emails and wondering where his life went wrong. It’s really sad to think about these families like this once they’re gone, so I try not to. I just bring them their check, and hope for the best. I have to pay my bills, you know.

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There’s A Special Place In Hell For People Who “Like” Sad Statuses

14 Oct

Day 34 of the 90 in 90 blog challenge.

As a writer, I like writing humorous things. I like writing funny anecdotes about my life and the people in it, in hopes of retaining my generally positive and not-so-serious outlook on life, while perhaps also hopefully brightening someone else’s day. I am not one to write about the upcoming election, human trafficking, or the shortcomings of our school systems. Those things are not funny, and honestly, they make me feel uncomfortable, at least. However, sometimes I am faced with a social issue that really affects me, deep down to the core. And I can’t help it, I have to address it in the written word. It is the only way I know how to try to make sense of these things, to me. And so, I’m going to use this blog post to really address a serious social issue, one that’s been really making me feel uncomfortable with the human population as a whole.

What is up with people “liking” terribly depressing statuses? No. Seriously. I cannot TELL you how many times I’ve gone online to find the most tear-jerking status ever recorded, and then sure enough BAM there are three jerk jockeys who “like” it. For example:

Everybody please pray for my father. He has just been diagnosed with *insert absolutely horrible disease here*, and it’s just been a really hard time for my family.
6 people like this.

Okay. Let me first, just…take this in…. (Ten second pause.)

Alright. Now that I’ve let that soak in… I just have to know who these six world class douche bags are. So, if you’re one of these people, just know that I am judging the CRAP out of you when my mouse scrolls over the “6 people like this” and your name pops up. Because… Are you serious? You LIKE this status? Oh you do? Oh really? You actually get enjoyment out of the fact that this person’s father is currently suffering, while you are currently scratching your upper thigh, drinking a beer, and “liking” statuses on Facebook? Okay. Cool. You know what? I DO hope they serve beer in hell. For your sake.

Hey facebook friends. I’m really struggling as far as my future/career direction is concerned. I could really use your prayers. Thanks.
12 people like this.

So let me get this straight… There are 12 people out there who get pleasure knowing that this person is questioning their future so deeply that they have now resorted to asking for prayers? You… like this?

But maybe I’m being too hard on people. Maybe they “like” this because they, too, are questioning their own future/career paths, and this status makes them not feel so alone. In that case, I would have to say stop being such a lazy piece of worthless lard, and type all of that into the comment box, instead of “liking” the fact that this person is struggle bussing it through their early 20’s.

This also works for changed relationship statuses. For example:

So-And-So went from “in a relationship” to “single.”
9 people like this.

Here’s the thing. I don’t even care if the newly single person “likes” it themselves. It’s still a broken relationship, and unless their ex was abusing them to the point of bodily or emotional harm, they’re probably not celebrating this. And heck! Even if they were in an abusive relationship, I bet you they’re still going to go through a time where they are sort of sad about it. PLEASE NOTE: I am in no way saying that we shouldn’t be happy about abusive relationships ending. I’m all for people being healthy and making healthy choices, and weeding out the disgustingly toxic people in their lives. I’m just saying that ALL relationships are messy, no matter how “good” or “bad” they are as a whole. And when any relationship comes to an end, there is usually a semi-depressing aftermath. The person whose changed relationship status this is, well… They’re probably going to feel a little sad at some point. They’re going to have lonely nights, sad times where they look back on the good and feel like they made the wrong choice, or that they could have been better, or done better by the other person. Let’s be honest: They probably aren’t going to go leaping through the streets, setting off confetti cannons and passing out “It’s Over” cookies, screaming “I AM COMPLETELY ALONE IN THIS WORLD!!!! WOOOO!!!!” So, in conclusion: To the 9 of you who whole-heartedly approve of this depressing grieving process, I’d like to take a moment and wish you a nice big “I hope you nine die alone in a cold, wet place.”

Rest in peace Patches. You were the best first dog a boy could ever hope for. I will miss you and love forever.
24 people like this.

WOAH!!! I didn’t realize I was living in a society that is so full of first-pet-ever haters!!! BUUUuuuuT, now that I’ve seen that 24 people are against, you know… dogs, I get it now. But hey! Maybe those 24 people were “liking” the fact that this person will “love and miss” Patches… forever. And to that I would have to say… do you scum heads realize how long forever is? This person is essentially stating that for every day that they live on this earth, a part of their heart will pine and yearn for their dead dog. Every day. And you like this fact? Okay. Cool. I hope someone drops a shovel on your bare foot… forever.

Like, I am actually convinced that if I were to write really depressing statuses, no matter if they’re true or not, there would be at LEAST three people who would “like” it. Seriously. I’m gonna try it:

I hate myself too much to go outside today.
11 people like this.

I went to college to be an artist for four years, and now I feel completely lost and ultimately confused about what I want out of my life, as a whole.
7 people like this.

I’m really self conscious of my fat arms always.
15 people like this.

Today I found out that my pet cat who “ran away” didn’t really run away. My dad found her dead in my neighbor’s bushes, and then proceeded to throw her in the woods to decompose in peace.
25 people like this.

No. No, you know what? Let’s just ALL try it. Why not!? Everyone just post something REALLY depressing, true or completely fictional (your choice), and then sit back and enjoy seeing who the sick, scum-licking joy suckers of your lives are. Then, I think you can take it from there.

But I, for one? I will be doing some SERIOUS de-friending.

An Open Letter To The Kings Island Skunk

20 Aug

Skunk
Patch of Trees Behind Showplace Theatre
Dumpster #3
King’s Island
Mason, OH

Dear King’s Island Skunk,

Hello. You probably don’t know who I am, so let me first start this correspondence with a brief greeting and introduction. My name is Carolyn Barry, and I have recently joined the cast of Hot Summer Nights. We are performers at Kings Island, which is the very loud and probably stressful place where you have recently decided to reside. I am writing to you because I have a few concerns, and would like to discuss them in a professional and mature manner.

First of all, let us first address the fact that you are a skunk. Skunk, I don’t think you are aware of how uncomfortable you make people feel. Now, I’m not one to just “tell it like it is” to someone I barely know, as I feel that is generally rude and socially unacceptable. But I think I’m willing to make an exception in this case. Skunk, correct me if I’m wrong, but… I feel like you are one of those people who walks into a party and everyone immediately starts drinking their drink and acting like they’re having a really important conversation with the nearest possible person, just in hopes of avoiding you. I’m sorry your life has been this way, Skunk. I’m sure you feel really lonely sometimes. I bet you feel like no one cares. I bet even sometimes, you wish someone would, you know, ask you if you’d like a fresh beer from the fridge, or even ask you to casually accompany them to the bathroom while they powder their nose. But you see, you kind of have this rather… inconvenient habit of blasting people who annoy you with a repulsive, disgusting, potent liquid that could possibly cause death by immediately convincing your victim to commit suicide. And that’s fine. I mean, everyone has their ONE thing that no one can really stand about them, you know? Some people answer their own questions before you can answer them (Layke Jones.) Others are just really loud without really trying to be TAYLOR! And we accept these people, and love them anyway. Skunk, I just feel like if you continue this habit, you will always feel alone. And I don’t want that for you, Skunk. I want you to be happy.

Because you see, the reason I’m writing this letter is because I care about you. I know it may not seem that way. I know that when I come off stage and obnoxiously stomp back to the green room, past the dumpsters and small patch of wooded foliage that you now like to call “home,” and I scream things like, “GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WAY SKUNK I’M COMING FOR YOUR SMELLY BLACK ASS!!!!” it may not seem like I care. But I do. I want you to feel happy, and safe, and secure with your current residential situation. And hey, for the most part, I think we’ve really done well so far! We kind of have our own little system, don’t we, Skunk? I let you rummage through the dumpsters while I’m performing, and you let me walk by you afterwards without dousing me in potent liquid acid. Everyone wins.

But Skunk, I have to say, I was rather disappointed with your actions today. You see, I’ve been going through a lot, Skunk. I know you probably won’t understand any of this, but I want you to know that I’ve been very stressed out lately at work. I’ve had to learn a whole new show and go into it acting like I know what the heck I’m doing, when in reality, I’m doing the entire performance completely live. Sometimes I get so nervous, I feel like I have three potato chips stuck in my throat. ESPECIALLY when my supervisors and bosses come to see me perform in the new venue. So, as you can imagine, when it comes time to sing my solos, I want the air around me to be clean, and fresh, and very breathable. But today, as I was performing the second show of the day, I smelled something a little… off, Skunk. I smelled a smell. I smelled a smell that smelled… smelly. And do you know what this smell was, Skunk? Do you?

Skunk, I’m really sorry that someone made you feel uncomfortable today. I’m sorry that, for whatever reason, you felt seriously threatened for your life, and had no other choice but to shoot exploding fumes out of your ass. Really. That must have been awful for you. But do you know what was awful for me, Skunk? What was awful for me was that while your daily scavenge for assorted pieces of trash was interrupted, my performance of Hot Summer Nights was interrupted… by the inability to breathe oxygen.

We live in America, Skunk, which means that you are free to choose to live wherever you see fit. I support your freedoms, Skunk. But what I don’t support? Is your choice to live in THE BIGGEST THEME PARK OF THE MIDWEST. If the presence of the human race makes you feel that uncomfortable and stressed out, maybe you should, oh, I don’t know, NOT LIVE IN A THEME PARK.

But you know, maybe the allure and convenience of the dumpsters is just too much for you. You know? Maybe it’s just like, one of those difficult decisions that people have to make when choosing a new home: “Well, honey, we literally live in the domestic violence capitol of the world, but JUST LOOK AT THE VIEW!!!” I get it. You give some, you get some. And I’m not asking you to move, Skunk. I’m not. I’m just suggesting that maybe, just maybe, you should reevaluate your life choices a little bit. Reassess your priorities, Skunk. Because I’ll tell you right now… We are NOT going to get along if you continue to spray your emotional defense mechanism onto the stage. It’s just… not going to work out between us. That’s all I’m saying.

I am really sorry that you had a bad day, and I hope whoever made you feel uncomfortable learned their lesson. I’m sure they did. I actually hope you sprayed the 8 year old boy I saw walking around earlier with a shirt that read, “Nice story, Babe. Now go make me a sandwich.” And I do really hope that from now on, we can all just get along. If you don’t decide to move, due to the fact that you, oh, I don’t know… have three unseen skunk pups hidden in that tiny patch of trees and underbrush, I understand. Relocating can be not only financially demanding, but also emotionally straining for the whole family. I just want you to understand that we humans can’t always change our entire schedules to accommodate you, Skunk. We kind of have our own shit to worry about, you know? Like, where we can find the nearest Dippin’ Dots cart. You chose to live at King’s Island. Not us. (Annnnd now that I think about it, you may actually be mentally unstable. And that would really explain a lot…)

Regardless, I do apologize for the inconvenience of living at a theme park, and hope that none of this has seriously offended you. I also hope that if we ever see each other again, we will be able to be mature about this whole smelly situation (haha, see what I did there!?), and face each other with a mutual respect and slightly fearful adoration.

Sincerely,
Carolyn Barry
Hot Summer Nights
Live Entertainment Dept.
King’s Island
Mason, OH