“Isn’t it funny that you work in a place where we go for a weekend off?” my friend said. Yeah, very funny.
The guests, who come to the restaurant located on one of the tiny islands in Espoo archipelago, sigh how the building is lovely, the atmosphere peaceful, and nature so very beautiful. I see the dust, the wine stains on the tablecloths and the leaning towers of dirty plates in the kitchen.
I have to deal with groups where one person is gluten free, the other wants to have salad as the side instead of potatoes, kids want burgers but this one does not want any tomatoes and that one does not like onions and this kid wants only the bread and the beef… And actually, we want the wine later, bring it when the main course arrives. I, as a waitress, would like to say: “Not possible, the kids should learn to eat vegetables and I have no time to run back and forth with the wine bottle”. But instead I say: “Of course, I’ll make it happen”. All the time I know that in the kitchen the order will be regarded as if it announced that our chef’s paycheck was going to be halved. He will look at me crossly: “Are you kidding me?”
Why do the people have to be so difficult? Why is not the menu we offer enough? Why do they not understand that they are making my day terrible? Why does everyone think they deserve special treatment?
Of course they think they deserve special treatment. They are enjoying their day off, maybe they are on a holiday. Maybe they made a day trip to the archipelago, or stayed a whole week, or maybe they just came to relax after work. They have reserved some time just for themselves to sail to the island and enjoy a nice meal. It is their time to treat themselves. They pay for us to make their special moment special.
After all, I am working in an idyllic restaurant with a beautiful view. Hundred years old wooden pavilion looks out to the sea. Flags wave to the passer-bys and a handful of boats float by the deck. Nature decides whether we are going to have terrace full of people drinking beer in the evening sun or close early because of the storm that keeps everyone locked into their houses. It is a place where one can break free from the routines.
Sometimes, when I am working my ass off, splashing stinking dishwater on myself in a hurry and sweating in my polo shirt, I forget that I too want the same luxury – want to feel special – when I’m not working.
I am not on a holiday, but the others may be.