Blog to Self

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Early Chicago Memory (before the trouble started)

I laughed loudly just now when I remembered the time when I had my very first job (of very few) as a waiter. It was a fine-dining type of place way out on the northwest side of Chicago run by a young Polish couple. I had taken a year off from college. They hired me knowing I was inexperienced but trusting that I would learn quickly as I went along--being the smart, worldly young man of the world that I was. It was a pretty nice seafood restaurant, and they had some kinds of fish I had never heard of. So on my second day I had the opportunity to inform one of the regulars (very sincerely, and innocently) that the special of the day was "orange roughly."

That was a lunch shift. The first time I worked an evening (not long after that) they ran a special of all-you-can-eat crab legs, advertised in the Chicago Reader. I was the only waiter, and besides me there was only the 'matron' of the house, who tended bar, and the chef. High-jinks ensued. I couldn't tell you how many tables were going at once -- it's all a blur. Definitely in the double digits. Some customers waited 45 min (or 1 hr 1/2?) for 'refills' of the all-you-can-eat crab legs. I must have gotten more than a little panicky and excited -- OK I was freaking out. I must have gotten impatient for orders in the back. The chef, a short, stocky Mexican, shook his knife at me: "DON'T YOU EVER RAISE YOUR VOICE TO ME IN MY KITCHEN!"...

Myself, I prefer orange gently.