Old Chapstick Ear

jacket: Old Navy dress: Emma & Michele necklace: vintage corazon brooch: manzanita plugs: Body Jewelry Source glasses: ARMY eyewear bracelet: vintage Hawaiian heirloom

Today is my day off.  As a diligent restaurant employee, I am never sure when my free time will come, what days I will have off, or if I will EVER have a weekend free.   I make plans basically assuming I will not be able to keep them.  That really, really sucks.  I am hoping that in the future, when I FINALLY open my Etsy store, that perhaps I will spend less time pouring beer and more time drawing pictures of things and people I love: letting my art support my income instead of being at the whim of some over-botoxed, mid-century cow and the troll-like thing she is calling her husband.  The fact of the matter is, my anxiety has only increased since I made the cruel but lucrative switch from food server to bartender.

One evening, about forty-five seconds after we had "officially" closed, I looked up from the bar to see a pack of young people at the front desk.  I was excited to see them being lead out the patio door, selfishly gleeful that I would not have to serve such a late-arriving table, hoping they were either going to be served outside by a server, or departing the premises completely.  If you have never worked in a restaurant or bar before, you will never know the sinking feeling mixed with angry nausea that occurs when a table comes in and demands to be served after we have closed.  I was glad I would not be experiencing it that evening, we had been incredibly busy and I was extremely tired.

I walked away for mere moments to wash some dishes, but when I returned I was horrified.  There they were, sitting in the bar.  They absolutely stunk of marijuana and had looks on their faces that reminded me of an angry pack of hyenas.  I approached and asked them for a drink order.  I casually mentioned that we were actually closed, but that if they knew what they wanted I could probably still get an order in.  It was then the ringleader of the tormentors spoke.

"Do you like...not want to serve us or something? Are you like wanting to go home? You have a real attitude."  It was then I noticed that instead of a plug in his stretched ear, he had a tube of Chapstick hanging from it.  I wasn't sure if I wanted to either choke him straight on, or involve the Chapstick somehow, shoving it down his throat.

"I'm happy to serve you, I'd just like to get your order in since technically both the kitchen and restaurant are closed." I'm trying to keep it together here.

"You keep mentioning you're closed.  I get it, you're closed."  He then burst into laughter.  I wasn't sure what to do, so I went and got started on drinks for them.  Of course, everything was hilariously funny to them, from the fact that we don't have Red Bull to the fact that I had no iced tea left.  I was going to say it was because we were closed, but I didn't want to interrupt anyone "getting it"...which was obviously code for "I am a douchebag."  At least that's what I thought.

They ordered the most expensive, timeliest things we have to prepare.  They spoke of nothing but their new Medical Marijuana cards, and the fact that I sucked in every way possible.  I forgot the cheese they never ordered, I wasn't moving quick enough and that's just what I overheard.  In what was probably one of the smartest moves I ever made, I insisted my supervisor visit the table.

Upon their departure I heaved a sigh of relief equal to the one I breathed when I found out Morrissey had rescheduled his cancelled shows for this year's tour.  I mean, I could have fallen on the ground I was so relieved.  The shocker of the whole thing: they tipped me.  They tipped me well.

The next day I had to open.  Touching all those things I had just put away the night before was cumbersome enough, but when I looked towards our front door I could not believe it.  There they were again.  I panicked like I had never panicked before.  I assumed they had come to complain about me, my service, our food or all of the above.  What I found out blew me away.

Apparently, there was a pack of young people breaking into cars in our common parking lot, shared with other establishments and large businesses.  A neighboring establishment had called the police to alert them.  Upon their departure from torturing the hell out of me, these folks were stopped by the police and searched, subsequently arrested and held overnight.  Now they were back at our restaurant because the police had informed them the call had come from our manager, and they were pissed.

I didn't approach the heated discussion that ensued at the front desk.  All I know is I am SO GLAD I had covered my ass by having drawn attention to the table.  I could see Old Chapstick Ear getting heated, pointing his finger and yelling about spending the night in jail, calling his father and having a lawyer.  We knew collectively we had nothing to do with any police communication.  They were forcibly made to leave. 

So our lesson here is twofold: firstly, a Medical Marijuana card may get you out of a possession charge but it doesn't help you when you reek of both pot and booze and are behind the wheel, especially while the cops are looking for car burglars who match your description.  Secondly, don't be a dick with a Chapstick in your ear.  Karma is a bitch.

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