After frantically working to get the restaurant ready to open for lunch this morning, slicing lemons for iced tea, quartering lemons for seafood dishes (stuff that I usually don’t have to do), making salads and chopping 3 types of lettuce for salad mix, making 6 pounds of our fantastic butter blend (with sundried tomatoes, garlic, onions, oregano, etc.), brewing coffee, and folding some napkins in one hour, I received a phone call.
“What do you serve for lunch?” asked the woman on the other line. I scoffed to myself at the inconvenience of this question, seeing as I was essentially being asked to relay the entire lunch menu over the phone. I didn’t respond. I just waited for the lady to say something else. “I know you have the Chicken Napa, but do you do, like, have a daily lunch special?” I was already tired of this conversation…mostly because of the fact that I knew 8 people were about to walk in and I was the only one working. I shared the lunch special for the day with the woman, and said, “…and your choice of sweet potato fries, our regular fries, or soup.”
“What’s the soup today?” I had no idea. I hadn’t had the time to think, let alone check the soup kettle for what kind of soup we were serving today. “I’m sorry, but I do not know what soup we have today.” She says, “Well, if I order soup with my meal, will it be ready in a half hour when I come in to pick up a to go order?” “Of course. Like I said, we have soup today, I just don’t have the information in my head right now to relay it to you.” My customer service was not yet available either. She went on: “If I place a to go order now, will you know what soup you have today?” Seriously? I just told you I don’t know what soup we have, but you are still asking me about it? I asked her to hold on and I went to the kitchen to check what soup we were serving.
I got back on the phone and relayed the information to this fine woman. She then asked me if she could get a bowl of soup to go. I told her that we would put it in a styrofoam cup for a to go order. She asked how much she would get. I told her, “You will get as much as we give when we serve a bowl of soup”, while I rolled my eyes and wished I could just gouge them out. She completed her order just as the table of 8 people walked in, and told me they were just 6 people.
The lady who made the reservation for 8 people asked me if I was a Gingrich. I said, “No, but I do know someone named Gingrich.” She commented that she thought I was a Gingrich by the shape of my head. Do people say that? Out loud? That someone’s head reminds them of a family of people that they know?
I received a phone call at the end of the lunch shift from another woman who informed me she was coming in tomorrow for lunch. She asked, “Do you only serve what is on your website for lunch?” I replied, “I’m sorry, but I am not aware of what our website says is served for lunch.” Is this happening again? Is the woman just playing a joke on me that came in earlier? The woman listed the salads that are on the website: “Chicken Caesar Salad, 2 Chez Salad, Steak Salad, and Mediterranean Seafood Salad?” I told her that she was correct, and that we also serve a Fresh Tuna Salad, meanwhile I wondered why she thought that 4 completely different salads warranted a complaint about how limited our menu was. She asked if she could just get a normal salad, without meat on it. I told the woman that this would not be a problem, and she thanked me for answering her question.
I think that I was supposed to be learning patience today. I failed. Sometimes people can just be too much for me. Sometimes, when I’m in a bad mood or am stressed, or happen to have an ulcer, I have close to zero patience. It’s not fair to the people around me. I know that, but I’ve yet to figure out how to control it.
When I arrived home from work, I relieved the babysitter and planned for an equally stressful afternoon as a single parent (my wife was at work and then going to the doctor), especially because my 2 and a half year old son was napping on the couch and not in his room. Not usually a good thing (in fact, this has never happened, so it was all new to me).
He woke up and had peed his pants, and I wasn’t mad or frustrated or flustered. I just helped him change his clothes and we read a book and played with Lincoln Logs, if by played with I mean dumped them out and I started building a house while my son moved on to another, more enjoyable, activity (watching a show on the iPad). I was alone with both kids until 5:45 when we met my wife at a restaurant for dinner.
And I was just fine.
Maybe I did learn patience after all.