I’m back, and with more stories of my incredible incapability of functioning as a well-adjusted member of human society! Of course, there are stories of that kind in abundance, but this week I have a few short anecdotes: one of my shortcomings, and a special treat where I actually critique the shortcomings of others.
Chapter 3: The Tangled “Tints”
A few weeks ago, I was hosting at my job, which has become unusual for me. (No, I don’t mean that it’s unusual that I work, or that I do work while at my job, thank you very much.) Typically these days, I serve, which means I’m a glorified drink dispenser/cash register, whereas hosts are glorified pointers (more or less, they point people where to sit) and janitors. At the restaurant I work, it’s standard for a person to come on as a host and then work their way up to serving, because serving is where the tips are–which can be good or bad, depending on how good you are at being a personal assistant to your table (or, how well you bring that coffee to Mr. Gruff and Unfriendly at 7AM). Cynicism aside, I do like serving, even when people confuse me with a person named “Ice Water.”
So how I had come to host a couple weeks ago is that I picked up a shift because no one else could take over the host shift (perhaps “no one else could take over” is misleading; more accurately, “the shift was beneath all the other servers who were available to take it”). Anyway, I was in a good mood, pretty giddy; I had just spent some time with my cute and awesome boyfriend (Have I told you about my cute and awesome boyfriend? Well he’s cute and awesome) and I hadn’t hosted in a few months, and while hosting is generally considered undesirable, it is rather easy and low-stress (“low-stress” being all very relative in the restaurant business, believe you me). It was kind of like a throwback to my old hosting days, and no matter how busy it got, all I’d be responsible for is seating guests and cleaning tables and that sounded like a pretty laid-back gig to me.
Anyway, so I was being my obnoxious caffeinated self, only without the caffeine, and as I was busing a table, I noticed someone left their aviator sunglasses there. “Aw, rats,” I said (it’s a family restaurant), and put them on my head as I finished cleaning the table. I continued to wear them up on my head for the next fifteen minutes to be amusing.
Well, a familiar face walked in the door just about then and I recognized her as the woman who was sitting at the booth that left the sunglasses. “Hey!” I said, “You came back for them!” She smiled and said whatever she said, and then I reached for the sunglasses, but…
The nose piece of the sunglasses somehow got tangled in my hair.
“Oh no, they’re stuck!” I said. “I was trying to be cute and wear them around but now they’re stuck…”
And to my absolute 100% relief, the woman said: “That happens to me all the time!”
I gave an awkward laugh and struggled to pull my hair away from the nose piece, but it just wasn’t untangling. To make it worse, they were, of course, on the top of my head, so I couldn’t see what I was doing, probably making matters worse and further entangling the poor woman’s aviators in my frizzy hair. “Here, can you figure this out?” I asked the woman, offering her the sunglasses (still attached to my hair).
And so that is how a stranger came to untangle her sunglasses from my hair while I was on the job. Fortunately (because knowing me, this story could have gone far south very quickly; it’s a miracle we didn’t have to bring out the scissors or the peanut butter or whatever superstition removes sunglasses from hair) the woman relieved her shades of me after a moment, and we laughed and parted happy ways. Wow. How did that all work out so well?
Chapter 4: Scholarly Sheep
So, the fall semester at my university just began this week. This sort of necessitates the whole “first day of class” charade, and so I had one of those– a first day of class, that is.
So on my first day of class, I went to the exactly correct classroom on the first try without any anxiety. (I wish. The building where my first class was in has two separate buildings both with the same name, so of course I played Russian roulette and chose the wrong segment of the building on the first try. Regardless, I did get to the correct classroom only shortly after my first blunder–er, “learning lesson,” if you will, as there are no such things as mistakes! for euphemists, which is a word I just made up to describe somebody who chronically uses euphemisms.)
As I approached the classroom, I noticed a herd of people waiting outside it. The light was off inside, and there was about ten minutes before class started. Now, this isn’t my first rodeo, and it certainly isn’t my first semester, so I know a thing or two about crowds waiting outside classrooms. A crowd can mean: 1. a class is currently in session in the classroom needed for the next class slot, 2. the door is locked, or 3. we’re dealing with sheeple. Sheeple? What’s sheeple? Sheep people. Herd mentality.
So I turned to someone near the door and said, “Are you waiting for room 143?” and the girl said, “Yeah.” Then I asked, “Did anyone try the door?” and the girl said, “No.”
Well, guess what. I waltzed right up to that door, opened it, flicked the lights on, and took a seat in the front row, everyone else who had congregated in the hallway streaming in behind me. I heard one girl mutter to her friend, “A class full of honors kids and no one thought to open the door.” Probably what had happened was that the first person was too timid to venture into the unknown dark classroom, and every subsequent student to approach the room figured the first student to wait knew what they were doing and just joined them. Whatever, it’s the first day of class.
Okay so if there’s a first day of class, then it follows there’s a second day of class (and it doesn’t take an honors student to understand that). On my second day of class, I approached room 143–same class as my first day–to the same herd of people milling about outside it. This time, I wasted not a moment’s breath and walked right up to that dark, closed room, opened the door, flicked the lights, and sat down, all the same sheeple filtering in behind me. It was an exact repeat of Day 1’s scenario!
Typically, when something happens where you are wrong, you recognize your mistake–or, “learning lesson”–and make adjustments. I don’t know what’s taking these honors kids so long to catch on to this whole pattern of “if the door is closed, try to open it”–maybe they are unsure about the opening mechanism of the door? It’s called a handle. Typically a person grasps it, pulls downward and towards themself in a somewhat fluid motion (the fluidity is not necessary so long as the motions happen, though), and that alleviates the portal of its obstruction, thus providing an available means of passage. Perhaps I need to describe the process to them in this jargon and provide diagrams as hand-outs, but I’m sure they all learned about doors in high school. I mean, it is a class full of freshmen but I’ve got to give them some credit; I mean, it’s doors for crying out loud. I know these kiddos probably haven’t heard of The Doors, but they’ve got to have heard about doors.
Anyway, it’s that whole “ooooh what if I try and it doesn’t work” fear of “failure.” Oh no, a closed door was locked. How embarrassing of you to attempt to use it and enter your assigned classroom. Almost as embarrassing as waiting outside an empty unlocked classroom for thirty minutes with a crowd of other timid students.