Along with working in the restaurant industry comes by far the most enjoyable byproduct of work...
We are a band of brothers, as Shakespeare might say.
We may not have a great war (unless you count the battle against unruly and obnoxious customers)
No great depression either, as each shift ends with jubilation and revelry.
But enough with paraphrased quotes.
What I do love about my job is the shift beer, the trips to the after hours clubs, maybe even an after party at some poor soul's home.
In every restaurant I have worked at there is the core group, the servers that watch each other's backs.
It is almost comparable to the brotherhood one would find in the military.
You have your veterans, your loudmouths (guess who this pertains to), funny guy, drama queens and rookies.
It's hard for a rookie to get in, you have to prove yourself.
It's kind of like 'Nam, you don't want to get to know a newbie as they very well might not be there tomorrow.
As much as some people like to rattle of on how anyone can wait tables I'd say at least 30% that try wash out.
And I'm not talking about idiots, I'm talking about law students, pre-med, graduate students and even grads looking for an extra buck.
It takes moxie!
But I digress.
You can usually see us out at a local dive, or even a trendy spot.
We're easy to spot, we're the only sober people at 10:30 at your bar and its a pretty diverse group.
Of course the sober part we're looking to remedy.
Usual drink is high end, Scotch, Martini's, or Microbrews.
Followed by lots and lots of shots, preferably Jagermeister.
Somehow we have to erase the memory of the asshole at table 21 or the clown who showed up with fifteen people on a Saturday night with no reservation.
But like any battle, members come and go.
Veterans take off at the drop of a hat, fired, quit, whatever the reason.
If you see them out its never quite the same.
They aren't in your business anymore, or have joined another group.
There seem to be parallel groups as well.
Kind of like a bizarro dimension.
We see the same people out all the time, no matter where we go.
We whisper to ourselves that they're from this restaurant or that.
Sometimes we see old members, but at best you get a knowing nod.
Membership has its privileges.
Waiters who would scoff at helping others soon seem to be doing what they can to help you out.
And the favor is returned.
We back each other up even when wrong.
In a workplace culture when the customer is always right and we always say yes this is all we have.
We cover each other's shifts and shortcomings.
A waiter is always above management to another waiter, the lockeroom leaders are the ones who lead from the front, not make policy from the back.
Rounds of drinks are often bought, no squabbling over separate checks when we are out.
If we all go out the tipping we do is obscene.
We believe in Karma.
Some people aren't allowed membership.
Those who don't pull their weight or are unnecessarily obnoxious are left behind.
If someone in the group has a problem with someone it quickly spreads to the other members.
Whispers of "don't invite so and so to the party" and other exclusionary tactics are reserved for those at the opposite end of the hierarchy.
At times we have even been known to travel in packs when leaving another restaurant for the "hot new place."
For a time the staff at our place primarily consisted of the former staff's of three different restaurants.
But alas it is all temporary like so many relationships.
While good friends are met, the number of acquaintances far outnumber close friendships.
It was good to have them, but someday they'll be the ones acrossed the room giving a knowing nod.