Disclaimer: For those of you who know me, I hope you are reading this with my general sarcasm in mind. For those of you who I have not had the pleasure of meeting, please know that these blogs are my simple musings that express my personal opinions and frustrations about some of my daily, random observations. As most of my friends and family are aware, I generally focus on the bright side of things. This is the place I have created in order to explore "the other side"…..Thanks for stopping by!
I think it’s truly a look to the bright side to be able to say, “it could be worse!”
I’ve spent many months marveling at the apparent joy that many of my friends express daily. Facebook has truly been the most profound conduit between myself and those who choose to ONLY look on the bright side. I feel like I’m constantly faced with status updates that quote world leaders like Nelson Mandella, and American Presidents like JFK or, of course, good ol’ standby, Ghandi….can’t go wrong there. I often wake up to a long stream of inspirational daily quotes about finding one’s own inner strength…….or how the power of giving teaches us true joy…..or how one can find God‘s divinity in a grain of sand….blah blah blah. I understand that this is a motivational tool for someone who is seeking positive motivation. I do it too, but in my own way……with a status update that goes something like, “Well, I guess it could’ve been worse.” However, when I do this, I often get an outpouring of support from worried friends trying to comfort me, and it’s confusing. I don’t really understand why it’s so sad to say, “Glad it wasn’t worse.” Yes, I guess it alludes to the fact that things may not be great…..or may even be straight up BAD, but Hallelujah!!! It could’ve been worse!
Let me give you some perspective on where I’m coming from…..
I’m an actress who owns a restaurant……..in Los Angeles…….down the street from my old acting job…….constantly surrounded by well known actors..…..while I’m covered in either ketchup or burger grease, depending on the day. To my working actor buddies, can you feel me here? Yes, I’ve built my own business, and yes, I’ve fought many good fights to make it a thriving one. However, I can’t help but feel that I’ve slipped in the ranks a bit. Perhaps that’s my own neurosis or perhaps it’s the realistic consequence of choosing a semblance of stability over “the dream.”
This year has been spent dealing with the laws, rules, regulations, tax rates and contractual obligations to the most broken city government in the country and the most unrelenting landlord we could possibly have been cursed with.
Also at work, I face daily struggles that lie mostly in the technological realm. Broken computers, tv’s sound systems, lighting, kitchen equipment…..basically anything with a cord. Let me give all of you non-restaurant people an example…..On any given day, if the computers go out, we are not only unable to ring in orders and send them to the kitchen or bar , where they in turn are made in a timely manner, but we are also unable to ring in credit cards. Now, while this presents a very real timing issue to our guests, it also creates the most fundamental system breakdown within the workings of a restaurant. Since I so rarely get the opportunity to express my creative side, let me break it down for you in script form…..
SERVER: Martha, I think the computer isn’t working…..it’s like stuck or something.
MARTHA: (Trying not to panic)…Okay, let me look at it.
(On Martha as she clicks on a couple buttons, then just unplugs and plugs the terminal back in. Computer reboots, but only to the windows screen. Alas, no POS (point of sale) software.)
MARTHA: (Trying not to cry, with shaky fake-leadership voice) Okay everyone, the computer is not working. Not sure why, but I’ll call our tech guy and see what I can do. In the meantime, use the manual credit card slips and the little manual-card-slider-thingy until I can figure this out.
SERVERS/BARTENDERS: (Overlapping, but in earshot of Martha) Crap. / This shit always happens. / I hate this freaking system. / Now what?
(Pan over to customer as she waves her arm at Martha signaling that she wants her check as Martha is clearly on the phone with tech support……)
MARTHA: (whispering into the phone to the tech guy) Is there any immediate way to pull up a check to print out for the customer that’s currently freakishly gesticulating 2 feet above her head that she’d like to sign a check?
TECH SUPPORT: uh nope…not yet. Sorry.
MARTHA: (to server) If you remember what they ordered, will you write it all out, add up the prices, times it by 9.75% and give it to them?
SERVER: Do we have a calculator?
MARTHA: (literally about to strangle the phone cord around the server’s neck, but continues on in the fake leadership voice, but slightly slower and higher pitched) Just..Look..In..The..Office.........I’m..Sure..You..Will..Find..One..There.
(On server as she walks to the office, Bartender approaches Martha….)
BARTENDER: Martha, table 24 is really pissed that they haven’t gotten their food yet.
MARTHA: Did you make sure the kitchen has their ticket? You know the system is down. You have to hand write tickets until it’s fixed.
BARTENDER: Oh crap!
MARTHA: (looking around the room for any sharp object, but restrains and whispers to herself) It’s ok. This WILL get fixed. It could be worse.
Now, to my readers, I ask that you imagine this scenario, multiply it by 250 guests on a Friday night, and then follow the thought up with an image of me reading a one-star review on Yelp.com the next morning that goes something like…..
Went to HH last night….OMFG, the service was sooooooo slow! Our server said the computers were down or something, but c’mon people! Get it together. I come into your restaurant, give you my money, and in return, they take like 10 minutes just to get me the freaking check. DIS…ORG…ANIZED! No thanks!
Well, I hope from this little Oscar-worthy short, you will learn a couple of things…
A) That people who Yelp like this on a website that affects the reputation and bottom line of a business, are DOUCHEY!! And if you’re one of them, redeem yourself and delete it!
B) That when computers break in a restaurant, you should only take it out on the server!! Not the business! Not the owner! Just the SERVER! That’s what they’re there for!
Now, to add another layer to being a small business owner, I’ve been forced to learn the importance of insurance. Currently, we are not only being sued for a slip and fall by a woman I think actually had a momentary lapse in balance, but also by a man in a wheelchair who has made a career by patronizing restaurants in order to find flaws in their ADA compliancy. He believes that we caused him $5000 worth of pain and suffering because the bathroom mirror was 2 inches too high. FYI, this guy made over $500,000 last year doing exactly this. However bad it gets though, everyday I still find the strength to know and understand that, “It could be worse.”
Is that wrong? I mean, it COULD be worse. I could be uninsured, I could be broke, I could be roofless….Hell, I could be mangled or paralyzed! I could be DEAD…..or worse, I could be single in LA! But alas, I AM insured, I DO have money, I DO have a roof, I’m NOT mangled or paralyzed, I’m alive and healthy……and thank God, I found someone dumb enough to marry me. So, since my reflexive comparison is between whether the computers crashing on a Friday night or death and destruction, then yes, IT COULD BE WORSE!! And sadly, yes, that makes me feel MUCH better ….because, for the most part, it’s because of ME that it’s NOT WORSE!
Now, I am aware that this may be a heavy way of thinking. 2010 was a heavy year for me! But I’ve looked it in the eye, kicked it in the balls, spit in it’s face and come out of it stronger than I’ve ever been in my life. For this, I can proudly say, IT WASN’T WORSE because I fought hard! With that, 2011, I’m not afraid of you! I’m ready, I’m charged, and I’ll kick your friggin ass if you make me do it! However, if you’ll go a little easy on me this year, I’d like to say about you that, “I could never have imagined a year this good! It couldn‘t possibly get better than this!”
Happy New Year!