16 August 2009

16Aug- restaurant/customer chemistries then a digression

We had a particularly busy night tonight. And we all noticed a peculiar trend.
I've mentioned the necessity for a positive chemistry in this business, whether it be with restaurant-staff or staff-customer or even restaurant-customer. We have a personality as a whole and, within that personality, there exists personality cells that comprise our staff. Generally speaking there's a personality type that syncs well with our own and it seemed, oddly, that tonight sort of felt like a first date that was lacking. There was awkwardness and some pregnant pauses. Even among specific tables there appeared to be poor fits: couples who weren't talkative with each other. Body languages that suggested that their minds were elsewhere (each person leaned away from each other while they eyes flitted over everything but their companion.)
Things just seemed a little off tonight and the energy permeated everything. The result, of course, was stress. Which is the perfect time for latent stress and anger to come out. I've been a bit prickly lately, I think. Less able, or less willing, to be patient or show patience behind our office or kitchen doors.

How strange, how organic a being a restaurant can be. How independent of our control can a general mood be.

It occurred to me tonight, in the thick of things when there was much to be done and too little time and too few hands to accomplish them gracefully, the pointlessness of it. And I don't mean that in a depressive, dreary sense but only in the sense that outside of our walls, on the still rain-slicked roads of 5points, and Shandon, and Columbia, and South Carolina, there were probably very, very few people out there in the world who would be affected, right then, by the seeming chaos that reigned within. And that in no more than an hour (certainly no more than two), the running and the tension and the noise would all give way to a quiet, nearly empty restaurant. And shortly after that, just me as I finish paper work and straighten things and hear my footsteps and turn all the lights off to reveal a patchwork of shadows and blue/grey light that few have seen. And then the restaurant will be empty until it all happens again.

But sometimes a night will stick with you. Sometimes a night can change you. It can manifest itself in countless ways but sometimes, through the murky and dense forest of experiences that covers our memories, a phrase or a look; someone's smile or a heartfelt gesture will rise above that forest canopy, a tower of profundity and purpose, and become a part of your soul's vocabulary. An experiential phrase or thought you want to reference again and again.

Maybe, hopefully, this happened for someone in our restaurant tonight. Maybe someone left with their hearts a little fuller, their souls assuaged. Maybe somebody drove home feeling like more of a complete person.
That would be nice.

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