I recently discovered that I really feel comfortable in most restaurants. Like, I would hang out at the bar at the Cheesecake Factory for hours, just watching what was on TV and not talking to anyone (obviously my anti-chain bias doesn’t matter here). I didn’t realize that I was weird for feeling this way until my friend Mike broke it to me.
I would normally chalk it up to the fact that I was a server for many years, in a variety of restaurants, and for the most part — I liked doing that. I get a sense of satisfaction from taking care of people. At the most recent restaurant I worked at, Matts’ Rotisserie and Oyster Lounge in Redmond, WA, clocking out after a long night shift was often followed by taking a seat at the restaurant’s awesome bar and partaking in a glass of wine. This was probably my favorite part of the shift.
Now, I enjoy a glass of wine at home on my own just fine. But when I’ve had a really hectic, shitty day, I find myself heading to the Cheesecake Factory or some other restaurant, sitting at the bar, and just having a glass of wine. The busier the restaurant is, the better. For some reason, this beats out almost every other form of relaxation I’ve tried, from exercise to video games. Wine at home is not the same. There is just something about being able to be silent and still and alone in the midst of all that chaos, enjoying a great red from the west coast.
I now know that this makes me weird … but oddly enough, I’m okay with it. And, it’s not like every restaurant I’ve ever worked in — and had that post-shift hangout in — was some upscale wine bar or something. I’ve worked in small bars populated by locals in a small college town (and students on gamedays) and enormous fast-casual chains, as well.
Any other ex-servers feel this way? I’m curious to know if I really am weird (Mike’s never worked in a restaurant, so he can’t give me his perspective).
Photo from paulaloe’s Flickr page