Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Dancing Busboy

I have been told by supervisors on more than one occasion that I lacked a "sense of urgency." I wonder, as I lay on the couch now and ponder their words, just what they meant. The first time I heard these words came when I worked as a busboy for Red Lobster restaurant.

I remember the first table that I cleared. I walked slowly to the table and picked up each glass and piece of silverware individually, raising them up close, inspecting them, then dropping them into the gray rubber tub. Then I wiped the table in wide, careful arcs. I brushed out the chairs gently, stepping back to assess the job. It took about 20 minutes. Afterwards, I looked into the tub with satisfaction and counted up the booty.

"Yyyyep, I cleared 6 glasses, 4 plates, and 16 pieces of silverware."

Then I swaggered off to the next table, toting that gray tub like it was a suitcase of 100 dollar bills.

The manager had a little talk with me about my speed of service. He stated that I did my job appropriately, but that I needed to work on a "sense of urgency." I didn’t grasp the exact meaning of his words at the time.

Later, but before my exit interview, I saw an ad in the paper for my restaurant. It read:

"Looking for a busboy who knows how to hustle."

I recall reading the post (slowly) and thinking,

"Hu. But I’m the busboy. I wonder why they want another one. And why do they want one who can dance?"