The phone was ringing and ringing, but every time I answered it, a fax tone blared in my ear.
The private room was booked with a party of 26. Twice. No, you don’t understand, I don’t double book! Okay, I did once in D.C., but it worked out. This time I wasn’t so lucky, and I had 26 happy people munching away and another two dozen demanding to talk my GM because separate tables in the two main dining rooms were not at all acceptable.
My GM simply shrugged, walked away, saying over his shoulder, “Your mess. You deal with it.”
But wait, can you just get the phone? It won’t stop ringing.
“RG,” said the new host, giggling. “Um, someone is here to see you.”
“Yes?” I asked the woman standing in my foyer, a stuffed shopping bag in her hand.
“Here, this is yours,” she said, dropping the bag at my feet as she turned to leave.
“Wait, no, what is it?” I asked, almost panicking, because something inside the bag was moving. Something in it was alive! WTF? “Come back!” I shouted at her. But she never looked back.
I glanced down at the bag, watching in horror as two scraggly puppies scampered out of it. One ran toward the the podium, while the other zig-zagged through the dining room toward the kitchen.
“RG, you know you can’t have animals in here!” shouted the maitre d’.
“Oh my God, RG!” giggled the host.
“Help me get them!” I shouted to both of them.
But they wouldn’t. They walked away, too, laughing.
I grabbed the puppy by the podium, and he nipped at my hand. I didn’t care, because I had to find the other one.
“Your manager?” asked the woman who thought she had booked the private room, but who was sorely out of luck and very, very angry.
“I’ll be right back,” I told her, running through the dining room with the one puppy under my arm.
“RG, call on line one,” shouted someone.
“RG, what menu are we using for this party?” demanded the captain for this event. “Did you print them yet?”
“RG, get that damned puppy out of the kitchen!” yelled the chef from the line.
And just as the puppy I was holding wiggled free from my arms, and the phone continued to ring and ring, and the host kept giggling, and my manager locked me out of the office…
…I forced my eyes open. It took a second, but I felt the simultaneous relief of waking from a bad dream and knowing none of it was real.
Except for one thing that is real, and she is not part of anyone’s bad dream:
Welcome Rouletta to my life.
And happy 2nd anniversary to Restaurant Gal, the blog that chronicles my life, for better or for much better.
Much better, I hope.