Monday, August 16, 2010

Dining Hall... DH!

Ok, as you probably know, I work in the dining hall for Aspen Grove... what does being in the "dining hall" actually entail? Well, according to the Aspen Grove website, working in the dining hall means that you "Will be responsible for the care of the dining hall; stocking buffets; running and maintaining the dish machine; washing pots, pans, and heavy cooking untensils; vacuuming; sweeping and mopping floors and decks."

Ok, I will admit that that definition is pretty legit... but they did fail to mention some of the smaller things that we would have to deal with on a daily basis. They left out the small, annoying things that were likely to happen to us as we went about our day... the "messes" we would have to clean up...

Lets give the typical run down of my day, shall we?

I will start my day by walking into the kitchen, being confronted by grumpy Scott who will say something to me along the lines of "I'm done with you" or "Have I told you lately how much I hate you?" or I will run into my abnormally tall/freakishly awesome boss Scott. I will walk into the back and put on an apron. (At this point I am the only Dining Hall person there, because I am always early because I am a freak about being early... So I kind of take as long as possible putting on my apron.)

Next I wander into the dishroom, hoping beyond hope that today there won't be many dishes.... and then I am confronted by this....

I think to myself "oh-my-freaking-gosh-that-is-the-biggest-pile-of-dishes-i-have-ever-seen!" and then I look over to the counter where most people drop of their dishes and I see this...

(I wasn't actually in this picture, so I kind of drew myself in there... )

At this point I am about ready to curl up on the floor and give up... except for the fact that our floor is completely and utterly nasty and it smells like butt so bad... actually it is one of my greatest fears that one day I am going to fall and land in a puddle of nasty butt water. So I don't curl up and instead start doing the dishes.

After dominating the original pile of dishes, we then go and enjoy a our breakfast. We get rejuvenated, and we head back into the dishroom with a new motivation! We are ready to take on the world... we are ready to take on the world's dishes! We stand at the window with pride, tearing apart the dishes that come our way. BRING IT FREAKING ON, BABY!

WABBAM!! This is us, happy once again with the world, so cheery and happy to all who drop off their dishes.... and then reality hits.... small things start happening that wears on our happiness. People will start coming up to us with their trays loaded with their plates, their half eaten food, their trash... and just leave it on the counter. Most people at least scrape of their food into the trashcans that have been conveniently placed next to the counter, or put their silverwear in the little silverware holders that are also conveniently placed for the campers next to the window... but they don't. They just shove their food onto the counter and skip away merrily...

So we grudgingly scrape their trays for them, all the while smiling and saying "Thank you!" But soon, we can smile no longer. No more happiness resides in our bodies... the counter will be full of trays and cups and plates, and the people at the window will be loading and pulling the dishes off as fast as possible... but we just don't do it speedy enough for the campers. So what they do is they put an inch of their tray onto the counter, and slowly start sliding it forward.... slowly, centimeter by centimeter, they push the big pile of dishes towards us. They think that if they can do it slow enough, then it will be ok, but the reality is that we suddenly have all these disorganized dishes that are being pushed on top of our hands and we can barely even think because now we don't even know where to start on the dishes that were just shoved towards us and then .... we snap. At this point I do the only thing that I can do... rap about cups.

"CUPS WIKI-WIKI-WIKI-CUPS-WIKI-CUPS!!!!!!!!!!!!" I suddenly scream in the camper's face... they look at me with alarm written across their face, but I don't even notice because of my rage. I have snapped, I am ashamed to admit it... I can't think coherently... all I can do is try to get rid of these dishes that are driving me mad, but they never stop coming... and then another innocent camper will come up to us at the window and ask, "Um, can I get a to-go box?"

This is probably the most frustrating part of my day... when campers ask me to do stuff for them while I am doing their dishes. "Can you get me some ketchup?" "The cranberry juice is out, can you change it?" "Can you put down that dish you have been scrubbing for the last 17 minutes and wash your hands so you can go into the back room to grab me a to-go box, because quite frankly I would just adore eating outside today... could you?"

NO, FREAKING CAMPER, I CAN'T. Because I am trapped in this vortex of a dishroom, and I cannot leave for any reason... I can not leave to get a drink or to go pee because if I do then the whole entire dishroom will suffer because suddenly we are one man short and then every one else has to do what you have been doing so then they can't do their own jobs so then we suddenly finish 10 minutes late because I had to tinkle. So no, I can't even pee... but please, let me leave my station to get you that to-go box.

Wow... I sound so angry. Eh, well, I guess I will just keep it up while I am on an angry rampage, I guess....

I think that my personal favorite is when we run out of food. Suddenly we realize that we are completely out of waffles... so we go back to the cooks and ask, "Are there any waffles ready?" Of course, there are not, because there are NEVER waffles. Seriously, every week, we run out of waffles. You think that while prepping the next week for waffles, they would think to themselves, "Hey... you know what? I think for the last 7 weeks now we have run out of waffles every time we have served them... maybe I should make a few more this week?" .... but no, they don't think that, so every week we have to go out and endure the anger of the campers while the cooks stay safely tucked inside of their kitchen, well away from the camper's eye daggers that they so love to throw at us.

People will come up to me and tell me, "You are out of waffles. Did you know you are out of waffles? Because you have been for 4 minutes now."

I want to say to them, "Really? We are out of waffles? REALLY? Wow... I didn't even notice... even though its my job to stand here directly behind the buffet line to watch the food and make sure that waffles don't run out... I can't believe that I missed that waffles have been out for four whole minutes! Thank you so much for telling me!!" (ya, thats right, you sensed the sarcasm...)

But I don't. Partially because I'm a pansy and partially because I don't want to get fired. So instead I just say "I know, and I apologize. The waffles should be out in about 3 mintues."

My favorite was one time a woman walked up to me with three empty crocks and shoved them into my arms (as I was carrying a pan of mashed potatoes) and said, "We need more cucumbers, tomatoes, and croûtons." So I had to man handle the pan of the mashed potatoes into its little warmer while holding these three partially empty crocks, all the while the old woman is staring at me and asking "do you know how long it will be until I can get those back?"

At this point I throw the croûton container into her face... she falls and hits her head and as she lays writhing on the ground I sprinkle the crumbs from the croutons in her face...

Ok, that never really happened, but it came SOOOO close to happening, dear readers...... I'm telling you, this job makes me nearly snap in a way that no other job can. Sheesh.

By the end of the day, we look like this.

Wow this was exhausting, writing this blog, so I am going to conclude... but if there are any dining hall friends of mine that have anything to add to it, feel free to post a comment...

Sorry for the anger.

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