I'd done a few catering gigs with Maddie last month. Usually they were uninteresting nights but a great way to make a few bucks. Admittedly, I would have made more if my service style was more friendly and smiley and outgoing, and less "Take your shrimp tempura, and don't glare at my boobs too long" but in the end I don't think it cost me that many dollars. I've never really waitressed before, so the only direct experience I have serving is at the coffee shop, where a certain level of snarky detachment is OK since nobody spends too long at the counter anyway.
I felt like I was starting to get the hang of it heading into last night's event when everything suddenly went tits up (so to speak). Our site manager came down with a nasty springtime flu, and half the food was mis-delivered and there was no way of knowing where it was, so there was no getting it back.
There was a lot of pressure since this was apparently one of our biggest clients - some big investment banker was wining and dining some European clients and this shindig was of the utmost importance.
For a minute we were panicked, completely off our game and generally screwed. It was like everyone completely forgot how to do their jobs just because Kathleen wasn't there directing traffic. For a moment I was sheepish about doing anything because i'm the new gal, but I knew we needed someone steering the ship, so I stepped up. I instructed the girls how to pace the appetizers to buy us some time so that I could send Maddie out on a supply run to track down a serviceable replacement for the entree - which I would then cook myself in the venue's kitchen. I can't even tell you how exhilarating it was to be barking out orders and commanding a team while being so petite of a presence. It feels like I had sunk into the role Valerie's body put me in and I was finally overcoming that.
It was like drawing on every skill I had ever gained as Tyler, as Judith, as Valerie... I was making snap decisions, thinking on the fly, adjusting the playbook... I really felt like I was in my element for the first time in I don't even know how long. At the end of the night, I was stressed, I was sore, I was exhausted... but I was also on some kind of euphoric high.
On the way home I texted Rafe to say I needed to blow off the extra energy somehow, and if he wasn't at my house by 1 AM there might be trouble.
It was good. It felt like I had a purpose. It made me wish this could just be my life. Not as Valerie, I mean, just this environment, finding some place in the world that gave me this thrill and feeling of accomplishment, instead of just bounding aimlessly from life to life, making a mess and working to mop it up.
It sucks that I have to start all over again soon.