if we are tired, we work anyway. if we have papers to write or schoolbooks to read, we work anyway. if we are hung over, feverish, nauseated, dizzy, deathly ill, we work anyway.
we prepare for battle as soon as we arrive, making sure everything is in place for the onslaught. when it comes, we run and throw things and yell and call each other names. we chug water as though we never will again, drink black coffee in mass quantities. we move quickly past one another with practiced efficiency, never colliding, never breaking. tactical errors are made, insults are hurled, rules are changed. liquid splattered, knives wiped, wounds bandaged.
in the end, our faces and clothing are a mess, our hair tangled, our hands sticky, lacerated, burned. we sit down together, exhausted and starving, for beer and food.
the thing that’s always fascinated me about waiting tables is how seriously everyone takes it, how emotionally and physically taxing it is, how much like an all-out war it can sometimes be, and how it’s all in the name of a temporary experience. the
opponent customer will eliminate their medium-rare steak and bottle of merlot within twelve hours, will pay their credit-card bill within a month, and within a year or two, will not remember having been there at all.
i bought new darts last week.
last week i went to the and i bought new darts. i went to the dart store last week and, after trying out several different brands and weights and thicknesses, i bought new darts. at the dart store last week, i tried out several different brands and weights and thicknesses, seeing which ones stuck better, which ones had a better arc, which ones flew out of my hand like birds attempting escape. and then i bought new darts. they look like this:
admittedly, i don’t just like darts because they’re fun and i’m pretty damn good. i like them because they’re fun and i’m pretty damn good and i’m a girl, and most girls i know aren’t even interested in darts, let alone any good. i love hearing people say “it’s great to see more women playing darts.” i love hearing people say “kick his ass!” i love the horribly tacky flights that i almost bought until andy talked me out of it, the ones with the roses and the glittery letters that spell out “DART BITCH”.
playing a lot of darts means i spend most of my time with only seven of my friends, in various combinations, at various bars. we throw, stand around and wait our turn, throw, stand, throw. chalky hands are an issue, as are contact lenses, point calculations, and puncture wounds. teams are formed. drinks are purchased. i miss my friends who aren’t the seven people i play darts with. i haven’t talked to them in forever. when you yank the dart out, the hole it left closes right up, as if nothing had ever pierced the surface of the board.
- the game will take place over three dinner shifts: friday night, saturday night, and sunday night. daniel and alison will play as many rounds as can fit into said shifts, depending on customers, managers, coworker issues, and kitchen emergencies.
- each round will be played to ten points, a point being awarded to the answerer of the question in the event of a correct answer, or to the asker of the question in the event of an incorrect answer.
- a shift may be left in the middle of a round, but not in the middle of a question.
- there is no set time limit to how long the answerer may take to answer the question. if he or she doesn’t know the answer, he or she will admit it within a reasonable amount of time.
- in the event of an ambiguous or semi-correct answer, todd (a waiter) will decide if the answer should stand. for example, if alison asks daniel for the name of homer simpson’s half-brother, and daniel says “herb” instead of “herbert powell,” it is up to todd whether or not it should be counted as a correct answer.
- score shall be kept on the dry erase board in the waitstation, using fake initials so that todd will not know who is winning.
- no outside research may be done between shifts. questions and answers must be, as daniel said, “from the noggin.” there are no rules about the questions that may be asked. everything is fair game.
- the game will end with the last round of the sunday night shift, unless the game is tied, at which point an additional round will be played. whoever has won the most rounds at the end will be the winner.
- the loser must make the winner a trophy. the only rules governing the making of said trophy are that the trophy must bear the words “winner’s name here is so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean, S-M-A-R-T,” and that the loser must make a trophy that he or she would enjoy receiving him or herself. there will be no lame trophies or trophy sabotage.
this game will, you understand, take place while daniel is cooking steaks and fish and making salads and i’m opening bottles of wine and taking away empty plates and saying “thanks, you guys have a good evening!” i am so going to win.