My last party for the night was seated at 11:20pm. Well, part of the party was there anyway; the other three I was told, were on there way. They eventually filed in sometime before 11:30. At 11:40 I had everyone paired up with their rightful cocktails and had just sent off their food order via computer terminal. Ten minutes later I placed their main courses in front of them and simultaneously announced, “The kitchen is closing in ten minutes, is there anything else you might need?” I marched to the back of house and began my server closing duties.
I was finally able to clock out early the next day. Okay, only 30 minutes into the next day but still. I pulled into my garage just before 1:00am. Claude pushed through the cat door and greeted me as he does nightly: by leaping atop of my car and headbutting me from the convertable rooftop. I affectionately scrubbed his furry ears and gathered him up along with my apron. I walked into the house with a mission: to wind down as quickly as possible. I had just closed the brewhouse and I had only so many hours before I had to turn around and open it.
It’s ironic. I clocked back in the same day I previously clocked out, and I prepared to undo all the work I did to close the restaurant. Or perhaps saying, I did all the things I undid the night before would be more accurate. I stripped the protective plastic wrap from the drinking straw holders and spoon containers I careful covered just hours earlier. I reassembled all the components of the soda machine I took apart and had cleaned. I refilled the empty sugar caddies I previously emptied. I rebuilt the salad station I broke down.
I am well aware that the main reason everything is covered with plastic wrap or stored away or broken apart is for cleaning purposes. We clean what we can and what we do not is cleaned by another company that shows up after the brewhouse regulars are long gone for the night.
I am less accepting of that reason after only four hours of sleep.