Before we get into the awkwardness, I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial weekend. I totally did...and pictures are coming.
During college, I worked as a waitress to keep the bills at bay. I didn't love it, and at the time wondered why I was resorting to a job that made me feel two inches tall and oftentimes paid absolutely nothing.
I now realize that restaurants are, if nothing else, a large breeding ground for awkward moments, and my audience can now benefit and laugh at my experiences.
The restaurant we're focusing on today is a large restaurant chain called Chili's.
(We've all heard of it, yes? Perhaps eaten there a few times and dined on free chips and salsa and water and then tipped the hard working waitress $1.95? Just making sure we're on the same page.)
My store manager's name was Kasey. He was a younger manager, probably in his late 30's, and he ran a very tight ship.
Kasey was not unlike any other restaurant manager, which basically means he was bipolar.
If you caught him at a good time, he was pleasant, courteous and downright kind. However, if you accidentally ordered a customer a hamburger when they asked for chicken fingers, he would turn into a red-faced monster and start listing all the ways he was going to kill your first-born child. We called it "The Fury" when Kasey got upset like that.
Kasey and I had a decent relationship. He was nice to me for the most part, and always apologized later if he yelled. We flirted occasionally and harmlessly, (it's part of the food industry, people) and I would dare go so far as to say Kasey liked me as a person, not just because I was his employee.
One afternoon, Kasey approached me as I was counting up my (meager) tips from the day:
Kasey: Hey! Is it true you're an interior designer?
Me: Well, I hope so. Otherwise I'm giving a lot of money to KU for nothing. (snorts)
Kasey: Do you ever do side jobs?
Me: Yeah, I've helped a few people out, why? Do you know someone that needs design consulting?
Kasey: (eyebrows raise) Well, yeah. Me.
Me: (Trying not to roll eyes. Friends and co-workers always want your design help. Until they find out you expect to be paid.) Oh! What do you need designed? Are you moving or something?
Kasey: (laughs) No no. I just moved to my house six months ago. But I need help picking paint colors and furniture for a few rooms. Would you be interested? I would pay you, of course.
Me: Sign me up!
Three weeks later, I arrived at Kasey's house, ready to design.
Because this was my first paying interiors job, I wanted to do everything right. I showed up at Kasey's house with everything but kitchen sink cleaner.
I had fabric, paint swatches, furniture books, magazines, a tape measure, extra pencils, grid paper and a notebook.
Kasey greeted me at the door, and laughed. Apparently he was expecting me to just jot down notes and come with swatches later.
He offered me a beer and I hesitated for a moment. I didn't want clouded judgement while I worked. If this went well, it could lead to other paying jobs.
I took the beer anyway.
I was 22, people. Come on.
For 15 minutes, Kasey gave me the grand tour. It was a pretty typical home for a bachelor. Scarce furnishings, mismatched furniture and lots of posters of various types of vodka. If you didn't include the man-child baseball rooom,(which is an entirely different post altogether) everything looked pretty typical.
Kasey and I settled in the living room and talked briefly about what he wanted to do with the space, what colors he liked, and the time frame he expected. We agreed on a price acceptable for the amount of work I'd be doing, and that was that.
Feeling pretty good, I thanked Kasey for his time and stood to let myself out. But he grabbed my hand, pulled me back on the sofa and said, "Hang on a second."
Trotting down the hall, he disappeared into one of the bedrooms and returned with a deck of cards.
He laid them on the coffee table in front of us.
"Cut the deck", he instructed. Completely clueless as to what was going on, I obliged.
Taking half of the cut deck, he fanned the cards out face down and said, "Pick one."
"Now," he explained. "If I can guess what that card is, you have to stay and have a few more beers. And I get to see what it's like to kiss you."
(I might have missed a few classes on the art of seduction, but I'm quite certain the "pick a caaarrrrrd any caaaarrrrrd" approach is more likely to get you a fist in the mouth than a girl in your bed.)
(Especially if it's your boss.)
I immediately scanned the room for anything I could use as a weapon, knowing I only had tampons and my student ID in my purse.
I was going to have to talk my way out of this without instigating "The Fury" from Kasey.
Me: (scooting as far away as possible) Um, Kasey. You're my manager, I don't think this is quite right.
Kasey: (rolls eyes) C'mon, Kim. How many people do you think listen to that rule? Normally girls are knocking down my office door to get with me. Ya know, when I was a manager in Texas, I once had two of my waitresses....together. I maybe older than you, but trust me, I'll go way beyond what you expect.
Me: Inner monologue: Wow, you just said the magic words! Hearing that you banged two girls at the same time is exactly what I needed to hear to sleep with you!
Kasey: I've also been told I'm an amazing kisser. I've had women offer to kiss me just by hearing me speak. Can you believe that?
Me: (Wondering if he has a secret room with a tiger bedspread and black leather furniture and mirrors on the ceiling) Kasey, I have a boyfriend and you know that. Plus, I don't want to know how you kiss. I think I should get going. I'll still do design work for your house, but that's all.
Kasey: (sighs) All right, all right. I can see this isn't going to happen right now. I probably moved a little too fast. You can go ahead and go, but first give me a good night kiss.
I stood up and left. Quickly.
Once safe in my car, I realized I had left all of my magazines and the paint colors we had decided on for his house in the kitchen.
I drove away anyway.
I never went back to Kasey's house. Though he left me several messages asking when I could get going on the design work, I never responded, and we never talked about it at work.
A few months later, Kasey took a job managing a Chili's at the Lake of the Ozarks. As far as I know, he's still there.
Something tells me that managing a restaurant where the customer base is drunk, sun burnt college girls is right up Kasey's alley.
(Consequently, if any of my children ever asks to work in a restaurant...the answer is NO.)