I have three shifts left until vacation starts. It’s going to be a real vacation this time, complete with pool, swim-up bar, and room service. We are going to an area where we have lots of friends and family who will want us to visit, but rather than torture ourselves with sofa-beds and meals at their “favorite restaurants” (which always turn out to be a buffet we would never, ever go to, even if we were Night of the Living Dead Hungry), we will be stationing ourselves poolside at our hotel to receive visitors. Yes, come forward, annoint yourself with the Holy Sunblock and kiss the Ring. It’s amazing how many friends you suddenly have when there’s a Chaise Lounge and half-price cocktails involved. It’s like buying a truck and suddenly discovering how many people you know that are moving.
Because of the vacation that is just around the corner, I am feeling pretty bulletproof at work. Those little, annoying things seem littler and less annoying than usual. I’m sure they will all return to their former status on the Bitch List the minute I return, but for now it’s quite pleasant. It always amazes me how quickly a two-week vacation and all its fun will disappear in a matter of minutes after you stick that key in the lock on your first day back at work. Longer vacations can sometimes linger a bit more in the mind’s eye, but that‘s only because you are mistaking that “everything old is new again” feeling with having to re-learn your job. It’s just like riding a bike, though. Give it a couple of hours and you will be tired and want to stop.
The Week-Before-Vacation-Bulletproofing is only a flak jacket, though, when compared to the George Reeves-as-Superman-Type-Of-Bulletproof that comes with giving your two-week notice. You can stand there smiling with hands on hips, while the boss or your worst nightmare of a rude guest empties their clip and then flings the gun at you (Can anyone tell me why Superman can repel all those bullets, yet has to duck when they throw the gun?) These are the greatest two weeks of anyone’s life. When you give your two week notice food tastes better; you are three pounds lighter every time you step on the scale and all the traffic lights turn green in sequence as you approach. Those people that give a month’s notice don’t do it because their job is so important that it will take that long to hire and train someone. They do it because they gave only two weeks the last time and it just wasn’t enough; and please, sir, could I have more? That, and they need the extra time to plan the most thorough incineration possible of all bridges during the Exit Interview.
After giving their notice, many tipped restaurant people experience the “Damn, I’m making a lot of money! Why am I quitting this job again?” phenomenon. The bulletproof attitude translates directly to our attitude at the table, and we just rake in the dough. Once in a while, one of us will fall victim to this Siren’s Song and rescind our notice. This is one of those mistakes you should make once and only once in your life. Once the elevator door out of hell opens, step off the car; do not prop it open with a chair to let the wonderful warm breezes waft over you. It’s Hell, not Maui. Once you give that notice, go directly to that Exit Interview and call in the Air Strike on those bridges.