I am trying to honor myself and the creative life by sharing more of my work in progress, my next hospitality memoire, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ Resort Life, where I share my experiences working for luxury hotels in the Canadian Rockies. I pronounced at an early age I wanted to be a writer. Possibly at the age of 8 or even earlier. I always had a story in my head. I wanted to write (and still do) TV shows, movies, books and I thought I would write romance or maybe mystery, because I read a lot of romance and mystery books. I also loved watching, ‘Murder She Wrote’, and Romancing the Stone, who wouldn’t want to be Angela Lansbury or Joan Wilder?
Through serendipitous events I have been provided with life experiences that I am grateful for.
FAKE IT TIL YOU MAKE IT
Standing in the kitchen by the entrance to the main dining room of Chateau Lake Louise, the Victoria dining room, meant I was either coming or going from the kitchen.
Going into the dining room to get whatever appetizer, entrée or desert to place in front of a couple, table of four or the dreaded table of eight or ten tourists sitting together. Too many people to keep a track of at one table. Give me five tables of two (tables for two people) and I’m good. It’s easier to talk to a couple. Couples usually are on a special occasion, not wanting to talk to me. They want to gaze into one another’s eyes.
Sis: Honeymooners. Ugh.
Marion Ann: Low maintenance is good.
Larger tables, for example eight or ten people, meant multiple couples or family traveling together. The beloved Taulk or Princess Tours guests tend to group together when they travel weeks together. Then they decide to have dinner together, which is fine, but for servers, it’s a lot of work. The people at the table like to talk to one another across the table about everything and anything. Sometimes it was too much information.
Guest A: Lilian, did you hear about the woman on our tour with cancer?
Lilian: What kind. What a shame.
Guest A: I thought you knew.
Guest C: Who?
Guest A: You know, the single woman who sits by herself on the coach.
Guest C: I know her, well I don’t know her but I know of her.
On and on it goes, until I stand up straight and I speak over their noise.
“Good evening everyone. Can I start anyone with a cocktail while you review the menu?”
I look at each of the guests as I talk, they are nodding and smiling acknowledging me. Some of them look past me or right through me as if I’m not even standing there. They don’t care.
Guest A: Gin martini, straight up, that’s without ice, with a lemon twist.
Guest C: Chardonnay.
Guest B: Water is fine, I have a heart condition.
Guest C: Shame. They say a glass of red wine a day is good for the heart. Have a glass, it won’t hurt you.
Guest B: Who says that?
Guest C: Doctors.
Gust A: It’s true. I heard it as well. Go ahead, have a glass.
Sis: Gezus! I’ll finish it if none of you finish it.
Ten minutes later I’m ringing in the drink orders at the bar. I see one new table being seated in my section. Normally this wouldn’t happen if the table of ten is seated. But nothing is certain in the dining room.
Marion Ann: Seriously!?
Sis: Here we go!
My friend is bartending and gives me a look of understanding. I roll my eyes as I place the glasses of wine and high balls on my serving tray. The bartender is placing the martinis on another tray to follow behind me. Any help is greatly appreciated.
Before I get back to the table of ten, I say hello to my new table, they are a young Asian couple, all smiles and taking pictures of the Lake. I see the little note by their drink menu to tell me they are a F.I.T table, (A tour Individual traveller, they are travelling on their own but their meals are like any of the larger tours, soup, salad, entrée and desert, easy Frisbee services). I ask if they would like a winero or a beero and they point to the white wine on my tray. I smile to acknowledge their request.
I walk towards my table of ten who are now talking about a grandson’s wedding.
Guest C: They spent five thousand dollars on the dress.
Guest A: Five thousand? I didn’t spend a hundred dollars on my dress.
Guest B: What are these kids coming to?
Sis: Oh my gawd!
Marion Ann: Deep breath.
I place the drinks in front of the right people and they all pick up their glasses and toast one another. I let them know I will be right back to answer any questions and take their order.
Guest B: Oh dear, we haven’t even looked at the menus. Give us another five minutes.
Marion Ann: Shit. I hate when they do this.
Marion Ann: High maintenance equals no tip.
I nodded and confirmed I would be back in five minutes to take their orders. I walked towards the couple with their white wines. They thanked me several times and started taking pictures again. I headed to the kitchen with my bar tray to pick up their first course of miso soup.
I walked back in the kitchen where I could stop smiling and take a deep breath. I knew the table of ten was going to make for a long evening. I over heard them trying to figure out if they should share all the appetizers.
Sis: Sounds like fun.
Marion Ann: At least I could gather more personalities to use in a story.
Sis: That’s a girl. Focus on the writing.
There was a reason I returned to the Lake and wanted to stay for as long as I did. Creativity provided me with the perfect surroundings to write about. The other life stuff that happened was part of the deal. The table of ten ended up tipping me more than the regular fifteen percent. They told me they appreciated my attention to detail and privacy. I didn’t do anything differently that night. I did my job. I provided them quality service, food and an experience.
If you would like to read more about my first memoir, Behind The Kitchen Doors ~ The Summers, please click here. Thank you.
Until Next Time, Keep on Typing…