I had a week of waitressing under my belt. Hannah, the woman who hired me, took me on because of my "enthusiasm." She wasn't concerned that as a senior in college I knew nothing about beer and wine. Heck, I didn't even know the difference between a cabernet and a chardonnay and it took writing Char=W and Cab=R on my wrist for about a month before I got it. Yes, I've come a long way.
One weeknight was insanely busy. I was the only waitress scheduled in the small family owned restaurant. With one busboy and an unreachable owner, it was observable craziness. The bell on the door rang incessantly. We ran out of the fabric beige napkins and had to use the faded salmon colored ones with the sun-bleached line down the middle. People sat down at uncleared tables. The kitchen had to 86 the apple cobbler.
For the most part, I held it together pretty damn well. I didn't drop any plates or forget any orders or mix up anyone's food. I kept a smile on my face and managed not to perspire through my shirt. The people were incredibly forgiving too, though probably because of the hot bun. Hannah baked the most enormous and delicious hot buns you've ever seen or tasted. They were delivered to the table as soon as a guest's tush hit the seat. So it's kinda hard to complain about service when you've got melted butter dripping off your chin.
But things didn't go so swimmingly forever. There was this one couple that came in with some fancy bottle of white. I can't tell you what varietal it was, or the year, or the vineyard it came from. I can tell you that it was a white, and that they were really really excited to try it. I particularly remember them saying that it was expensive.
I held the neck of the bottle with one hand and used my other hand to drive in the corkscrew. It twisted in at a steep angle and then stopped. I tried again. Crooked again. Incredibly embarrassed, and feeling the burn of half the restaurant's eyes on the back of my neck, I positioned the bottle between my. I was determined to make this work.
This time I drove the corkscrew into the cork with such force that the bottle jetted out from between my legs and crashed to the floor five feet behind me.
It was the second bottle of wine I'd opened in my life. I was twenty. I didn't drink. And those are the best excuses I can come up with for my colossal ineptitude.
My tears rapidly contributed to the wine puddle making it difficult to focus on the multitude of glass. Luckily the busboy came to my rescue so I could excuse myself and clean up my face.
I returned to the table with our most expensive bottle of wine, not caring if it took me took weeks to pay off.
With weak eye contact and trembling hands, I slowly and successfully opened the couple's new bottle. The one thing I felt immensely confident about? Opening a wine bottle would never be a challenge again.