Do you ever have that dream where you’re “in the weeds” at work?
Ahhh yes. That pesky little subconscious of ours, using our real-life stresses against us while we’re incapacitated by sleep, mutating them into mighty customer-krakens, impossible to defeat. I know that dream well. Even now, on the other side of my service-industry days, does it rear its ugly head and bring my present reality crashing down around me, as if I was a plate-spinner plagued by 100 rabid ankle-biters descending upon me during an onstage performance. I awake in cold sweats and with an elevated heart-rate. They were everywhere. They just kept coming. I can still hear their screams. Vietnam flashback or in-the-weeds dream? I don’t know, man. You tell me.
For those that don’t know, “In the weeds” is an idiomatic expression denoting when one is overwhelmed by problems, or more specifically, when a restaurant server is overwhelmed and falling behind in serving customers. It happens to the best of us. In fact I remember one time in my life when the nightmare (and let’s call it what it is; it’s no mere dream) came true for me.
I was waiting tables in St Croix (USVI) at an open-air Italian restaurant overlooking the ocean. The setting is important, because if it’s beautiful, then the impending destruction is all the more horrific. The thing about islands is that there’s this little thing called “island time”. It refers to a certain slack attitude towards the clock. And sometimes, people aren’t only late, but they don’t bother to show up at all… yet somehow still retain their jobs. It’s an island peculiarity that persists, I assume, due to a limited supply of inhabitants with which to fill a position. It can, however, be exploited to one’s own advantage if one shows up from the mainland as a seasonal employee, bringing with them even a modest work ethic, which will appear to island employers as wondrously supercharged and easily secure one with a lead server position.
On this particular SATURDAY night, NONE of the other employees bothered to show up at all, leaving the entire 25-table restaurant to be waited on by yours truly. There’s not much I remember about the night except for cursing the heavens, later murdering my fellow-servers, and slitting my throat all over this woman’s eggplant parmesan, all while not really doing those things but smiling and asking if there was anything else I could get for people. Seriously. I dare you to ask me to get something else. You see me running? Cool. Better make the water last. See you in 30.*
So I’ve lived it. My subconscious has an entire night of deep-weedsery to draw inspiration from when creating new simulations for me to suffer through. The absolute worst, was whenever I’d have such a dream, and then wake up and have to actually go back to work at the restaurant the following day. That’s how I know there’s no god. Or that there is, and I’m in hell.
So yes, DJ, I’ve had those dreams. And if I had a heart, it would go out to you. But I’ve got the next best thing: a brain. So I’m going to employ it now to try to solve this problem, even though you didn’t ask me to, because I’ve still got room left in this column, and you couldn’t be bothered to fill any of that space for me with your baby-dick one-line question.
I actually do know how to, once and forever, spray your dream down with in-the-weeds-killer though. It won’t keep them from coming back, but you won’t have to feel trapped anymore. Two words: lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is the ability to “wake up” in your mind and control your dreams. Some people (like myself) are able to do this quite naturally. Others have to study and perfect meditation techniques in order to enter into such a state. This will surely involve many years spent in quiet isolation in a small, cold room in some Tibetan monastery. For that, I am #sorrynotsorry. Some are just born with it, I guess.** Others… they gotta pay.
If you are able to master this, though, you will be aware that you are dreaming. This opens up many possibilities, one of which is to simply walk out the door and no longer give a rat’s ass. It must be mentioned that this method also works phenomenally well in real-life application also. But don’t be so quick to abandon the dream, for if you do, you may deny yourself a few golden opportunities.
YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO (WITH NO REPERCUSSIONS) WHEN YOU’RE IN CONTROL OF YOU DREAMS. This includes, but is not limited to:
Telling your manager he looks like a Cry-baby delinquent reject who was cut from the cast because the film already had a Hatchet-Face.***
Russian squat-dancing around the restaurant while dropkicking all of the children running in the aisles into outer space.
Helping yourself to all the butt-grabs you want, as currently lucid dreaming falls outside the jurisdiction of reality-based chargeable offenses, and dream characters, as of yet, have no rights, although I don’t doubt they will in the foreseeable future, as per some crazy Westworld-esque morality dilemma.
Climbing on the table and taking a massive dump in that woman’s eggplant parmesan (important to maintain a simultaneous control of your real-life bowels during this act).
Grasping the flowing pink mane of a galloping unicorn and hoisting yourself atop its back so that you might prance about the restaurant administering magic-sparkle middle-fingers and angelically-operatic fuck-yous liberally to the endless influx of orcs dressed in their Sunday best attire.
Or dropping a fucking nuke on the place.
It’s a limitless canvas through which to unleash your darkest beasts and enact all of your worst wishes. So see this as an opportunity to really let the devil in you shine. Because tomorrow you have to go back to work and smile like you’re legitimately thrilled to be bringing that woman more cheese for for her sad-ass eggplant parmesan.
But tonight, DJ, you are a god.
*I never came back
**Flicks back imaginary yet natural Farrah Fawcett hair
***His name was Charles
Sir Jables' vast wealth of knowledge can be tapped at email@example.com. He can also be contacted by Morse code eye-blinking, intentionality in astral projection, or through his Ouija username: hailsatan.