Good ol’ daze at Lucy’s: Memoirs of a dining service worker

Veronica Devore

I asked the question, “Any casualties today?” “Not yet!” she replied, giving me the corner eye, with her plastic-clad hands held up in front her like a surgeon who had just scrubbed before an intricate operation.
We were remembering the previous day, when a few “patients” had been traumatized by falling off the cart, having to be rewrapped. “I will try to be careful, Doctor,” I said as I grabbed the tray of rolled flatware (knives, forks, spoons) to be distributed around the dining room.
As I restocked the muffins for the breakfast buffet and finished the settings for the lunch period, I noticed the “surgeon” seemed deeply distracted. As she slowly continued wrapping cutlery while staring out into the kitchen, I said, “You seem rather lost in space today. Is something on your mind?”
She said she was trying to develop a “career title” in the pursuit of her future goals. We talked a little bit about her plans to work in the banking industry. She described what she wanted to do and also what she thought she would be expected to do in the financial arena. She talked about “helping the customers as well as helping the banking institute” she had in mind, “with planning for future investments.”
“I’ll ponder the situation with my consultants and get back to you with my diagnosis,” I said as she finished her shift and departed for the day.
That day after the lunch rush, coworkers sat around the break room discussing the future of the “surgeon.” We decided we needed to be strategic in the wording of the title. “Hey, that could be one of the words in her title!” someone offered. “Yes, tell her to ‘plan’ to use that word ‘strategic’ in her ‘financial’ endeavors.” Someone else added.
The next day, the gloved surgeon was at it again. I was so excited about the contribution of some ideas for her title I startled her when I rushed in. I said loudly, without a greeting, “How about this?” She was again staring, obviously contemplating the future profession.
As the flatware tumbled out of the napkin and fell to the floor, I laughed and shared my doubts about her ever really working in the medical profession as a surgery technician. I then shared the “diagnosis” the staff had compiled. She said, “That’s it! Financial Planning Strategy Advisor!” (or something on that order).
About three days later, our student worker announced she had obtained a job at a bank (I cannot remember where for the life of me). They had hired her and were going to pay for the rest of her education toward the career goals she had in mind, as long as she continued as their employee. She was so proud. We were so proud of her.