Sunday, November 22, 2009

Napkins = my nemesis

The hardest part of a new restaurant job for me is not learning table numbers or the names of the kitchen staff. I have a great short-term memory and can recite daily specials till I'm blue in the face. No, the thing I absolutely dread every time I get hired by a restaurant is.....

napkin folding.

Every restaurant has their own way of doing it. And it always takes me much longer than it should to master it. It's like there's a gap in my brain -- things start misfiring and I just can't make the napkin look the way it's supposed to. I'm earning a master's degree and yet the simple task of folding a napkin becomes Herculean when under the watchful eye of whatever server is training me. It doesn't matter how deftly I can refill butter ramekins or polish water glasses. She will lose all respect for me as soon as she sees me try to fold napkins.

As far as I can tell. the skill involved with napkin folding has something to do with spatial reasoning, which I apparently was born without. Spatial reasoning is "the ability to visualize spatial patterns
and mentally manipulate them" and is pretty essential for engineers and architects. The Wikipedia entry also states that it is "important for generating and conceptualizing solutions for multi-step problems that arise in everyday life." Great.

This has all been on my mind lately because I finally got hired by a legitimate, well-run, upscale restaurant:
Lineage. I'm incredibly happy now that "Dos" didn't hire me. I've done two training shifts at Lineage and no one seems to have noticed my napkin-folding disability yet....but it's only a matter of time. I can only hope that by the time they catch wise, I will have won them over with my charm. The napkins at Lineage appear to be rather simply folded -- if I had shown up for training and seen something like this--

-- I probably would have turned in my bistro apron then and there. Just looking at that picture stresses me out.

Curious about your own spatial reasoning aptitude? Take this free online test to find out your spatial ID.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

Congrats on the new job! And I'm sorry I couldn't make it to Central last night. We should hang out soon; it's been a long time.