Daily chronicle of the life of a waiter

Daily chronicle of the life of a waiter
Daily chronicle of the life of a waiter

OI meet them every day. We order from them. We meet them. Some stare at them. Some people disrespect them. Everyone knows them, but how many are interested in their lives? We order them, we give them orders, we want them to be at our service, we ask them to be attentive to customers, but the reciprocal is almost never verified. They are the waiters in cafes, what we commonly call “cafe waiters”.

Their destiny is special. Their life resembles a soap opera. They are young, not so young, apprentices, men, women or occasional waiters, they work for crap. A pittance salary plus a few bribes, the famous tip. We met a bunch of these men and women, we talked about life, people, judgments, society, politics, sex and other things. Uplifting.

Have you ever chatted with a “café waiter” who has an open face, the broad smile of a happy day and the good nature of those who are in good standing with life? Perhaps in the pile, we come across some, from this human category which does not care about the vagaries of existence and which considers the bad weather of feelings as simple incidents along this long path that we name life. But on the whole, a man or a good woman, young or more experienced, carries out the task, brings back his dripping tray, his soaked cloth that smells of bleach, wipes the table. , always sticky, even in so-called more upscale cafes, and we turn our backs. There is the appropriate smile due to the customer, because his employer has explained to him that the customer is king. I bet there isn’t a single reader likely to read these lines who wouldn’t see themselves sitting in a cafe, ordering their drink and waiting for the guy in uniform (it’s become almost de rigeur) to bring them back what he wants and quickly. But who takes the time to look at this person who serves him? Who can imagine how this eighteen-year-old girl manages to go about her day under the lustful gaze of a few perverts who leer at her behind, cast a blood-soaked eye into the hollow of a chest, while trying to get a date? And when it doesn’t work, there’s no tip. She doesn’t deserve it, she didn’t do the right thing: that is, do her job.

Badreddine fulfills his role as waiter in a select café on Boulevard Hassan II. It’s not joyful, but it’s a more pleasant setting, with a rather preppy clientele. I have been here for four years. I’m doing pretty well, but I don’t like this job. You know, we may say that the customers are from a wealthier social class, but they all have the same behavior. For them, I’m the boy, so I have to bow, smile when I don’t want to, talk, show that I’m happy to be treated like an idiot. All the same, believe me, sit down, I’ll bring you your tea, and you’ll see what well-dressed gentlemen and ladies are capable of.” And in fact, an hour of noting how we speak to the waiter Mounir, who, for his part, smiles at each rebuff to tell me: “you see what I told you”. Mounir went to high school, but was unable to obtain his baccalaureate. He went to a vocational training center to get a job in the restaurant or hotel industry, but due to lack of luck, that didn’t work out either. He fell back on waiter work and so far, so good. But like the man who falls from the fifteenth floor, with each floor he falls, he says to himself: so far so good, but what will he say when he passes the first floor? Mounir then tells us the joke about the difference between the one who falls from the fifteenth and the one who falls from the first? Come on, I’ll give it to you, what’s the difference? Go to the end of my article if you want to know, for the moment, let’s go back to our glasses, our ashtrays full of cigarette butts, the running water, the bitter tea and others…

The case of Kenza

“If I wanted to, I would have already gotten married right here, in this café. Every time I place the order, the guy tells me that I’m cute and that I don’t deserve to work here. It’s not a job for a girl like me. He starts by ordering me a coffee, then a tea, an orange juice, three glasses of water, and at the end my cell phone number, when I don’t give it, he looks at me askance and tells me that it’s “It’s a cheap coffee and it’s served without leaving a tip.”

Saïda is actually cute, a beautiful girl, but she is fed up with this job where both men and women treat her like the last of the last. “It’s worse when it’s a couple who shows up. You have the guy asking for a drink and the girl watching where he looks. When it’s her turn to order, she makes a fuss of me and finally asks for orange juice. And she’s never happy… She’ll call me ten times to soap me up, give me lessons and let me know, in front of her boyfriend, that I’m worse than nothing. Sometimes I put up with it, but once I almost got kicked out because I told a woman that if I wanted a man, it definitely wouldn’t be hers, because he’s ugly and Between them, they made a good pair.” In short, Kenza receives more than 2,000 DH per month. What to do with such a meager nest egg? Buy a pair of shoes, a cheap bottle of adulterated perfume, recharge your Jawal card, secure three baths in the derb hammam and wait for the next paycheck. How do you live then? “I don’t live with this job. The truth allows me to pretend. Because, in fact, it’s my mother who sometimes gives me money for transport (white taxi), but at least I work and I don’t act like a whore, that’s something.”

Another case, Ba Driss toured the big bars of the city before settling down as he says, because he can no longer stand the atmosphere of alcohol, at night with guys ready to do battle with destiny : “I’ve given enough, now I work in this café, but I’m fed up with all that.” Why? Times have changed, cafes are run by people who know nothing about the business and customers lack respect for people. There are servers who work here with me. They stoop to doing everything: empty the garbage, wash the glasses, clean the toilets, do the shopping for the owners, pay for water and electricity… and many other things. Worse, the waiters are also retail cigarette sellers, they can also sell a few joints and on occasion, they are bouncers to chase away intruders, beggars, crazy people and drug addicts who can cause trouble. And all this for 1,800 DH. It’s not a job, it’s slavery.” No point asking Ba Brahim why he didn’t get a job in a restaurant? “A matter of principle. I have been to Mecca and I no longer want to work in a place where alcohol circulates. So it’s a choice and we respect it, but all the same, for a 68-year-old man, it’s not fun to be fooled by white people, fresh from not knowing what the ball is with. inflated, this same balloon which was perhaps made by this same ba Brahim at a time when the parents of these uneducated rascals were not even a birth plan. In short, ba Driss doesn’t have a hard tooth. He has long hours of flying behind him and life has shown him that it is better to close your eyes, from time to time, to see better when you want to. “You want the truth, girls work better than boys. I am here and I observe. There are three girls and two guys. Girls are serious, but guys cheat. I don’t care what the client thinks, but what I think about myself when I cheat matters a lot to me. I can even say that it is the only thing that has value in my eyes: my idea of ​​myself.

Morocco is fertile ground for a socio-pathological, anthropo-ethnographic, geographic-lexical study of cafes and other places open for rest and relaxation of these daily marathon runners, some of whom work while sitting, the other running in all directions for nothing, and others who do without coffee and drink it of a completely different nature in other places. In short, a colorful zoology and very heterogeneous spaces. We have the classic café: wooden chairs, worn-out tables, two waiters, a manager, a coffee machine and minimal service. Rudimentary café, a relic that only exists in working-class neighborhoods. Place of meetings, conflicts, big fights, settling of scores and other conveniences of life. The waiter is part of the decor, almost dehumanized. He basically lives with the bare minimum.

From one cafe to another…

There is the “middle” class café: cleaner tables and chairs, a hint of decor (always a fun kitsch) several waiters, boys and girls and a woman for the toilets to whom you have to slip a coin. Here, the waiters take themselves a little more seriously, but they have not reached the stage of being an important character in the place. It’s a step that must be earned, it seems. But in any case, a hint of cleanliness, and unlike the first type of cafe, we don’t smoke joints, at least not in front of everyone. We don’t play cards and we rarely fight. The waiter wears a tight-fitting white coat with a tip pocket.

There is the more upscale café. Customers who act like, I come to the café to be served like a chef, otherwise, I take it home in my last machine that I brought back from Colombia during my last trip. In short, we show off, and we get seen. Coffee, juice, tea, accessories. The important thing is the silhouette, the dressed body that lets others know what perfume we are wearing, what brand of shoes we are wearing and, above all, who we are chatting with. Also what newspaper we read. Even if we don’t understand Byron’s language, we open a British magazine and become an expert in the exchanges between South-East Asia and the Bermuda Triangle. In short, a joke, served in a velvet box with, here and there, a few scraps of truth like when we spit on the ground or release a long string of filthy insults about a goal missed by MBappé or a random outing by Macron in front of children.

In short, the café, the tea room is nickel chrome and there, the waiters and waitresses must be part of the same social class. When a bumpkin shows up, because he has business nearby, they scrutinize him, scan him and think before letting him take a seat next to the good people. Bullshit, but it serves as an illusion. And there, strict attire, speaking of rigor, rigorous approach, rigorous references, a closed club without subscriptions, but almost.
There is the sex den. Decadent and inexpensive decor. Flashy, low seats, hookah galore, tight asses, protruding flies.

In short, we show color, we are here to flirt, confuse ideas, blow tons of steam in the noggin and take a hit at the end of the evening, with these aromas of hookah local version revised and corrected. And the variations of the genre are numerous. Besides, between a café and a tea room, there is a café or a tea room. A profitable business, otherwise the owners would sell sardines at auction. And in this anthology, the people who work in these places are convicts for poverty wages, disrespect, humiliation, insults, anger, cries, bad thoughts and other inconveniences of circumstances.



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